Denis Smalley

Programme notes


The sonic images of Tides are based on analogies between water and sound — motion, textures, images of turbulence, strength and tranquillity, the play of colors and light, and the intimacy and immensity of space. The first movement — Pools and Currents — is constructed around a series of interlocked ‘pools,’ each of which has a different character. The pool idea suggests textural play, while the idea of ‘currents’ stresses the more linear motion that propels the movement forward. The pools come to rest in a broad seascape out of which the wave-like gestures of the second movement, Sea Flight, emerge.

Tides is the first of my works to use computer transformations of source material.


Tides was completed in 1984 and mixed at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK). Materials for the work were created during visits to a number of studios - the University of Toronto Computer Systems Research Group (the Structured Sound Synthesis Project’s system), the Experimental Studio of Finnish Radio, and the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM) Digital Studio — Studio 123. The piece was commissioned by the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM) in Paris (France).


  • April 30, 1984, Cycle acousmatique 1984: Concert, Grand Auditorium — Maison de la radio, Paris (France)


  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Composer(s): Denis Smalley
  • Year of composition: 1984
  • Commission: Ina-GRM
  • ISWC: T9016778464
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média


Pools and Currents

Sea Flight

  • Composer(s): Denis Smalley
  • ISWC: T9001028144
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média

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