Ricardo Mandolini

Virtual Courses of Electroacoustic Music Composition


The encounter between the sound on one side and the creator on the other side is a magical unique moment. It is impossible to replace or change this sound for another one. Why is that? As George Berkeley used to say, the taste of an apple is not contained within the apple itself, nor is it in our tongue; it is the relationship between the two that generates its taste. Replace the sound with another one and you will have changed the universe of things happening and interacting in between. Musical sound is not only a vibration; it’s a detonator of feelings and associations.

That is why electroacoustic music is the antipodes of algebra; the latter seeks for variables designating exchangeable objects of this world, while our discipline looks for irreplaceable sounds triggering the feelings of the listeners. Finding these sounds means recognizing who you are while also recognizing the technique that is required for its development, the form of the future work and also the public that will thrill and resonate with the work. All of this is made obvious when the miraculous instant occurs when the composer and the sound come together.

From this encounter between the two there arises a creative gesture that is both individual and universal; unknowingly and unintentionally we compose for all people and for all ages.

As a consequence, my philosophy of electroacoustic music composition is not merely grounded on the absolute value of sound materials, nor in the techniques of production and the processing of sound. What is essential to me is what happens between sound materials, the interactions between them and the countless effects that emerge from them.


The weekly virtual courses are individual. The duration of each course depends on its content but it will last at least forty minutes. The composers who work with me first send me their exercises that I analyse and discuss with them during the course. All this is done taking into account the composition of a piece.

For registration, go to  ricardomandolini@gmail.com.

Virtual courses are delivered through Skype by ricardo.mandolini@club-internet.fr

Complete works are later on downloaded in our international composers’ Facebook group Thinking the praxis of electroacoustic music (please look up our Facebook page USP or our profile Univers Sonores Parallèles).

Independently from the course, I am now working on several videos as a complement to the electroacoustic music composition based in ProTools. These videos will soon be available on line.


Ricardo Mandolini

• Composer
• Professor of Lille SHS University, France.
• Creator of the musicological discipline Musical Heuristics
• Magisterium Prize, Bourges’ International Electroacoustic Music Competition, 2002
• Grand Prix des Arts de Lille 2013
• Co-organizer with María Cristina Kasem of SIME’S yearly competition‌ and international electroacustic music week.
• Head of the electroacoustic music Studio – University Lille SHS

. Profesor de composición, Antiguo Conservatorio Beethoven, Buenos Aires, 1973
. Kunstlerische Reifeprüfung, Musikhoschule Köln, Germany, 1983
. Doctorat, Paris VIII University, 1988
. Habilitation à diriger des recherches, Sorbonne, Paris, 1993

. Heuristique Musicale, contributions pour une nouvelle discipline musicologique, (Musical Heuristics, contributions for a new musicologic discipline), Delatour France editions, 2012.
. Réflexions Critiques, l’heuristique musicale et les compositeurs, (Critical reflections, the musical heuristics and the composers), Éditions Universitaires Européennes, Omnisciptum mbH & Co. KG, Sarrebruck, Germany, 2013.

. “Musical Heuristics, contributions for the understanding of creative musical processes”, in Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education, Wayne Bowman and Lucia Frega editors, Oxford University Press, 2012.
. “Heurística y arte, una contribución para la comprensión de los procesos artísticos creativos” (“Heuristics and Arts, contributions for the understanding of creative musical processes”) in Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso, Adolfo Vera et Juan Redmond editors, Insititute of Philosophy, Valparaiso University, Chile, 2013.
.“Semiología musica y musicología : aportes de la filosofía de la complejidad” (“Semiology, music and musicology, contributions from the complexity theory”) in Revista Panambí , Valparaiso University, Chile, 2016.

Videos: Interview with Alexandre Dupretz



Musical heuristics –  for a new musicology

In my contribution to the European musical analysis congress EuroMac 9 (28.06 – 01.07.2017,   Strasbourg University) I outlined the main guidelines of my theory on musical heuristics,  result of my recent researches [1]. In this work I postulate the relevant and unavoidable role of fictions, understood as an indemonstrable creation of the imagination, applied to musical analysis.

From a philosophical point of view, fictions give meaning to our actions because they assemble them into a global project and give them a methodology,  things that, as Kant explains in The Critique of Pure Reason, simple understanding cannot accomplish. Fictions emanate from our temporality, giving meaning to our present as a dynamic towards what we are not yet (what Husserl calls “intentionality”) and at the same time, as a result of what we have already ceased to be. Facing the contingency of the future and the irrevocability of the past, we have to recognize their ontological heterogeneity, since we are being defined simultaneously by acts, rich in imponderable contingencies, and by facts, from which endless interpretations come out.

"Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river that snatches me, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. “ [2]

In terms of musical analysis, the score and the musical work belong respectively to these different ontological levels I’m speaking about. Thus, as a set of instructions for the performance of the work, the score is a quantitative overlap of dissociated parameters. The work, on the other hand, is a dynamic interaction of indissociable parameters that are continuously transformed. Following the complexity theory of Morin, we can define the musical work as a system : “interrelationship between elements configurating  a unit or a global unit” [3]As a whole, the work is greater than the addition of its different parts; here we have to take into account the imponderable emergencies that the interpretation brings (Example: the particular resonance of the concert room, interacting with the music).   These emergencies, which do not exist before the interpretation, characterize the different versions of the work.

Besides, the work as a whole is also smaller that the addition of its parts, if we consider the individual constraints, necessary for the configuration of the global form (Example: Each instrument has its individual characteristics of attack  to produce sound. These differences dissapear in a tutti unisono).



It is thus clear that in the relation of the work to the score, the whole is bigger and at the same time smaller than the addition of its parts. This assertion denies the Aristotelian non-contradiction pinciple, demonstrating in indisputable way the inefficency of discursive reasoning to explain the whole complexity of  music.
This last observation should lead us to the inclusion of fictions in musical analysis, trying in this way to introduce a renowal in the musicologic field.

[1] MANDOLINI Ricardo, Heuristique musicale - Contributions pour une discipline  musicologique. Éditions Delatour France, 2012.
[2] BORGES Jorge Luis, "New Refutation of Time" in Other Inquiries, Sur, Buenos Aires, 1952.
[3] MORIN Edgar, La méthode, I. « La nature de la nature », Editions du Seuil, 1977, p. 101.

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