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“Enfoncer une porte ouverte”. Madame Bovary sounds as music

Roberto Doati

Résumés

Ma contribution est principalement constituée d’une composition musicale. Le texte qui l’accompagne est une présentation des idées qui ont donné naissance à cette composition. Le rapport entre texte et musique a toujours constitué un problème pour les compositeurs qui ont adopté, selon leurs exigences de composition, des solutions diverses. Dans la seconde moitié du xxe siècle, certains compositeurs ont développé des techniques de traitement de la voix, sous l’influence revendiquée de linguistes (Saussure, Trubeckoj, Jakobson) ainsi que de la littérature expérimentale. Dans la composition Enfoncer une porte ouverte je me suis toutefois trouvé face à un récit du xixe siècle qui n’autorisait pas vraiment le recours à ces techniques. Pour Flaubert, on le sait, texte et son n’étaient pas séparés ; il lisait lui-même à haute voix à ses amis ses romans avant leur publication. Dans ma composition, j’ai donc demandé à une voix féminine de lire le manuscrit final de Madame Bovary, et pas l’édition publiée. L’un des principes fondateurs de la Musique Concrète est l’écoute réduite, grâce à laquelle Pierre Schaeffer souhaitait libérer le son de son origine, pour laisser libre cours aux pures qualités sonores de l’objet (objet sonore), sans les interférences culturelles associées à sa source. Travaillant à partir de ce principe, j’ai ainsi choisi d’animer le texte lu avec de nombreux objets sonores mentionnés dans le livre, sans que la source du son soit nécessairement reconnaissable, en particulier lorsqu’il s’agit de les substituer au timbre de la voix récitante, tout en maintenant la dynamique et le rythme spécifiques de la voix. J’ai ainsi créé ce que j’appelle un paysage sonore imaginaire, où les sons deviennent de véritables acteurs, comme dans un espace théâtral.

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Texte intégral

Omnis mundi creatura
Quasi liber et scriptura
Nobis est et speculum
Alain de Lille

Introduction

1When I was asked by the editor of this volume Bruna Donatelli to contribute with a music composition, I was not surprised at all. In 2015 I was working with my Electronic Music Courses’ students on the musical part for a mise en scène of Madame Bovary. By chance – I don’t believe in chance, if not as a result of a deep rational activity, in this case too personal and complicated to be told here – I got in contact with Bruna. So it started a long correspondence through which I could enrich my “imaginary soundscape” on Flaubert’s book. Unfortunately the stage director did not seem so open to accept something so different from the usual recorded music + sound effects (foley). My students’ contribution as composers and sound designers, although limited by the conventional view of the director, went on stage, but the many ideas I had during our workshop were still relevant in my mind. Therefore Bruna’s invitation is important for me because it gives me the opportunity to see if they have a musical sense.

Sound and Text

2I always doubted of the research some musicologists carried on in the Eighties and Nineties when, needing tools to analyze music, they borrowed them from the linguistics, in this way considering music a kind of by-product of language. I believe that at the dawn of the humankind there were just sounds: sounds to communicate. I have rather sympathy with the “Musilanguage” model proposed by Steven Brown:

  • 1 Steven Brown, “The ‘Musilanguage’ Model of Music Evolution”, Nils L.Wallin, Björn Merker, Steven Br (...)

Music and language are seen as reciprocal specializations of a dual-natured referential emotive communicative precursor, whereby music emphasizes sound as emotive meaning and language emphasizes sound as referential meaning1.

3The link between text and music dates back to the History of humankind and it always represented a problem for composers. According different situations, new solutions were adopted: church music, song, madrigal, melodrama (text becomes action), Lied, opera. In all of them there is something that remains almost unchanged: the rhythm of the words. Ancient Greeks considered poem’s verse both linguistic and musical pattern, as they have rhythm in common. In modern times the importance of rhythm is more acknowledged to music, rather than to text, although it gives expression to a written material.

  • 2 Roberto Doati, “La messa in scena della parola: Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) di Luciano Berio”, Repères (...)
  • 3 Doati, “Per una chimica delle parole”, Alessandra Di Vincenzo and Antonio G. Immertat (eds), Poetro (...)

4As I grew-up within the electroacoustic music culture, I have been attracted by Luciano Berio’s vocal works, mainly his Thema (Omaggio a Joyce)2 (1958) – with the voice of Cathy Berberian – based on a text from Ulysses. Here Berio develops musical techniques clearly under the influence of linguists such as Saussure, Trubeckoj and Jakobson. So when in 1996 I received a commission for a electroacoustic music piece to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Eugenio Montale, I composed Inventario delle eclissi handling tools from Émile Benveniste and Roland Barthes works3.

