New Music For Old Oscillators

The Ensemble d’oscillateurs (The Oscillator Ensemble) is a new music group that performs modern works for old-school oscillators.

The Ensemble, directed by Nicolas Bernier, takes inspiration from electronic music pioneers like Pauline Oliveros and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The group features 10 musicians playing on post-war analog oscillators.

The vintage gear creates technical limitations, but also unique creative boundaries to work within.

“With only the frequency and volume as musical parameter, we are exploring ways to compose and improvise  with sine waves (and a bit of square waves), nothing else,” notes Benier.


2018 : Earle Brown, December 1952 (1952) var.
2018 : Francisco Meirino, Shaping Things (a Simple Spectrum) (2018) 12 m
2018 : Candas Sisman, SYN-Phon (2013) 10 m
2017 : Xavier Ménard, États altérés (2017) 7 m
2016 : Kevin Gironnay, Ignis Fatuus (Solis) (2016) 12 m

10 thoughts on “New Music For Old Oscillators

  1. Interesting!
    Would like a performance video with score on that!
    Wonder about one thing: Why not interconnect some of these musicians in the orchestra, and apply some F.M.? That would bring an entirely new range of timbres to the additive timbral synthesis achieved in this video.

    1. i believe they want to go the opposite way of what you suggest. Subtracting as much as possible. Not adding “a little fm” and then maybe later “a little filtering” (i don`t mean it in an ironic way, it`s just hard to use “quotes” without leaving space for misinterpretation in the vast internet ). But thats only my opinion. I find it interesting to be honest. Like really restricting one self and not as some others i see like “he made the cd with just one synth (which happens to be some flagship 🙂 and a computer used only as a sequencer “…..

  2. I made an album with two Hewlett Packard 200 series sine oscillators and selected field recordings.

    I found this video to be very interesting since I own 5 vintage test oscillators. I use them in nearly all of my compositions.

    The newer (70s era) ones that I use can also do a square wave. They sound good if you filter them. The 3 older ones that are sine waves only and you don’t need to filter them. They sound beautiful all by themselves. There is no synth module, that I know of, that will give you the same sound.

    Search for my video for Moon Of Ice from the 12 full Moons album. That one is all HP 200 series, tube oscillators.

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