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Musique d'art (2021)

trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium and electronics — 64 minutes

Simon Martin and Ensemble Musikfabrik continue their collaboration and present a new combination of sounds composed of harmonics of brass instruments and electronics. The work Musique d’art (2021) brings together the four instruments of the brass section of Ensemble Musikfabrik: Trumpet, Horn, Trombone and Euphonium. The sounds of the wind instruments evolve according to the electronic soundtrack. At the same time, the musicians influence the sound palette of the chords, which alternately unfold and intertwine in an infinite continuity of tension and relaxation. The sound of the instruments is reproduced by the loudspeakers in a delayed manner and additionally doubled by sine waves that resonate in mirror image, sometimes as a perfect reflection of sound, sometimes slightly distorted. The result is a rich and all-encompassing sound texture.

Composer's Notes

For my creation, I used only harmonic pitches that are multiples of 2, 3 and 7. The 2nd harmonic corresponds to the fundamental vibration of the instrument, i.e. the air column when no piston is depressed. Tightening the lips by blowing into the mouthpiece causes the air column to vibrate in harmonic mode, resulting in frequencies in integer multiples (2, 3, 4, 5, 7…) of increasing pitch. Depressing the pistons transposes the fundamental frequency of the air column and gives access to new series of harmonics. The combination of fingering and the control of the harmonics by the lips thus makes it possible to play musical scales. However, musicians usually try to avoid the 7th harmonic, which has a different intonation from conventional western scales. I use it in my creation for its characteristic colour and acoustic effects.


Composition: Simon Martin
Performers: Ensemble Musikfabrik

  • Marco Blaauw, trumpet
  • Christine Chapman, horn
  • Bruce Collings, trombone
  • Melvyn Poore, euphonium

Sound engineer (Montreal): Guillaume Barrette
Sound engineer and technical coordinator (Cologne): Daniel Seitz
Video: Janet Sinica
Sound engineer: Hendrick Manook
Light: Martin Schmitz

Coproduction: Projections libérantes and Ensemble Musikfabrik
Presenter: Le Vivier


23.05.2021 – Webcast – Montreal, Quebec
23.05.2021 – Webcast – Montreal, Quebec

This last year brought us a hefty number of online concerts with pretty variable degrees of quality and interest. Musikfabrik’s performance is the first one I have seen that is not simply an ersatz of the live performance but a work of art in itself… And the work, the ambition of this work: Simon Martin is a unique composer from our landscape and, clearly, from a more global scene too.
Benoît Côté, cettevilleetrange, June, 3 2021

Crédit : Janet Sinica

Photos by Janet Sinica