  • 4 The title is stolen to Christophe Imperiali, “La musicalité refusée”, Littératures, 66, Presses Uni (...)
  • 5 I am using the word ‘narrative’ in its common sense, i.e. as a connected sequence of events to tell (...)
  • 6 ‘Acousmatic’ comes from the Greek word acousma, “whatever is heard”.
  • 7 Jerome Peignot, “De la musique concrète à l’acousmatique”, Esprit, Nouvelle série, 280 (1), 1960, p (...)
  • 8 Pierre Schaeffer, A la recherche d’une musique concrète, Le Seuil, Paris, 1952.
  • 9 Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux, Le Seuil, Paris, 1966.
  • 10 See for example the spiraling double meaning texts in Anémic Cinéma (1926), a silent movie by Marce (...)

5In the case of Enfoncer une porte ouverte4 I was facing a xix Century narrative5 text. My first reflection was that both music and words can be written, but they become sounds only when someone “read” them. Musicologists are still discussing what has to be considered as the text, the body of music: the score (i.e. its written representation) or the sounds (i.e. the material performance of the score). In acousmatic6 composition, the two terms coincide. The first to use the term “acousmatic” (acousmatique) was Jerome Peignot7 to substitute the more general and too restrictive musique concrète8. Therefore musique acousmatique means a music produced with sounds without a visible source, i.e. a music produced (and reproduced) directly on magnetic tape. This led Pierre Schaeffer in his mature writings9 to the concept of reduced listening (écoute réduite), to emphasize the fact the without the visual information, the listener can concentrates on the sound for its own sake, as sound-object (objet sonore). And what is a written text if not an écoute réduite10?

  • 11 “In the likeness of great-hearted Stentor of the brazen voice, whose voice is as the voice of fifty (...)
  • 12 Michael Fried, Flaubert’s “Gueuloir.” On “Madame Bovary” and “Salammbô”, Yale University Press, New (...)
  • 13 Letter to Mlle. Leroyer de Chantepie, December 12th 1857.

6We know that for Flaubert text and sound (writing and reading) were not two separate entities, as he was reading aloud his drafts, Στέντορι εἰσαμένη μεγαλήτορι χαλκεοφώνῳ, ὃς τόσον αὐδήσασχ᾽ ὅσον ἄλλοι πεντήκοντα11. Thanks to this practice, he called gueuloir12, he evaluated the quality of his sentences according their sonority: “Plus une idée est belle, plus la phrase est sonore; soyez-en sûre. La precision de la pensée fait (et est elle-même) celle du mot”13.

7The number of essays referring to the musical word and musicality in Flaubert’s writing are uncountable and I cannot mention the many that encouraged me to take a path into the composition. But I would like at least quote from two of them:

  • 14 Dauge, « Il lui semblait entendre… ». Flaubert et le spectre du musical., op. cit., p. 36.

On sait qu’avec Flaubert émerge la conception d’une prose inchangeable qu’il serait vain d’oser interpréter autrement qu’en la lisant14.

  • 15 Bruna Donatelli, Le perle, il filo e la collana. Figure e luoghi nell’opera di Flaubert, Nuova Arni (...)

Si è veri artisti, veri prosatori – sostiene dunque Flaubert – solo quando si è in grado di far vibrare il testo con la sola forza incantatrice del ritmo, quando si è in grado di infondergli la giusta tensione unicamente attraverso la scelta e la posizione della parola, quando lo stile si fa ritmo15.

8So there is no room for performer’s interpretation, no accent, no dynamics, pauses, pitches, that can be superposed to the inherent musicality of Flaubert’s text. Therefore I asked to Marie Gaboriaud, the voice in my composition, not to read the published version of Madame Bovary, but the final manuscript16. Here the rhythm of the words, rather than their spellings, emerges and any regularity it might have is broken by hesitations, repetitions of words, fragments, crossing-out and corrections.

Narrative or stage music?

  • 17 Robert Pratten, Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling, Robert Pratten, 2011, p. 64.
  • 18 I cannot forget when in 1996 I heard Stockhausen saying that the far and slow moving electronic sou (...)

9Although Enfoncer une porte ouverte has nothing to do with Transmedia Storytelling, it is true that in the passage from text to sound I tried to concentrate on Discovery, Experience and Exploration, the three stages of audience engagement according Robert Pratten17. Adopting electroacoustic music framework for this purpose could sound contradictory, but even the most abstract music is narrative18.

