“Semantic Works” by Jacques Dudon, with the Ensemble de musique microtonale du Thoronet in tribute to Alain Daniélou (1907 – 1994)

Ensemble de Musique Microtonale du Thoronet

Jacques Dudon: chandravina, microtonal guitar, Semantic Daniélou, voice
Alain Pantéléimonoff: sitar, multitonal banjo
Éric Barthes: mediaeval dulcimer, harmonic chimes, semantic Daniélou, udu
Elisa Rucci: Semantic Daniélou, voice
Thierry Hamy: clay calligraphy

Semantic Works is a western tribute to non-European forms of music and to the musicology work of Alain Daniélou. For the occasion of the 100th commemoration of the birth of Alain Daniélou (1907-1994) the Semantic Daniélou featured for the first time in concert. This microtonal instrument with 36 tones per octave was developed by Michel Geiss and Christian Braut in collaboration with Philippe Monsire and Jean-Claude Dubois, following the theories advanced by Alain Daniélou in his work “Sémantique musicale”. Mainly inspired by Indian influences, and evoking the mystery and the sensuality of ragas, Semantic works investigates the whole array of human emotions. The atmosphere is alternately contemplative, exalted or simply joyful, with brief references to sacred Sufi, celtic, mediaeval, amerindian, persian and indonesian music.

The gestures, lines, dance and occasional sounds of the calligraphy artist unfold in real time on the center stage, on his rotating disc impregnated with a clay emulsion, and instantly mirror the harmonies and improvisations of the four musicians of the EMMT.  The fulgurance of the harmonic colours of the sitar, the chandravina, the Semantic Daniélou and the voices, diffused throughout the spacious vaultsof the Abbey, and the forms which emerge from the clay, carry us into secret dimensions of our being, where inner silence holds and reunites all paradoxes.

As part of the 2007 commemorations of the 100th anniversary of Alain Daniélou’s birth, several concerts interpreting compositions by Jaques Dudon and showcasing the Semantic were organised by the A.E.H. (Atelier d’Exploration Harmonique – Harmonic Exploration Workshop):

Thoronet Abbey the 22nd September,
Teatro Fondamenta Nuova, Venise the 21st October (for the 4th Festival Ex Novo Musica),
Teatro Palladium, Rome the 23rd October, and
Maison des Cultures du Monde, Paris the 3rd November.

The patent filed by Alain Daniélou and Maurice Martenot in 1936 is evidence of the perseverence of Alain Daniélou who committed nearly 60 years to the project of producing a microtonal instrument as an alternative to the western “equal temperament”.  Small harmoniums were built in India in the 1940’s, a measuring instrument was created in the Kudelski/Nagra workshop in Lausanne, and finally, facilitated by developments in computer technology, the  Semantic Daniélou was created in 2000, by Michel Geiss and Christian Braut, and baptised by the italian composer  Sylvano Bussotti.

Jacques Dudon, composer and microtonality specialist pays tribute to Alain Daniélou in his composition “Semantic Works”,  inspired by Alain Daniélou’s theories and using for the first time the Semantic Daniélou in concert .


Photos: Christian Braut

Photos: Marco Serri and Christian Braut

Photos: Christian Braut

Photos: Christian Braut