François Bayle

Pioneer of Acousmatic Music

(с) Didier Allard – InaGrm

François Bayle

Acousmonium, acousmatics, acousmathèque, acousmographe, are projects / concepts / tools / terminologies developed by F. Bayle, in cooperation with the team of the Grm which he directed during 30 years.
Since 1997, setting up his own Studio Magison, he has devoted himself to research, writing and composition.

Born in 1932 in Tamatave, Madagascar where he lived for 14 years. Studies in Bordeaux (1946—54). In 1958-60, François Bayle joined Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris, and between 1959-62 worked with Olivier Messiaen and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1966, Pierre Schaeffer put him in charge of the GRM which, in 1975, became an integral department of the French National Audiovisual Institute (INA). He maintained this position until 1997.

In addition, it was François Bayle’s idea to create the Acousmonium (1974). He also originated the record series Collection Ina-Grm, organizes concerts and radio broadcasts still supports the development of technologically advanced musical instruments (Syter – Grm tools – Midi Formers – Acousmographe).

In 1993, he founded the Acousmathèque, a repertoire of some 2000 works composed since 1948, and that also organizes symposiums and composers’ portraits.

Upon leaving the Grm in 1997, he created his own studio and the record label Magison.

Bayle’s œuvre is notable for its masterly craftsmanship and rhetoric, its agile discourse and its sophisticated thought.

To date, he has composed 105 works.
Among others: Jeîta - 1970, l'Expérience Acoustique - 1972, Erosphère - 1980, Son Vitesse-Lumière - 1983-86, to recent titles - L'Oreille étonnée - 2008, Rien n'est réel - 2010, Déplacements - 2011-12, Deviner-devenir - 2014, Le Projet "Ouïr" - 2015-18, ...

Magison vol. 1 to 18, as well as 4 Dvd-R books : Magison vol 19 to vol 22.
Bayle, 50 ans d'acousmatique, a 15 Cd box set, booklet f/a, Paris InaGrm 2012, reissue 2016.
L'Expérience Acoustique, 3 Lp vinyl, Recollection Mego-Grm, 2012.
Les Couleurs de la nuit, Lp vinyl and Cd, Sub Rosa, 2012.
Very soft earthquake, Tops in the sky, Lp vinyl, Recollection Mego-Grm, 2018.
Electrucs! Lp vinyl, Transversales, 2018.

Recent works
Le Monde sonore de / The Sound world of / Die Klangwelt des / François Bayle
Markus Erbe - Ch. von Blumröder, f/a/a + Dvd-Rom, Signale 18, University of Cologne, Verlag der Apfel, 2013.
Son Vitesse-Lumière, texts R. Renouard Larivière, L. Siano, T. Hünermann, M. Mary, A. Cohen, F. Bayle, acousmographs by P. Couprie, I. Pires, A. Majek, G. Tissot, F. Bayle, a Dvd-R Magison book vol. 22, Paris 2016.

Just published
Aventures d’écoute, Markus Erbe-Ch. von Blumröder, f/a/a, Signale 20, Univ. of Cologne, Verlag der Apfel, 2022.


Circuit Fantôme Season 1 Episode 7

François Bayle presenting his pieces Cercles, Tremblement de terre trèsdoux!, Vers – played within Circuit Fantôme Season 1 Episode 7

Cercles, 13’17’’ / 2000-2001 (cat. 91d)

Presented within Circuit Fantôme Season 1 Episode 7

5ème moment de ‘La forme du temps est un cercle’
5th moment of ‘The shape of time is a circle’

Here are some of the figures of time, put into action. There is what presses and flees, - what beats and hammers, - what breaks in wave, - what withdraws, reverses, - what splashes in sheaf, - what trickles in rain, - what flows, by ginning, - what pearls slowly, - what gushes by jerks, - what gyrates in whirlpool, - what evaporates...

In five stages, the listening path accomplishes a journey, going towards its finest grain, and the perception progressively becomes sharper in its appreciation of images and forms.

The transience of the colors, the velocity of the figures will be resolved in a spiral motion (this three-dimensional form of the circle), according to which the initial sound-image (the bells) will be prolonged to infinity in the final sound-image: that of summer crickets in the night of a suspended, dreamy time.