10There are several issues with this scenario. First, what story am I telling you? The choice to record a female voice has a consequence. Who is this voice? It is not Flaubert. A reader? No: it is Emma Bovary in this very moment of transition of Flaubert’s writings, from the state of manuscript to the state of book. She is not anymore in the mind of the writer, and not yet frozen in the fixed form of the book, where all the games are done. So she has just the time to run through the pages to see what will happen to her. Probably she will be poisoned again by literature, I still do not know. In fact, as you will read soon, I am not yet done with Madame Bovary.

  • 19 “An object is in a sense out of time. It is only derivatively in time by reason of its having the r (...)

11While Emma is reading aloud the sound-objects mentioned in the chapters come to life19 and we can hear them in an interplay with Flaubert’s words giving rise to what I call an Imaginary Soundscape.

  • 20 Doati, “Symmetry, Regularity, Direction, Velocity”, Perspectives of New Music, 22, 1/2 (Autumn, 198 (...)
  • 21 “There is time because there are happenings, and apart from happenings there is nothing.” Whitehead (...)

12Second, temporality. A frequent approach to voice in electroacoustic music is to alter the chronological sequence of words, phonemes and even smaller chunks of material – with a technique called granulation. In this case I had to work with narrative structures so carefully and obsessively built by Flaubert. Being a gestaltist20, I consider a sentence more important than the single words that make it, so I decided not alter them. Whenever Emma’s voice is heard, every single word has to be comprehensible. But it is true that due to the many rewritings, the meaning sometimes stumbles and I use pauses to put the text into action, to create happenings21. See for example when at 3’39” in my composition (part I, chapter one) on Charles’ shouting voice “Charbovari”, there is an explosion of Egyptian music. Nonetheless, the sequence of my happenings follows the chronological ordering of Flaubert’s book.

13Third, sounds as characters. I try to give sound the appearance of character, not the book’s characters, but an allegory of them. If it is true that Enfoncer une porte ouverte comes from a failed project of mise en scène, I always have a dramaturgic attitude in composing, even an acousmatic piece. Thus rather than “narrative music”, I prefer to define it “theatrical music”, without a stage.

The composition

14My ambition is to reach what Emile Zola said about Flaubert’s musicality:

  • 22 Émile Zola, “Causerie”, La Tribune, 28 novembre 1869, cited in Didier Philippot, Gustave Flaubert. (...)

La musique de Gustave Flaubert est une sorte de basse continue, sur laquelle chantent, comme un sifflement aigu de petite flûte, des gammes soudaines de notes nerveuses. Un réaliste, soit! mais un réaliste qui tire du réel d’étranges concerts22.

  • 23 “Also what we really observe in nature, its colours and its sounds and its touches are secondary qu (...)

15Considering that the framework for acousmatic music composition since its beginning – i.e. when it was still called musique concrète – is based on recordings of the real (acoustic or electronic instruments as well as so-called noises) and their metamorphoses to provide auditory images far from the physical sound sources, I have chosen to work within it. Because where is Emma living if not into the parallel worlds of physical and fantasy23.

The characters

16There is a passage in a letter to Louise Colet where Flaubert talks about his Notes de voyages that reflects my main concern in composition:

  • 24 27.3.1853. Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance, éd. établie par Jean Bruneau, Gallimard, Paris, « Bibl (...)

Ce que j’aime au contraire dans l’Orient, c’est cette grandeur qui s’ignore, & cette harmonie de choses disparates24.

17Composition means put together (compōnĕre = cum + pōnĕre) different things to make a whole (a Gestalt?), and for me the more different things are, the more interesting is the search for unifying laws.

18Enfoncer une porte ouverte relies on the use of the following different sound sources, all mentioned in Madame Bovary:

  • voice. It is Emma’s voice, and it is always clearly heard. As I wanted to avoid the “audiobook-effect”, in each chapter her distance from us is different. The space in which she reads changes too: small, large, dry, reverberant;

  • environmental sounds (nature, animals, objects): raindrops over an umbrella, dog, chickens, oak, pigs, cow, bird’s flight, goat’s bell, waterfall, horses, bells, coins, sheep, lambs, female sighs, gust of wind, twisted leather, city’soundscape heard from inside a coach, lathe, iron rod over stones;

  • musical instruments and not identified music: violin, saloon dances, sarabande, orchestra, trumpets, flutes, brass, tympani, double-bass, male and female singers;

  • identified music: “Les Compagnons de la Marjolaine”, A mon ange gardien by Pauline Duchambge, Angelus, Le Dieu des bonnes gens by Pierre-Jean Béranger, Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, Un soir, t’en souvient-il? by Louis Niedermeyer.

