Repertoire for Sixxen: the (Re)Definition of a New Instrument Through Composition




Iannis Xenakis, Pléïades , Sixxen, Contemporary Repertoire


This paper catalogues and discusses the repertoire composed between 1978 and 2017 for Sixxen, an instrument created by Iannis Xenakis. Extensive literature and documentary research was conducted to achieve the results. The results demonstrate a repertoire consisting of at least 46 works, by 43 composers from 11 countries. The decades of 2000-2009 and 2010-2017 present the largest quantity of works (82% of the total). The creation between the years of 2010-2015 in particular, with about 70% of the total number of compositions, exceeds the entire output from previous decades added together, and presents a five times greater increase than the quantitative between 2000-2009. The largest number of compositions originates in the USA, France, and Brazil. The article also analyzes information about the notation for Sixxen, the relationship of groups with composers to elaborate new works and the conceptual and practical resizing generated by the application of the instrument in different contexts.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

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

Master in Composition et Interprétation Musicale at the Strasbourg University (France). He has a specialization in percussion keyboards at the Conservatoire of Strasbourg (where he was a teacher), studying with Emmanuel Sejourné. He is Bachelor in Percussion by UNESP, receiving the Award of Excellence in Research. He worked with Tom Mays, Antoine Spindler, Yves Kayser and Philippe Aubry. He founded and integrated groups such as: Babel Trio, DUALpha, Ensemble Vertebrae Accroche Note, Texture Ensemble da Milano. He performs premieres and first auditions in the American and European continents. His discography includes recordings with various formations. He is percussion professor at the Federal Institute for Education, Science and Technology of Goiás (IFG), member of Impact(o) and leader of the Nucleus of Excellence for Teaching, Research and Performance in Percussion (NΞP3). 

Fernando Martins de Castro Chaib, Music School of Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Doctor and Master in Music at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) having as tutors Miquel Bernat and Evgueni Zouldilkine. He is Bachelor in Percussion Arts Institute of UNESP (São Paulo). He has won awards as soloist and chamber musician in Brazil, Portugal and Italy. His discography includes more than ten CDs with various formations in various styles. He performs in the American, European and Asian continents performing premieres and first auditions. He founded some percussion ensembles such as Simantra Grupo de Percussão and Grupo Durum Percussão Brasil. He is an invited professor in music festivals in the American and European continents. Currently he is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Music of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), works at the PPGMUS/UFMG and is the current coordinator of the Percussion Group of UFMG.

Fabio Fonseca de Oliveira, Music and Performing Arts School of the Federal University of Goiás, Brazil

PhD at the University of California (San Diego/USA) having Steven Schick as a tutor. Holds a Bachelor's degree in Percussion from Arts Institute of UNESP and a Master's degree from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst, USA). As soloist and chamber musician he has been performing in the Americas, Europe and Asia. He has collaborated/worked with Steve Reich, Philippe Manoury, Helmut Lachenmann, David Lang, Roger Reynolds, Chaya Chernowin and Flo Menezes; he has recorded for Tzadik, Mode Records and New World Records labels, especially with the group redfishbluefish. He acts as a teacher in some of the main music festivals in Brazil. He is an Associate Professor at EMAC/Universidade Federal de Goiás (UFG), member of Impact(o) and researcher of Núcleo de Excelência para o Ensino, Pesquisa e Performance em Percussão (NΞP3). 


1. BARTHEL-CALVET, Anne-Sylvie (Coord.). Oser Xenakis. Dix ans après la disparition de Iannis Xenakis, le monde musical est loin d’avoir fini d’évaluer l'importance de l’héritage dont il est dépositaire. Paris: Ed. Durand- Salabert-Eschig, 2011. 31p.

2. BATIGNE, Jean. Sur Persephassa et Pléïades. In: GERHARDS, Hugues (Org.). Regards sur Iannis Xenakis. Paris: Ed. Stock Musique, 1981. p.175-83.

3. BERNARD, Jean-Paul. Sixxen et Xenakis. [mensagem pessoal]. Mensagem recebida por em 30/03/2015.

4. CLOCKS IN MOTION. Memo to composers. s.d. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 20/03/2015.

5. COLEMAN, Matthew. Instrument Design in Selected Works for Solo Multiple Percussion. Tese de Doutorado. Arizona State University, Tempe, 2012.

6. FITCH, Fabrice. Brian Ferneyhough. London: Peters Edition Ltd., 2014.

7. GUILLOT, Matthieu. Monde et sons, écoute et inouï. In: SOLOMOS, Makis (Org.). Présences de Iannis Xenakis.
Paris: CDMC, 2001. p113-116.

8. HARLEY, James. Xenakis: His Life in Music. Nova York: Ed. Routledge, 2004.

9. LACROIX, Marie-Hortense. Pléïades de Yannis Xenakis. Musique et analyse. Paris: Ed. TUM - Michel de Maule, 2001.

10. MARANDOLA, Fabrice. Of Paradigms and Drums: Analysing and Performing Peaux from Pléïades. In:
KANACH, Sharon (Org.). Xenakis Matters. Nova York: Pendragon Press, 2012. p.185-204.

11. MES PERCUSSIONS. Sixxen. 18/09/2004. Disponível em: < http://mespercussions.pagesperso- >. Acesso em: 05/05/2016.

12. MORAIS, R. G. de, CHAIB, F. M. de C., OLIVEIRA, F. F. de. Considerações históricas, estruturais e
características sobre o instrumento Sixxen, de Iannis Xenakis. Per Musi. 2017.

13. PARTCH, Harry. Genesis of a music. 2ed. Nova York: Da Capo Press, 1974.

14. REED, Brett. Building a Set of Sixxen. Percussive notes, v. 41, n. 3, p. 48-50, 2003.

15. YOKEN, David. Interview with Iannis Xenakis. Percussive Notes, v. 28, n. 3, p. 53-58, 1990.

Referências de Partitura

01. XENAKIS, Iannis. PLÉÏADES. Paris: Ed. Salabert, 1978.

02. ________. Idmen A et B. s.d. Disponível em: < >. Acesso em: 15/03/2015



How to Cite

Morais, Ronan Gil de, Fernando Martins de Castro Chaib, and Fabio Fonseca de Oliveira. 2021. “Repertoire for Sixxen: The (Re)Definition of a New Instrument Through Composition”. Per Musi, no. 40 (May):1-22.



Articles in Portuguese/Spanish

Most read articles by the same author(s)