Tremblement de terre très doux!, 28’ / 1978 (cat. 66)

Presented within Circuit Fantôme Season 1 Episode 7

2ème partie d’Erosphère
2nd part of Erosphere

The title - in musical homage to Max Ernst - is meant to evoke a world of auditory images in combination with the fantasy of unexpected relationships. 'The strange' is created by the familiar. What do these rolls, these murmurs, these impulses, this song, these peaceful rounds, these sudden bursts, these returned calms recall?

The path of the work could also depict the dramatic unfolding of a day (of a life?) from daybreak (climate 1) to night (landscape 4), passing through anxious encounters, transits (1 to 3), preparing for the drama that is tied up in landscape 3 before unraveling in climate 4.

The "narration" organizes adjusted, balanced and linked musical values where harmonic temperatures, closed spaces, muffled movements, a moment of panic, brilliance, a serious resumption which remains in suspense...

climate 1 electronic flows, aurora
transit 1  image / mirage
landscape 1 rolling / sizzling / light wind
climate 2 regular/irregular flows and rhythms
landscape 2 composed loops in diminution
transit 2 transposition
landscape 3 maximum of fast and slow values: walking - jumping - sliding - flying
climate 3 flows and transposition - climate 1 reversed
landscape 4 slices and shocks
climate 4 and
transit 3 flows and variations
landscape 4 depth and
continuation and end colors of the night

« Les propriétés souterraines de l’écoute bousculent doucement les idées »

Vers... , 12’25’’ / 2018 (cat. 105)

Presented within Circuit Fantôme Season 1 Episode 7

4ème moment du Projet « OUÏR »
4th moment of Project "OUÏR"

Tensions-attractions, shifting attention
Resonant suspense...
... horizon of expectation... luminous orients... impulses...
To let the hearing act as it pleases, to follow the lines of force, those of the blocks and the holes of silence, of the masses and the whirlpools.
Calls that attract, interferences that disturb, reminders that repel.
Signs (insignificant), situations (uncertain).
Paths towards the distant.

Les Couleurs de la nuit, 38’03, stéréo, 1983

1/ animé – 2/ plus animé ;
3/ 4/ 5/ – trois andantes : couleurs froissées / lune floue / bouffées
6/ nuit noire – 7/ nuit fauve – 8/ nuit blanche – 9/ nuit dénouée

Here is a spirited work, composed in an urgency, a sort of meteorite fallen from the sky from Son Vitesse-Lumière (composed at the same time). The core matrix, to which a limited number of other material is added, is a fragment taken from a recording of bowed strings (a few seconds from a concerto by Corelli, according to the composer’s memory). The pièce sound as a “violonistic rustling” stretched into iterative dust across its thirty minutes.

We find again the Baylian jungle. This intense feverish flurry is brought to its apogee during the final four movements in an impressive dramatic progression made of escalations and retreats, of influx and loftiness. The impression of “forces spurting forth” is accentuated by the steely quality of the global sound of the piece, added to a feeling of being under pressure which runs through the piece.

The grip of this terrible night is adjourned only for the linked Trois andantes in the first third of the piece, forming a sort of ardent, sensual, calm core, before relinquishing us to pandemonium.

First performance: Paris, Ircam, Espace de projection, 15 mars 1983
Régis Renouard Larivière – traduction Valérie Vivancos.


L’Expérience Acoustique, 6’40, stéréo, 1969-70:
8/ La langue inconnue – 9/ Intervalles bleus – 12/ « It »

… La langue inconnue 10’21
This « Unknown language » from the title would in fact be the language of sounds. It does not resemble the articulation of phonemes in our human language. In contrast, it appears in a single stoke of the brush, agglutinate, telluric and stupefying, both massive yet curiously hollow at the center. This jungle is also a belly. The ceaselessly varied rhythmic ostinato is accompanied by a high-pitched scintillation, following and fascinating from a distance, an object impossible to clearly discern because of the overabundance of light.

The crescendo having reached its destination, the music collapses on itself, very briefly offering the breach of a finally unobstructed glimpse of this “landscape”.