19To these four categories, I have to add one, that represents my fantasy world made up of extratextual sounds and music:

  • a river flow, recalling the Seine Flaubert heard from his pavillon during Madame Bovary’s writing;

  • Egyptian music;

  • a mechanical bird;

  • prepared piano, a change of appearance of the real piano sounds, like the mechanical bird;

  • Maurice Ravel La valse (1920) that is a “squared” waltz. Ravel once stated that his main aim in composing was to achieve technical perfection, like Flaubert;

  • Guillaume de Machaut Ma fin est mon commencement (a crab canon, circa 1370), in association with Binet’s lathe;

    • 25 String Quartet op. 41 no. 3 (1842) and Fünf Stücke im Volkston op. 102 (1849), where the folk motif (...)
    • 26 Arden Reed, Manet, Flaubert, and the Emergence of Modernism. Blurring Genre Boundaries, University (...)

    Robert Schumann’s music25. More than a word of explanation is needed to justify this choice. Schumann died the same year Madame Bovary was published, both of them contracted syphilis and Schumann represents in Music what Flaubert represents for Literature: the birth – or better “the emergence”26 – of modernism. But most important of all, they shared a twofold character: one ideal, lyrical, one realistic. In the case of Schumann a true dual personality, as he signed his writings sometimes with the name of Florestan (exuberant and impetuous), sometimes as Eusebius (shy and thoughtful).

The formal plan

20I decided to follow the book’s structure in three parts, thirty-five chapters. My music’s first part is linear – as reading is –, monophonic (one audio channel), mainly with dark timbres. The second part is polyphonic, many more characters involved, it is stereophonic (two audio channels) and I use a technique called mosaicing (timbres made up by many different complex sounds). The third part is a mix of the two previous articulations: short chapters are linear, monophonic, dark in timbre, long chapters are polyphonic, stereophonic, with mosaicing timbres. Each chapter is represented by 1 (sometimes up to 4) short excerpts from the book, and its end is marked by a silence. Besides the voice, I only use sounds mentioned by Flaubert in that chapter, and where he does not, I use voice’s amplitude and frequency envelopes as a source material (see my first part, chapter three). I stretch or compress the duration of my chapters according the density of sounds the text gives to me, but always within Flaubert’s narrative framework.

The techniques

21Two are the physical domains for electroacoustic music: the time domain (i.e. amplitude versus time) and frequency domain (i.e. amplitude versus frequency).

22Let us start with the time domain. Thanks to the analyses of Pierre Schaeffer in his Traité des objets musicaux, the spoken rhythm becomes morphologie (morphology), involving dynamics, spectrum, grain and mass, therefore gaining much more musicality. No one musical instrument can be compared with spoken voice as regards the speed of timbre changes. In a sentence like “quoiqu’il ne fût pas large des épaules”, there is a frequency of at least 3 different timbres in a second.

  • 27 Voir Henri Mitterand, L’Illusion réaliste, Puf, Paris, 1994.
  • 28 Curtis Roads, The Computer Music Tutorial, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1996, p. 197-199.

23In order to achieve what has been defined as l’illusion réaliste27 (realistic illusion), I extract the amplitude envelope from the voice and substitute the voice’s spectrum with other sources’ spectra. This technique is called “vocoder”28 and it works in the time domain. It allows me to give rise to strange creatures, half woman, half river, animal, musical instrument, orchestra.

  • 29 Roads, ibid., p. 419-432.
  • 30 « Le mot spectre est ici [chez Antonin Artaud] irréductiblement ambivalent, il oscille sans détermi (...)

24A second type of technique I am using here is “convolution”29. It is generally used to give reverberation to a dry sound, but if a source signal like human voice is convoluted with a river – or a musical instrument, or a chicken – instead of a voice with acoustic space resonances, many different musical results can be achieved. I apply here a kind of “cascade convolution”. For example, I convolve the voice with Sufi choir shouts, then the result with the same voice, the result with Sufi shouts again, and so on, 4 or 5 times. The result is a long, stretched sound in a slow crescendo with a spectrum that contains the frequency components the two sounds have in common. In the middle of my work, I was pleasantly surprised to read the title of Damien Dauge’s PhD Thesis: “« Il lui semblait entendre… » Flaubert et le spectre du musical”, as the word “spectre” regards both phantom and frequency spectrum30.

