Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant

EPV-labelled Structures Sonores reveals to the world the extraordinary sound of titanium

In April 2010, the eminent researcher, musician and teacher, Frédéric Bousquet, managing director of EPV-labelled company Structures Sonores, announced that its workshop had produced the first sound module to use the vibratory properties of titanium.

To understand what we are talking about, we should begin by explaining what ‘sound structures’ are and by giving some background to this research, which is specialised and little-known to the general public, to say the least.




‘Sound structures’ are a family of contemporary instruments that use the acoustic principle of a vibrating rod. This principle was revealed in the 1950s by the Baschet brothers and composer Jacques Lasry. It is considered one of the few instrument inventions of the 20th century. Alongside that sound research, the highly innovative design of these instruments led the world’s major museums to describe the Baschet brothers as the fathers of sound sculpture.



The best-known of these instruments is the Cristal, whose keyboard consists of glass rods which, when rubbed with damp fingers, cause metal mechanisms to vibrate. These are connected to a metal sound board which is amplified non-electrically by metal sheets and composite fibre cones.

Frédéric Bousquet is a world expert on sound structures. He spends his time both designing and disseminating them. An instrument maker and guardian of the know-how of the Baschet brothers, with whom he collaborates closely, Bousquet’s firm is today the only one to design, manufacture and disseminate ‘sound structures’.

This latest accomplishment, the first sound module to use the vibratory properties of titanium, is the culmination of a decade of research into the acoustic principle of fixed rods. The expert testing required numerous partnerships to be forged, in particular with acoustic laboratories (L.A.M. and L.A.U.M.) and the Le Mans School of Engineering. The materials developed by heavy industry are used in wide-ranging fields – medicine, in particular, for titanium – and now in the production of acoustic instruments.

For Frédéric Bousquet, this new instrument is proof that corporate technological development can be motivated by artistic creation. On a philosophical level, he poses questions about man’s capacity to create the tools for his own evolution.

The development of this module is the starting point for a whole host of future events, including the creation of new musical instruments associated with new music research. Developed in a dedicated workshop, the research aims to pass on know-how linked to that production. This includes the production of kinetic sculptures for the first opera devoted to Bousquet’s sound research, Dante’s "Divine Comedy”, to be performed for the first time this summer, thereby contributing to the spread of knowledge about titanium.
To find out more about Sound Structures, visit the company’s website:


Company data sheet

01 June 2010