Indonesian references in Iannis Xenakis' Claviers

creative process with exogenous material in Pléïades (1978)




Claviers, Iannis Xenakis, Pléïades, Indonesian music, Percussion


The movement Claviers was composed for percussion keyboards and is part of Pléïades (1978) for six percussionists. Based on evidence from different archives, direct correlations with elements of traditional Indonesian music are highlighted here. The evidence points to the insertion of materials with which Xenakis had contact in the 1950s and during his trip to Bali and Java in 1972-1973. The insertion of exogenous material is rare within his work, but in Claviers it is a substantial part of the creative process, bringing a particular meaning to the structural treatment and sequence of sections that characterizes the movement. In doing so, the composer creates an underlying discourse and a rather dynamic context within this movement, and it points to correlations not yet examined in a broader part of his work. This dynamic context has very profound implications with Xenakis’ compositional thought and practice, bringing new elements to understanding part of the creative process during a very prolific phase of his life.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ronan Gil de Morais, Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Goiás (IFG), Brazil

Ronan Gil de Moraes is a percussion and teacher at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Goiás (IFG). He holds a PhD from the University of Basel (Universität Basel, Switzerland) and the Fachhochscule für Musik FHNW in the Musicology program (Kooperationsprojekt Musikwissen). His work was supervised by Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt, Prof. Dr. Georges Starobinski and Prof. Christian Dierstein, and he received the citation insigni cum laude. He holds a master's degree in Composition and Musical Interpretation from the University of Strasbourg (2011), where he presented a dissertation on the repertoire for percussion and mixed electroacoustic music under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Alessandro Arbo and Prof. Emmanuel Séjourné. He holds a specialization in percussion keyboards at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg (France) under the guidance of Prof. Séjourné (with a "Très bien" honorable mention). He holds a Bachelor's degree in Percussion from the Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP-2009), where he played with the Piap Group for four years and won the Excellence in Research Award for his final course work ("Brazilian repertoire for solo vibraphone"). 

He taught (Chargé de cours/Percussioniste accompagnateur) at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg and at the Ecole de Musique de Souffelweyersheim. With the Piap Group he has performed throughout Brazil, in the USA and Canada (during the 2010 North American Tour) and has taken part in concerts with the Katia and Marielle Labèque Duo. He has been a member of the most diverse chamber ensembles: AxisModula, Accroche Note, Ensemble Vertebrae, Texture Ensemble da Milano, Babel Trio, DUALpha, DuAnphibios with concerts in France, Italy, Luxembourg and Spain.

He has premiered works and worked with Michelle Agnes Magalhães, Charles David Wajnberg, Flo Menezes, Daphné Hejebri, Stefano Gervasoni, Thomas Meadowcroft, Anna Sowa, David Hernandez Ramos, Fernando Iazzetta, Bertrand Gourdy, Zacarias Maia, Gitbi Kwon, Jacopo Costa, Patricia Goberna, Marisa Rezende, José Manoel Gatica, Nicolas Tzortis, Franck Christoph Yeznikian, Vito Zuraj, André Bandeira, among many others. Works by Michelle Agnes Magalhães, Charles David Wajnberg, Daphné Hejebri, Ivan Chiarelli and Roberto Victorio have been dedicated to him. He has recorded CDs with the Ensemble Accroche Note, Grupo Piap, Grupo Percussionista de Câmara (GPC) and Euterpe, as well as the CD and DVD of the II Bienal de música contemporânea de Mato Grosso. He has composed works for percussion and electronics. He has experience in the arts, with an emphasis on percussion, working mainly on the following subjects: percussion, contemporary music, history of percussion, mixed electroacoustic music and percussion, chamber music.


Barthel-Calvet, Anne-Sylvie. 2000. “Le rythme dans l’œuvre et la pensée de Iannis Xenakis”. Tese de Doutorado, Escola de Estudos Avançados em Ciências Sociais (EHESS).

Barthel-Calvet, Anne-Sylvie. 2002a. “Temps et rythme chez Xenakis: le paradoxe de l’architecte”. In Portrait(s) de Iannis Xenakis, editado por François-Bernard Mâche, 159-169. Paris: Biblioteca Nacional da França.

Barthel-Calvet, Anne-Sylvie. 2002b. “Chronologie”. In Portrait(s) de Iannis Xenakis, editado por François-Bernard Mâche, 25-82. Paris: Biblioteca Nacional da França.

Bogler, Tilmann. 2017. “Xenakis - Pléïades Analyse von Rhythmus und Grafik”. Monografia de Bacharelado, Zurique: Escola Superior das Artes de Zurique.

Ceuster, Diederik Mark de. 2021. “‘Use 19 Metal Pieces of Approximately the Same Timbre’: An Analysis of Twelve Recorded Performances of Xenakis’s Métaux (Pléïades)”. Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie, 18 (1): 71-100.

Exarchos, Dimitris. 2007. “Iannis Xenakis and Sieve Theory: An Analysis of the Late Music (1984-1993).” Tese de Doutorado, Universidade de Londres.

Fleuret, Maurice. 1988. “Il teatro di Xenakis”. In Xenakis, editado por Enzo Restagno, 159-187. Torino: EDT.

Gibson, Benoît. 2001. “Théorie des cribles”. In Présences de Iannis Xenakis, editado por Makis Solomos, 85-92. Paris: CDMC.

Gibson, Benoît. 2011. The instrumental music of Iannis Xenakis. Theory, practice, self-borrowing. Hillsdale: Pendragon Press.