25I started to work on Enfoncer une porte ouverte having in mind a short collection of musical ideas to realize a 15’ long composition, but I suddenly realized that going through the whole book again many more stimuli were inducing me to act upon a longer project. Until now (September 2018) I have achieved the first 4 chapters of Part I but my plan is to realize the entire book, reaching a two hours long composition.

26Finally, I would like to add some short notes to what I have done in each chapter. The transcriptions refer to the Édition du centenaire, Paris, Librairie de France, 1929 and the manuscript of the Bibliotheque de Rouen (10 mai 1914 N° 19067 Don de Mme Franklin Grout) at www.bovary.fr (retrieved: Sept. 1st 2018).

27Part I, chapter one. I recorded 4 selections from the text (see figures 1). There are two main elements I worked with: river sound and Egyptian music. They are not present in the book, but I am using them as a reference to Flaubert’s life because this chapter is written in first-person. The Sufi choir explosion at Charles saying “Charbovari”, reminds of the group, the ritual of schoolboys, the mockery.

  • 31 By Auguste de Gérando, Imprimeurs-Unis, Paris, 1844, p. 31.
  • 32 “The Hungarians have similarly in their language as many German words, even more; some are borrowed (...)

28While working on this chapter, Bruna Donatelli noticed that there was a mistake in Marie Gaboriaud’s recording: she pronounced “soustache” instead of “soutache”. I then verified that even in his manuscript Flaubert writes “soustache” as correctly transcribed by Caroline d’Atabekian. Inquiring Stella Mangiapane about this, we received the following information: neither in La Revue de Paris nor in any French dictionary up to the Dictionnaire de l’Académie française of 1835 she could find soustache, but always and only soutache. Then she quotes from the Essai historique sur l’origine des Hongrois31: “Les Hongrois ont de même dans leur langue autant de mots allemands, plus encore; quelques uns sont empruntés au latin, et même, en cherchant bien, on trouvera dans la langue hongroise soixante mots français, outre que nous avons en français une dizaine de mots hongrois (« heiduque, trabant, hussard, schako, kolback, dolman, soutache », sont des mots hongrois francisés.)”32.Therefore, according to her it is a Flaubert’s mistake, corrected in the published edition.

Figure 1,a. Excerpts from Chapter One33

Figure 1,a. Excerpts from Chapter One33

Ms g 221, f° 1

Figure 1,b. Excerpts from Chapter One

Figure 1,b. Excerpts from Chapter One

Ms g 221, f° 2

Figure 1,c. Excerpts from Chapter One

Figure 1,c. Excerpts from Chapter One

Ms g 221, f° 3

Figure 1,d. Excerpts from Chapter One

Figure 1,d. Excerpts from Chapter One

Ms g 221, f° 19

29Part I, chapter two. One text selection (see figure 2). Voice, chicken, dog, duck and raindrops over a dry umbrella.

30Part I, chapter three. One text selection (see figure 3). For the chapters without sound references and whose manuscript contain just few rewritings, I decided not to use the voice, but its amplitude and frequency envelopes filtered on the formant frequencies of a tenor voice.

  • 36 “le crincrin du ménétrier qui continuait à jouer dans la campagne”, as translated by Giuseppe Achil (...)

31Part I, chapter four. One text selection (see figure 4). Voice, violin, mechanical bird, bird’s flight. As soon as I read in the Italian translation “... il frin-frin del violinista che continuava a suonare nella campagna”36. I thought to use a small excerpt from a Gipsy music I bought during my trip in Romania many years ago. It is played on the violin in a peculiar way I personally saw only in Clejani region: the technique starts knotting a single horsehair on one string – usually the lowest one – between the bridge and the fingerboard. Then the player produces “scratching” sounds with a slip-sticking pulling motion of index and thumb on the horsehair covered by a lot of rosin, while left hand fingers change the pitch of the “scratch”.

  • 37 Cletto Arrighi, Dizionario Milanese-italiano, Manuali Hoepli, Milano, 1896. Consulted edition: 1977 (...)
  • 38 Margaret Cohen editor, with a translation by Eleanor Marx Aveling and Paul de Man, W. W. Norton & C (...)
  • 39 Onomatopeia for ‘crine’ (horsehair).