… Blue intervals 6’51
A hight-piched interlacing of diaphanous and brilliant sounds nourishes the ear, holding its attention, captivating it (overflow once again). Fissures open up, allowing the incomprehensible phonemes of a deep voice to thrust forward. It swells and accumulates before dissipating, a dense cloud, materiological wrenching and tearing. The delicate high-pitched and menacing mesh closes in like water engulfing an event in an infinite race of sound.

… « It » 3’39
This short movement in a « pop » style consist of repeated and varied voice fragments and of striking sounds, quite rich in harmonics and quite eclectic, successively constricted then unfurled by filtering. The percussive mouth noises are those of Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt, while Kevin Ayer continually murmurs “I did it again”

Régis Renouard Larivière – traduction Valérie Vivancos

L’infini du bruit (The Noise’s infinite) 10’50, 1979

The concrete source which arouse the animal ear, the electronic trajectories with their analogical heat and the audionumerical color with their shimmering reflections, all present their own inimitable qualities.
Surfaces make up space. And like mirrors facing one another, they open up the auditory perspective on their long corridors with infinite curves.


La forme du temps est un cercle (Time’s form is a circle) 23′, octophonie, 2001: 4/… allures 5/… circles

Nature – that reservoir of organisms and temporal forms – proposes many patterns to our rhythmic imagination: breathing, pulses, ebb and flow, a day’s cycle or the passage of seasons… Their textures and designs form the ground floor, the carpet of our existence.
Time’s figures, those whose audible traces reveal their inner movements, can surprise us by their seemingly familiar vocabulary.  My project, the idea behind this work, is to arouse the desire or pleasure of listening by presenting rather temporal perceptions based on their images, figures, impetus and vividness. Several “moments” therefore that such entities traverse shall attempt to demonstrate special aspects of time’s “grain,” in order to prolong its emotional potential.
Here then, are some of time’s such figures at work.  There is the one that hurries then flees, – the one that pounds and hammers, – that breaks the wave, – that moves backwards and does an about-face, – that splashes into a shower, – that trickles like rain, – that flows, while dripping off, – that slowly forms a bead, – that spurts out in jolts, – that gyrates in a whirl, – that evaporates…
Variations from “knocks” to “traces,” from a heavy pulse to melody, from a tolling bell and its mysterious concurring powers to the furrows of clouds of dust and orbits circulating at various speeds, not to mention the various “paces” of the pulse itself.
Some pythagorian considerations then, since, as the poet says:
{…} Pythagoras reveals to his Greeks
that time’s form is a circle…
{…} Everything happens a first time, eternally.
He who reads these words invents them.
J.-L. Borges – (The Number – 1981)

At the end of the different stages, the listener will have completed a trajectory, one of temporal unity beginning from the finest “grain” and progressively focusing his/her perception in order to discern and identify images and forms.
Colors’ transience, speeding figures will be resolved in a spiral (the three-dimensional form of a circle), by which the initial sound-image (tolling bells) will infinitely evolve into the final sound-image: that of summer crickets during a night of suspended, dream-like time.
F. Bayle – traduction Sharon Canach.

… pace 9’07
(… moving, time pulse)
What is a “pace”?  In Schaefferian “musique concrète” solfeggio, it means the fluctuating quality that a sound maintains.  The movement that animates the life of a resonance through an internal pulse, one that beats … (not to be confused with a “vibrato,” which is a melodic oscillation from the trill family).
The word in French, allure, comes from the verb “aller,” to go, a way of going (rigid or supple, regular or limping).  In English, pace, comes from the Latin “passus,” or rate of movement.  Both apply to the dynamic energy behind the phenomenon-being.
The “pulse” of these beings.  My own participative “pulse.”
In addition, the pace or manner of being is also that which can not hide any psychological flaws: that particular, awkward appearance, developed over experience (that of time).

… circles 13’15
(… streaming, time whirlwind)
First, the light hail of these “grains” of time that trickle out as if from an hourglass and nibble at a steady duration, stimulating it like gusts of wind over water, slight accelerations within an immobile velocity…
Then, these sliding guststhat slowly rise, wandering in a circular manner, up the listening space…
Then, these figures, in constellation form that the wind encircles…
Then, these circles that grow larger, encircling themselves concentrically, stimulating one another, soothing one another…
Then, this fine grain that weaves its thread that itself gives substance and engulfs the space…
It is readily understandable, this game could go on…