For general technical notes go to Electronics-general-notes.html

For solutions to common problems go to Electronics-common-solutions.html

General information

The electronics for this monodrama can be run with a Max patch including processing for the soprano and the harpsichord, diffused over 16 channels.

An additional musician is required to trigger the cues in the score. They should do this from a position within the orchestra using a MIDI keyboard (or directly on the computer at the mixing desk). See the list of electronics cues at the end of this document.

The singer may be amplified but the sound should remain natural all all times; the amplification should be barely, if at all, noticeable.

In both rehearsal and performance the sound engineer/musician should read the score and adjust the relative levels of the singe, orchestra and electronics on the mixing desk, according to the given context (musical interpretation, equipment, acoustics of the hall).


latest version does require Max installation

Technical requirements

  1. -Macintosh computer equipped with an external audio interface compatible with Max (cf: www.cycling74.com), e.g. RME Fireface 800 (3 inputs, 16 outputs), see www.rme-audio.com

  2. -MIDI controller keyboard (8 octaves) to trigger the pre-recorded sounds from the computer

  3. -MIDI interface to connect the MIDI controller keyboard to the computer

  4. -2 Wireless microphones for the singer (e.g. DPA 4061, see www.dpamicrophones.com), with a wireless UHF system (e.g. Sennheiser SK50, see www.sennheiser.com)

  5. -Contact microphone with a wireless UHF system for the amplification of the pen (e.g. Schertler)

  6. -Microphones for the harpsichord (e.g. 2 KM 140 Neuman or equivalent)

  7. -Mixer (e.g. 1 DM2000 Yamaha version 2, with 2 MY16-AT cards, 1 MY8-AD96 card, 2 MY8-DA96 cards)

  8. - Speakers:

  9. -

2 loudspeakers top left and right (LS1 & LS2)

1 loudspeaker top center (LS3)

2 loudspeakers hanging from the ceiling facing the audience (LS4 & LS5)

2 loudspeakers back of stage (LS6 & LS7)

Loudspeakers on the set (L&R, number depending on the shape of the hall)

1 loudspeaker in the pit for harpsichord reinforcement (amplification) (LS8)

Return monitors for the conductor, the harpsichordist, the singer, and the musician triggering the cues.

The number of loudspeakers will depend on the size and shape of the hall.

The number of loudspeakers for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 needs to be adapted so that everyone in the audience can hear them.

Loudspeakers L&R are used to reinforce the spoken voice

Loudspeakers 6&7 are mainly used for the pen reinforcement

Loudspeakers 1 to 5 are used for electronics diffusion (transformation of the voice and harpsichord effects)

Explanations of the electronics

There are two types of treatment:

- Transformation of the soprano voice into a male or child voice

- Effects on the harpsichord

The 16 outputs are divided like this:

- Outputs 1 to 10: voice and harpsichord treatments (pre-recorded text with Karita Mattila only)

- Outputs 11 to 16: harpsichord spatialisation.

Nota bene: it is very important to load the patch with the dac OFF in DSP status, otherwise the convolution reverb does not load properly


There are 4 treatments for the voice:

Cue 11 to 16: Scene II measures 29 to 43 (Voltaire)

Cues 31 to 32: Scene III measures 92 to 100 (Voltaire)

Cues 41 to 42: Scene V measures 37 to 44 (Saint-Lambert)

Cues 51 to 56: Scene VII measures 106 to 121 (Child/Father/Child)

Each character (Voltaire, Saint-Lambert, Child, Father) has its own characteristics (transposition interval, spectral envelope)

These transformations are sent to loudspeakers 1 to 5.

Aim for a timbral fusion of natural voice and electronic treatment (the level of the treatment should be slightly less than the natural voice)

There are some sub-cues to cut the effect when the soloist does not sing or to change effects parameters.


The harpsichord is always sent to a spatialization effect (outputs 11 to 16 on the computer)

There are some other effects for the harpsichord (see the cue list, at the end of this document)

Cue 4401, 4402 and 4403: VI, measures 176 to 206, harpsichord is sent through delays + high pass filter (high pass which slowly goes up to 6 kHz)

Cue 4501 to 4502 (VII, measures 4 to 31) delays + high pass filter

Effects 4401 to 45 are sent to dacs 1-10

Pen reinforcement

The pen is amplified (indicated in the score as ‘amplified pen’).

Harpsichord reinforcement

The harpsichord is amplified throughout the work (local reinforcement with a loudspeaker in the orchestra pit).

Vocal reinforcement

The voice should not be amplified unless indicated in the score, although a slight reinforcement may be necessary in the spoken/sung parts.

List of Cues

Name of effect/Effect number in Max patch/place in the score

Harpsichord effect Max Top 103 Scene I, bar 180

End of harpischord effect Max Top 104 Scene I, bar 187

Effect voice H1 – Voltaire

preparation Max Top 10 Scene II, bar 26

Max Top 11 Scene II, bar 29

Max Top 11.01 Scene II, bar 30 after "divine"

Max Top 11.02 Scene II, bar 30 after "sublime"

Max Top 12 Scene II, bar 33

Max Top 13 Scene II, bar 36

Max Top 13.01 Scene II, bar 38

Max Top 14 Scene II, bar 40 after "le poète"

Max Top 15 Scene II, bar 40 after "disait-il"

Max Top 15.01 Scene II, bar 42

Max Top 16 Scene II, bar 44

Effect voice H2 – Elle est tyranique

preparation Max Top 30 Scene III, bar 82

Max Top 31 Scene III, bar 92, second beat

Max Top 31.03 Scene III, bar 99, 2nd beat

Max Top 32 Scene III, bar 100, third beat

Effect voice H3 – Saint Lambert

preparation Max Top 40 Scene V, bar 22

Max Top 41 Scene V, bar 37

Max Top 41.01 Scene V, bar 40, fourth quaver

Max Top 42 Scene V, bar 44 third beat

Harpsichord effect Max Top 101 Scene V, bar 91

End of harpischord effect  Max Top 102 Scene V, bar 104

Harpsichord delay+feedback+filter

Max Top 44 Scene VI, bar 168

Max Top 44.01 Scene VI, bar 176

Max Top 44.02 Scene VI, bar 193

Max Top 44.03 Scene VI, bar 204

Max Top 45 Scene VII, bar 3

Max Top 45.01 Scene VII, bar 4

Max Top 45.02 Scene VII, bar 27, second beat

Effect voice H4 - Father and child

preparation Max Top 50 Scene VII, bar 88

Max Top 51 Scene VII, bar 106

Max Top 52 Scene VII, bar 109, third beat

Max Top 53 Scene VII, bar 111

Max Top 53.01 Scene VII, bar 113, third beat

Max Top 53.02 Scene VII, bar 114, second beat

Max Top 54 Scene VII, bar 117

Max Top 55 Scene VII, bar 117, third beat

Max Top 55.01 Scene VII, bar 120, fourth beat

Max Top 56 Scene VII, bar 121, third beat

Harpischord effect Max Top 105 Scene VII, bar 238

End of harpischord effect Max Top 106 Scene VII, bar 253

Nota bene: all pre-recorded text effects shown in the score no longer apply.

Performance notes

The amount of the amplification required naturally depends on the concert space, but it should never cover the acoustic sound of the voice and instruments.
The general level should be rather loud, but not painfully so.