Denis Smalley


  • Denis Smalley
  • Year of composition: 1984
  • Duration: 30:17
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Ina-GRM
  • ISWC: T9016778464

The sonic images of Tides are based on analogies between water and sound — motion, textures, images of turbulence, strength and tranquillity, the play of colours 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 Computer Systems Research Institute (with its Structured Sound Synthesis Project (SSSP) system) of the University of Toronto (Canada), 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 Radio France, Paris (France)