32I am quite keen to obey to my instinct, but I always want to investigate why I had a feeling, because in 90% of the cases, it has a rational albeit hidden reason. Tracing the origins of the Italian “frin-frin”, I discovered it comes from a dialetc: “frin-frin onomatopeico, irridente del suono del violino. A Firenze imitazione del suono dello scacciapensieri”37. But “frin-frin” is too sweet. In her 1983 translation for Einaudi Natalia Ginzburg uses the French borrowed “il crin-crin del violinista”, but still with reference to a violin player. If we consult an acknowledged English translation38 we find: “the squeaking of the fiddler”. As we know English has many onomatopeias that work very well in most cases, not this one. However the use of “fiddler” is more correct than “violin player”. I therefore realized that my choice for Flaubert’s “le crincrin du ménétrier” has a reason, because who is playing is not a violin player, is a wanderer musician who plays at weddings and he is playing on the horsehair, so that my sound perfectly stands for “crincrin”39.

The listening experience

  • 41 Stephen McAdams, “Music: A science of the mind?”, in Contemporary Music Review, 2, 1, 1987, p. 1-61

33Now the final issue is: how different is the listening of Enfoncer une porte ouverte by someone who knows where it comes from, and someone who does not? In theory it is the same from the aesthetical point of view, different from the semantic one. Yet what actually happens is that the more you know on a work of art, the larger is the number of parameters to estimate it, also aesthetically. Therefore I prefer to talk of “musical discourse”41 rather than “meaning” as a final response to a composition. Nonetheless if the listener knows that the chicken sounds at the beginning of my composition’ second part, are part of the soundscape for a man and a young woman meeting, she/he will add a meaning to them. Even more appreciation can be elicited if the listener knows that the voice is reading Madame Bovary and the chicken spectrum is substituted for the voice’s one, because she/he could imagine a link between the woman’s neck description and the fact that backyard chickens are usually killed by snapping their neck.

34Thus the awareness of the crucial relation between my music and Madame Bovary will allow the listener to create meaningful connections between the sound-objects, in favour of a musical discourse. Hence in terms of temporality – as I mentioned, one of the main issues of my scenario – it is like if there were two timelines: one for story (the Flaubert’s one) and one for the sound experience (the one I provide with my composition).

35Probably it could be an interesting experiment to ask a writer to imagine a story just listening to my music, then to a composer to write a music inspired by that music, and so on, until...?

36Having said that, I claim the arbitrary power in music composition. In fact I am planning to finish Enfoncer une porte ouverte following the narrative scenario of Madame Bovary, and realize a second version – with a different title? – where all the sounds collected from Flaubert’s book are freely organized without any narrative aim (sequence, chronological order...), to the pursuit of perfect illusion.

  • 42 Giorgio de Chirico, “Méditations d’un peintre. Que pourrait être la peinture de l’avenir”, in Jean (...)

37Once Giorgio De Chirico said “One never knows what music is about”42 With this text of mine I have explained what Enfoncer une porte ouverte is about, but what it is, I let the listener to decide, hoping that at each listening it will be different.

38Let me finally recommend to listen with high-quality loudspeakers, or a pair of good headphones, at the original audio coding format (24 bits, 44.1 KHz). Listening it in a compression format or on cheap loudspeakers, would be like reading Madame Bovary in the dark shade.

Acknowledgements

39I am deeply indebted to Bruna Donatelli for guiding me into Flaubert’s world, hoping she could find the ideas aroused from her many advices now developed into a musical, even though unfinished, collana. I am especially grateful to Elisa Bricco who supported me finding the voice of Marie Gaboriaud, to whom I express my full gratitude for being patient during the recordings. I would like to thank Damien Dauge for having me given access to his valuable PhD Thesis. This final space belongs to my wife Daniela Zanco, who first put Madame Bovary in my hands, many years ago.

Sound sample references

  • L’art du kanoun Egyptien, ARION LP ARN 36696

  • L’ordre Chazili d’Egypte. Al Hadra. Musique Soufi vol. 4, ARION LP ARN 33658

  • Ägypten, Unesco Collection, ex libris LP PH 6858903

  • Les “Haïdouks” d’autrefois” vol. II, Euroart cd 004

  • 361312__tim-kahn__glacial-outflow.wav, 192035__dann93__chickens.wav, 183487__ecfike__chickens.wav, 337101__ivolipa__group-of-dogs-barking.wav, 416893__apheo__duck-hyde-park.wav, 9329__tigersound__pigeon-wings.wav, all retrieved from https://freesound.org/​.

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Notes

1 Steven Brown, “The ‘Musilanguage’ Model of Music Evolution”, Nils L.Wallin, Björn Merker, Steven Brown (eds), The origins of Music, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2000, p. 271.