Halbreich, Harry. 1988. “Da “Cendrées” a “Waarg”: quindici anni di creatività”. In Xenakis, editado por Enzo Restagno, 211-270. Torino: EDT.

Harley, James. 2004. Xenakis. His Life in music. Nova Iorque: Routledge.

Lacroix, Marie-Hortense. 2001. Pléiades de Iannis Xenakis. Paris: Ed. TUM/Michel de Maule.

Mâche, François-Bernard. 1981. “Iannis Xenakis. Introduction aux œuvres”. In Regards sur Iannis Xenakis, editado por Hugues Gerhards, 153-166. Paris: Stock Musique.

Marandola, Fabrice. 2012. “Of Paradigms and Drums: Analyzing and Performing Peaux from Pléïades”. In Xenakis Matters, editado por Sharon Kanach, 185-204. Hillsdale: Pendragon Press.

Matossian, Nouritza. 1981. Iannis Xenakis. Paris: Fayard / Fondation SACEM.

Morais, Ronan Gil de. 2022. “Xenakis in Indonesia: Influences in the composition of Jonchaies (1977) and Pléïades (1978)”. In Centenary International Symposium XENAKIS 22: Lectures Workshops Concerts, editado por Anastasia Georgaki e Makis Solomos, 338-359. Atenas: Spyridon Kostarakis.

Morais, Ronan Gil de. 2023. “Iannis Xenakis’ SIX-XEN A new instrument for Pléïades (1978) and a creative process with Indonesian references”. Tese de Doutorado, Universidade da Basiléia e Escola de Música FHNW.

Morais, Ronan Gil de. & Araújo, Lucas Davi de. 2018. “Sixxen e música eletroacústica: o diálogo entre instrumento microtonal e aparatos eletroeletrônicos no repertório pós-Pléiades”. Revista Música, 18 (2): 8-29.

Morais, Ronan Gil de. Chaib, Fernando & Oliveira, Fabio. 2017. “Considerações históricas, estruturais e características sobre o instrumento Sixxen, de Iannis Xenakis”. Per Musi, 37: 1-21.

Morais, Ronan Gil de. Chaib, Fernando & Oliveira, Fabio. 2020. “Repertório para Sixxen: a (re)definição de um novo instrumento através da composição”. Per Musi, 40: 1-22.

Pires, Isabel. 2015. “Perspectives d’analyse comparative entre La Légende d’Eer et Jonchaies de Iannis Xenakis”. In Iannis Xenakis, La musique électroacoustique, editado por Makis Solomos, 29-52. Paris: L’Harmattan.

Porres, Alexandre Torres. 2007. “Processos de Composição Microtonal por meio do Modelo de Dissonância Sensorial.” Dissertação de Mestrado, Unicamp.

Santana, Helena Maria da Silva. 1998. L’orchestration chez Iannis Xenakis : l’espace et le rythme, fonctions du timbre. Lille: ANRT.

Serrou, Bruno. 2003. L’homme des défis. Paris: CIG’ART/Jobert.

Solomos, Makis. 1996. Iannis Xenakis. Mercuès: P.O. Editions.

Solomos, Makis. 2002a. “Le « savant » et le « populaire », le postmodernisme et la mondialisation”. Musurgia, 9 (1): 75-89.

Solomos, Makis. 2002b. “Sculpter le son”. In Portrait(s) de Iannis Xenakis, editado por François-Bernard Mâche, 133-158. Paris: Biblioteca Nacional da França.

Spiller, Henry. 2004. Gamelan. The traditional sounds of Indonesia. Santa Barbara (USA): ABC-CLIO Inc.

Tenzer, Michael. 2011. Balinese Gamelan Music. Singapura: Tuttle.

Utz, Christian. 2018. “Transnationale Verflechtungen in der Musik der 1950er und 1960er Jahre: Henry Cowell, Toshirō Mayuzumi und Luciano Berio im Kontext des „Cultural Cold War”.” Archiv für Musikwissenschaft, 75 (2): 135-162.

Varga, Balint Andras. 1996. Conversations with Iannis Xenakis. Londres: Faber and Faber Ltd.

Veneración, Andrea. 1967. “International Music Symposium”. Ethnomusicology, 11 (1): 107-113.

Xenakis, Iannis. 1971. “Structures Hors-Temps.” In The Musics of Asia. Annals of the International Music Symposium, editado por José Maceda, 152-173. Manila: National Music Council of the Philippines and Unesco International Music Council.

Xenakis, Iannis. 1973. “Musique à Bali”. Programa de Radio (entrevista feita por P. A. Blachette; 29 de março, 1973). Paris: France Culture. Acessível pelos arquivos do Institut national de l'audiovisuel (Ina, França).

Xenakis, Iannis. 1979. Arts/Sciences. Alliages. Tournai: Casterman.

Partituras mencionadas

Xenakis, Iannis. 1977. Jonchaies. Paris: Éd. Salabert.

Xenakis, Iannis. 1979. Pléïades. 1ed. Paris: Éd. Salabert.

Xenakis, Iannis. 1981. Komboï. Paris: Éd. Salabert.

Xenakis, Iannis. 2013. Pléïades. 2ed. Paris: Éd. Salabert.



How to Cite

Morais, Ronan Gil de. 2023. “Indonesian References in Iannis Xenakis’ Claviers : Creative Process With Exogenous Material in Pléïades (1978)”. Per Musi, no. 42 (September):1-24.



Thematic Session Iannis Xenakis

Most read articles by the same author(s)