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  • Born

    18 March 1938

  • Born In

    Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

  • Died

    21 November 2016 (aged 78)

Jean-Claude Risset (18 March 1938 - 21 November 2016) was a French composer, best known for his pioneering contributions to computer music. He was a former student of André Jolivet and former co-worker of Max Mathews at Bell Labs.

Born in Le Puy-en-Velay, France, arriving at Bell Labs, New Jersey in 1964, he used Max Mathews' MUSIC IV software to digitally recreate the sounds of brass instruments. He made digital recordings of trumpets and studied their timbral composition using "pitch-synchronous" spectrum analysis tools, revealing that the amplitude and frequency of the harmonics (more correctly, partials) of these instruments would differ depending on frequency, duration and amplitude. He is also credited with performing the first experiments on a range of synthesis techniques including FM Synthesis and waveshaping.

After the discrete Shepard scale Risset created a version of the scale where the steps between each tone are continuous, and it is appropriately called the continuous Risset scale or Shepard-Risset glissando.

Risset died 21 november, 2016 in Marseille, France.
Selected works by Jean-Claude Risset

- Vocal music

Dérives, for choir and magnetic tape (1985) 15'
Inharmonique, for soprano and tape (1977) 15'

- Orchestral music

Escalas, for large orchestra (2001) 17'
Mirages, for 16 musicians and tape (1978) 24'

- Chamber music

Profils, for 7 instruments and tape (1983) 18'
Mutations II for ensemble and electronics (1973) 17'

- Solo music

Trois études en duo, for pianist (bidirectional MIDI piano with computer interaction) (1991) 10'
Huit esquisses en duo, for pianist (bidirectional MIDI piano with computer interaction) (1989) 17'
Voilements, for saxophone and tape (1987) 14'
Passages for flute and tape (1982) 14'
Variants for violin and digital processing (1995) 8'

- Music for solo tape

Invisible Irène (1995) 12'
Sud (1985) 24'
Songes (1979) 10'
Trois mouvements newtoniens, for tape (1978) 13'
Mutations (1969) 10'
Computer Suite from Little Boy (1968) 13'

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