2 Roberto Doati, “La messa in scena della parola: Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) di Luciano Berio”, Repères DoRiF, 15 – Au prisme de la voix. Hommage à Pierre Léon – coordonné par Enrica Galazzi et Laura Santone, DoRiF Università, Roma marzo 2018, http://www.dorif.it/ezine/ezine_articles.php?art_id=397.

3 Doati, “Per una chimica delle parole”, Alessandra Di Vincenzo and Antonio G. Immertat (eds), Poetronics: al confine tra suono, parola, tecnologia, Edizioni Tracce, Pescara, 1999, with audio CD, p. 65-74.

4 The title is stolen to Christophe Imperiali, “La musicalité refusée”, Littératures, 66, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2012, p. 38. (cited in Damien Dauge, « Il lui semblait entendre… ». Flaubert et le spectre du musical, PhD Thesis, Université de Rouen, 2015, p. 9).

5 I am using the word ‘narrative’ in its common sense, i.e. as a connected sequence of events to tell a story. Actually I firmly believe that all Literature is narrative, as all Paintings are figurative. Sol LeWitt, main figure of Conceptual Art, once told me: “The only abstract painting you can see is what you see when you gently press your eyeballs.”

6 ‘Acousmatic’ comes from the Greek word acousma, “whatever is heard”.

7 Jerome Peignot, “De la musique concrète à l’acousmatique”, Esprit, Nouvelle série, 280 (1), 1960, p. 111-120.

8 Pierre Schaeffer, A la recherche d’une musique concrète, Le Seuil, Paris, 1952.

9 Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux, Le Seuil, Paris, 1966.

10 See for example the spiraling double meaning texts in Anémic Cinéma (1926), a silent movie by Marcel Duchamp. You can read them – it is an image – but you are also forced to hear them because they work on assonance: similar sounds-different meaning.

11 “In the likeness of great-hearted Stentor of the brazen voice, whose voice is as the voice of fifty other men”, Homer, Iliad, V, 785.

12 Michael Fried, Flaubert’s “Gueuloir.” On “Madame Bovary” and “Salammbô”, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2012.

13 Letter to Mlle. Leroyer de Chantepie, December 12th 1857.

14 Dauge, « Il lui semblait entendre… ». Flaubert et le spectre du musical., op. cit., p. 36.

15 Bruna Donatelli, Le perle, il filo e la collana. Figure e luoghi nell’opera di Flaubert, Nuova Arnica editrice, Roma, 2008, “I Quaderni di Igitur, Testi & Studi”, 16, p. 25. “You are true artist, true prose writer – Flaubert says – only when you are able to make the text vibrate with the only enchanting force of the rhythm, when you are able to infuse the right tension only through the choice and position of the word, when style becomes rhythm”.

16 www.bovary.fr, retrieved: February 2nd 2018.

17 Robert Pratten, Getting Started in Transmedia Storytelling, Robert Pratten, 2011, p. 64.

18 I cannot forget when in 1996 I heard Stockhausen saying that the far and slow moving electronic sounds in his Kontakte were recalls of American planes going to bomb his Country while he was laying on the grass in his small, country.

19 “An object is in a sense out of time. It is only derivatively in time by reason of its having the relation to events which I term ‘situation’.” Alfred North Whitehead, The Concept of Nature. The Tarner Lectures delivered in Trinity College November 1919, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1964, p. 51.

20 Doati, “Symmetry, Regularity, Direction, Velocity”, Perspectives of New Music, 22, 1/2 (Autumn, 1983 – Summer, 1984), p. 61-86.

21 “There is time because there are happenings, and apart from happenings there is nothing.” Whitehead, The Concept of Nature. The Tarner Lectures delivered in Trinity College November 1919, op. cit., p. 44.

22 Émile Zola, “Causerie”, La Tribune, 28 novembre 1869, cited in Didier Philippot, Gustave Flaubert. Mémoire de la critique, Presses Universitaires Paris Sorbonne, 2006, p. 288. (“The music of Gustave Flaubert is a kind of basso continuo, on which, like an acute hissing of a small flute, sudden scales of nervous notes are singing. A realistic, that is! but a realist who draws from reality strange concerts.”).

23 “Also what we really observe in nature, its colours and its sounds and its touches are secondary qualities; in other words, they are not in nature at all but are accidental products of the relations between nature and mind.” Whitehead, The Concept of Nature. The Tarner Lectures delivered in Trinity College November 1919, op. cit., p. 91.

