The Centre d’Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales, more simply known by the abbreviation CEMAMu, is a computer music research center founded by Iannis Xenakis in collaboration with academics from several disciplines very different, as aesthetics, mathematics, computer science, but also philosophy and electrical engineering.

Formally, the CEMAMu was founded in 1972, however it is not uncommon to come across writings that document the existence since the second half of the sixties. In reality it is a confusion after the formation in 1966 of an informal group to which Xenakis gave it the name EMAMu, acronym of Equipe de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales, which can be considered as the first stage of CEMAMu on whose birth had a great influence also the experience that Xenakis had in the United States with the foundation, at its request, of the Center for Mathematical and Automated Music.

The CEMAMu was a research center, and from an early age had set a series of goals for the institute in Paris which established a specific course of action:

1. Facilitate research on musical and visual composition through disciplines such as mathematics, technology and other sciences;

2. Build tools or software based on the principle expressed in point 1;

3. Stimulate the composition of new music;

4. Disseminate the research and discoveries of CEMAMu between a very different people, without aesthetic or professional discrimination;

5. Development of a new pedagogy, conforming to the activity carried out at CEMAMu.

The highest point of all this research will be reached in about 1975, with the construction of the first prototype of the UPIC, a computer system for composing music in a graphical manner, an instrument which had great success, and fully realized all goals of the CEMAMu.

To give a concrete support to the dissemination dell”Upic, was established in 1985 Les Ateliers UPIC. During the early years the two realities, that of CEMAMu and that of the Ateliers, presented themselves as distinct entities, but over the years the activity of CEMAMu was integrated more and more into that of the Ateliers UPIC, to dissolve in the latter, which in turn was transformed into CCMIX.

The CCMIX was subsequently renamed, simply, Centre Iannis Xenakis (CIX) in 2009 and since the end of 2010 is housed at the Université de Rouen in Normandy, more info here.



Colyer, Cornelia; Studio Report: Centre d’Études de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales, Proceedings of International Computer Music Conference, Den Haag 1986, pp. 317 – 319.

Restagno, Enzo (edited by); Xenakis, EDT, Torino 1988.

Leave a Reply to Alex Di Nunzio Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.