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GAME [Générateur automatique de musique électronique] (Fr.: ‘automatic electronic music generator’)locked

  • Hugh Davies,
  • Annette Vande Gorne
  •  and Anne Beetem Acker

Composition machine developed by the Belgian composer Léo Küpper (b Nidrum, 16 April 1935) in Brussels between 1968 and 1978. Küpper had begun experimenting with electronic music in 1959 while a student at Liège University, using two Brüel & Kjaer oscillators and a tape recorder. In 1962 he began work in Brussels at APELAC, the first Belgian electronic music studio, and joined the musical sound-effects department of the RTBF. The GAME system formed the basis of Küpper’s electronic music studio in Brussels, the Studio de Recherches et de Structurations Electroniques Auditives, which he founded in 1967. The first version of the GAME, completed in 1971, was used in concerts and installations. It consisted of 60 separate modules, using a combination of analogue and digital techniques, which could be freely selected and combined. The modules were programmed in an upright console approximately 4 × 2 metres by making a large number of patchcord interconnections, so that the surface of the console was festooned with cables. Most of the controls operated during a performance were placed in front of the console.

Between 1978 and 1987 Küpper arranged a number of robotic installations he called ‘Public Computer Music’. These were set up for as long as a month, and were designed primarily to interact with audiences. For example, the Ordinateur Musical was a voice-activated computer with electronic sounds. Installations Küpper created in Rome (1977), Avignon (1979), Linz (1984), and Venice (1987 Biennale; 350 audio channels) occurred in his Sound Domes. In these 100 to 200 loudspeakers were mounted according to a carefully planned pattern on a structure of metal scaffolding in the shape of a quarter or half a dome. Two auxiliary constructions could be added: Muvis (musique visible, 1978), a series of 20 frequency-responsive light-columns, and Automates sonores, small programmable boxes that modified sounds fed into them from individual microphones.

In 1987 Küpper invented the Kinephone, a keyboard instrument for spatialization through 50 channels. He has also engaged in research in phonetic and vocal music and psychoacoustics. He won the Prix Magistère of the Bourges international competition (1989) and became a member of the International Academy of Electro-Acoustic Music in Bourges. He was also awarded a prize for new forms of musical expression (1990) by the Société Belge des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs (SABAM). His discography is extensive.


  • L. Küpper: ‘Élaboration de la musique électronique à partir d’un ordinateur musical; Tendance à l’automatisation de la composition; Génération d’un monde sonore autonome par interstimulations d’automates sonores’, Faire (1975), nos.2–3, 31–41, 199.