24 27.3.1853. Gustave Flaubert, Correspondance, éd. établie par Jean Bruneau, Gallimard, Paris, « Bibliothèque de la Pléiade », t. II, 1980, p. 283. (“What I like, on the contrary, in the East, is that greatness that is unaware of itself, and that harmony of disparate things.”).

25 String Quartet op. 41 no. 3 (1842) and Fünf Stücke im Volkston op. 102 (1849), where the folk motifs and rhythms sweep across a more formal structure, allegory of the country where Emma is living and the city where she would like to live.

26 Arden Reed, Manet, Flaubert, and the Emergence of Modernism. Blurring Genre Boundaries, University Press, Cambridge, 2003.

27 Voir Henri Mitterand, L’Illusion réaliste, Puf, Paris, 1994.

28 Curtis Roads, The Computer Music Tutorial, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1996, p. 197-199.

29 Roads, ibid., p. 419-432.

30 « Le mot spectre est ici [chez Antonin Artaud] irréductiblement ambivalent, il oscille sans détermination possible entre ses deux sens : celui qui en fait un synonyme de fantôme, de revenant, de double ; celui qui dit l’analyse du rayonnement d’une source, qu’elle soit lumineuse ou sonore. » Peter Szendy, « Radio-Artaud (le théâtre, l’enregistrement, le double) », in Laurent Feneyrou (ed.), Musique et dramaturgie : esthétique de la représentation au xxe siècle, Publications de la Sorbonne, Paris, 2003, p. 713, cited in Dauge, « Il lui semblait entendre… ». Flaubert et le spectre du musical, op. cit., p. 12. (“The word spectrum is here [at Antonin Artaud] irreducibly ambivalent, it oscillates without any possible determination between its two senses: one connoting a synonym for ghost, revenant, double; one connoting the analysis of the radiation of a source, whether it is luminous or sound.”) Is it a chance that the first time I massively used the convolution technique was in 2005 for a musical theatre work commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia: Un avatar del diavolo (A devil’s avatar) based on Artaud’s Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu?

31 By Auguste de Gérando, Imprimeurs-Unis, Paris, 1844, p. 31.

32 “The Hungarians have similarly in their language as many German words, even more; some are borrowed from Latin, and even, looking carefully, we find in the Hungarian language sixty French words, besides that we have in French a dozen Hungarian words («heiduque, trabant, hussard, schako, kolback, dolman, soutache» are Hungarian words Frenchified.”

33 See transcriptions at: <https://www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?folio=919&mode=sequence&mot=>, <https://www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=2>, <https://www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=3>, <https://www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=19>.

34 www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=33.

35 http://www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=48%3E.

36 “le crincrin du ménétrier qui continuait à jouer dans la campagne”, as translated by Giuseppe Achilli in Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Rizzoli Editore, Milano, 1949.

37 Cletto Arrighi, Dizionario Milanese-italiano, Manuali Hoepli, Milano, 1896. Consulted edition: 1977. (“frin-frin onomatopoeic, mocking of the sound of the violin. In Florence, imitation of the sound of Jew’s harp.”)

38 Margaret Cohen editor, with a translation by Eleanor Marx Aveling and Paul de Man, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1965. Consulted edition: 2005.

39 Onomatopeia for ‘crine’ (horsehair).

40 www.bovary.fr/folio_visu.php?mode=sequence&folio=&org=3&zoom=50&seq=58.

41 Stephen McAdams, “Music: A science of the mind?”, in Contemporary Music Review, 2, 1, 1987, p. 1-61.

42 Giorgio de Chirico, “Méditations d’un peintre. Que pourrait être la peinture de l’avenir”, in Jean Paulhan’s collection of manuscripts, published in Il meccanismo del pensiero, Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco ed., Einaudi, Torino, 1985. Now in Giorgio de Chirico, Scritti/1 (1911-1945). Romanzi e Scritti critici e teorici, Andrea Cortellessa ed., Bompiani, Milano, 2008.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1,a. Excerpts from Chapter One33
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Titre Figure 1,b. Excerpts from Chapter One
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Titre Figure 1,c. Excerpts from Chapter One
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Titre Figure 1,d. Excerpts from Chapter One
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Titre Figure 2. Excerpt from Chapter Two34
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Titre Figure 3. Excerpt from Chapter Three35
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Titre Figure 4. Excerpt from Chapter Four40
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Roberto Doati, « “Enfoncer une porte ouverte”. Madame Bovary sounds as music », Flaubert [En ligne], 21 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2019, consulté le 14 novembre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/flaubert/3710

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Auteur

Roberto Doati

Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Nicolini, Piacenza (Italia)

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