Les petits riens (mécanique du quotidien)

Chantal Dumas

  • Year of composition: 2009, 10, 17
  • Duration: 14:20
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Réseaux des arts médiatiques


“Petits riens” (little nothings / tiny things) are those discreet sounds, songs too quiet for us to pay attention to them or so common that we don’t perceive them anymore. These sounds also pertain to microcosms, like the world of insects, and to our technologized and digitalized work environments. We could probably also include the fragments of melodies we remember and are the only ones hearing as they play back in loops in our heads, or even those sonic impressions of the past that will occasionally resurface into the present.

Like a cabinet of curios, Les petits riens compiles a collection of sound objects, with a preference for the sundry and unusual. This project will search for impossible sonic associations where each element has its source in natural, non-fabricated sounds. The challenge in this compositional process is to de-condition listening habits by coming back to the logical organization of sounds. Despite a temptation to tip sonic reality over, the main motivation behind Les petits riens is a desire to update the poetic rhythmicality of the daily life that has been eluding us.

[English translation: François Couture, x-09]

Les petits riens (mécanique du quotidien) ws awarded the 2010 Prix Bohemia Radio.


  • November 20, 2009, Akousma (6): Éclats de vie, Studio Hydro-Québec — Monument-National, Montréal (Québec)