Review of the first international summer school Music, humanities, and science: instrument making

August  29 to September 2, 2022 in Le Mans - France



Please find the French version of this publication by clicking here


Sorbonne University's Collegium Musicæ is setting up a program of international thematic summer schools, with the ambition to promote multidisciplinarity between humanities and sciences in the field of music. It intends to bring together young researchers (doctoral and post-doctoral students, etc.) from the 4 EU+ Alliance and beyond, for a week of training during which they will learn, through theoretical courses and practical workshops, as much as they will consider the tools and skills upon a common base of multi-disciplinary knowledge.

The first thematic summer school on Music and Science  organized in partnership with the Institut Technologique Européen des Métiers de la Musique Le Mans will focus on instrument making. Through a series of workshops and conferences, it will focus on two major instrumental categories, plucked strings and wind instruments. These instrumental categories will be explored from several vantage points, from the humanities, from the sciences and from hands-on practice, thus articulating music, musicology, acoustics and instrument making. These convergent perspectives raise several questions and learning objectives, also in terms of multidisciplinarity. We will offer to question and evaluate collectively these multiple approaches which can be structured around a specific object and which will be declined on several major themes, which bring out pluridisciplinary questions:

  • the status of the facsimile and the question of historically informed performance practice: this theme addresses issues related to the modeling of musical instruments, their historicity, and in fact also draws on various sources, texts (treatises, methods, chronicles, etc.) and iconography, explores the relationship with repertoires and playing techniques, and finally brings together heritage and conservation issues.
  • instrument-making and playing: around this question linked to the technical gesture (both of handcraft and performance), inseparable from questions of materiality, we will address issues related to playing and to the perception of sound and music, materiality and its symbolic, economic and ecological properties, the contribution of new technologies to instrument making, the analysis and representation of sound, as well as the articulation between instrument-making, tuning and pitch adjustment in order to create or restore sound aesthetics. The latter appears as the result of artistic choices, technical constraints, empirical choices, in other words, a series of multiple parameters, both objective and aesthetic, which will be analysed through the prism of a fruitful multidisciplinary approach between musicological, acoustical and instrument-making perspectives.

Through its first summer school "Music, humanities, and science: instrument making", an innovative program supported by 4EU+ and the International Relations Department of Sorbonne University, the Collegium Musicæ aims to promote multidisciplinary studies on music, between sciences and humanities. 

Main Speakers

  • Murray Campbell, Professor of Acoustics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh
  • Claudia Fritz, CNRS research fellow in musical acoustics, in the LAM team of Institut Jean le Rond ∂'Alembert, Sorbonne Université
  • François Gautier, Professor at the Acoustics Laboratory of the University of Maine and at the National Engineering School in Le Mans
  • Florence Gétreau, Emeritus senior researcher at the CNRS in organology, history of instrument collections, social history of music and musical iconography
  • Inga Mai Groote, Professor of musicology, university of Zurich
  • Miguel Henry, Professor of lute and related instruments, Pôle Supérieur Paris Boulogne-Billancourt
  • Dimitris Kountouras, assistant professor in the Music department of the Ionian University (Greece), in theory and practice of the flute, and music director of the early music ensemble Ex Silentio
  • Iwona Lindstedt, Director at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw, specialist in the theory and history of 20th and 21st century music
  • Thierry Maniguet, Curator at the Music Museum - Philharmonie de Paris
  • Instrument makers :
     – Philippe Bolton
    , flute maker
     – Jean Marie Fouilleul, guitar maker


Back in pictures


The participants and speakers of the international summer school "Music, humanities and sciences: instrument making" arrived at Itemm in Le Mans.

After the welcome address by Carole le Rendu, director of Itemm, and Benoît Fabre, director of Collegium Musicæ, the participants discovered, through lectures by Florence Gétreau, Murray Campbell, François Gautier, Miguel Henry, Philippe Bolton, Dimitris Kountouras and Inga Mai Groote, the four disciplinary fields - musicology, acoustics, musical practice, instrument making - which made up this week of research, transmission and experimentation, particularly in relation to wind and plucked string instruments. 
This first day also allowed them to introduce themselves and express their expectations for the summer school.


The second day was marked by the beginning of the workshops on wind instruments - with Philippe Bolton - and string instruments - with Jean-Marie Fouilleul - which highlighted the morning's lectures on acoustics and musical interpretation, based on the interaction between researcher, instrument maker and performer.

At the end of the day, the wind instruments made during the day resounded in the hotel!


This third day was once again placed under the sign of workshops.
The participants who had worked the previous day with Jean-Marie Fouilleul on the guitars moved on to the wind workshop with Philippe Bolton, and vice versa. 


After another day of conferences, ending with a visit of the National Engineering School of Le Mans, the participants and speakers were joined by the Mayor Stéphane Le Foll, representatives of the Bettencourt Foundation, some students and teachers of Itemm for a cocktail. The evening was punctuated by musical interludes improvised by some participants. 


On this last day, the participants had the opportunity to measure the acoustics of the instruments made two days earlier. They then attended a round table discussion with Claudia Fritz, acoustics researcher, Théodora Psychoyou, musicology researcher, Patricio de la Cuadra, teacher-researcher in electrical engineering and music, and the musicians Dimitris Kountouras (flute) and Miguel Henry (lute). The reflections focused on the subjective and objective evaluation of the qualities of the instruments.

One of the highlights of the summer school was a visit to the Cathedral of Saint-Julien, the emblem of Le Mans, overlooking the old town. 


The complete programme of the summer school is available below: 


Scientific committee: 

  • Benoît Fabre (chair), Professor at Sorbonne University, director of the Collegium Musicæ 
  • Florence Gétreau, Emeritus senior researcher at the CNRS in organology, history of instrument collections, social history of music and musical iconography
  • Jean-Loïc Le Carrou (co-chair), associate professor at Sorbonne Université,  member of LAM (Lutheries - Acoustics - Music) /Institut Jean Le Rond ∂'Alembert, Société Française d'Acoustique
  • Théodora Psychoyou (co-chair), associate professor at Sorbonne Université and member of the IReMus (Institute of Research in Musicology)
  • Thierry Maniguet, Scientific curator of the Musée de la Musique, Professor of organology at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris
  • Romain Viala, Head of the Research and Innovation Department of the Institut Technologique Européen des Métiers de la Musique Le Mans, invited researcher at Laboratoire d'acoustique de l'Université du Mans

Organizing committee: 

  • Benoît Fabre, Professor of acoustics at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University, director of the Collegium Musicæ
  • Jean-Loïc Le Carrou, lecturer, LAM/Institut Jean Le Rond ∂'Alembert, Société Française d'Acoustique
  • Théodora Psychoyou, lecturer at the UFR of music and musicology of Sorbonne University and member of the IReMus (Institute of Research in Musicology)
  • Romain Viala, Head of the Research and Innovation Department of the Institut Technologique Européen des Métiers de la Musique Le Mans,  invited researcher at Laboratoire d'acoustique de l'Université du Mans
  • Agnès Puissilieux, general secretary of Collegium Musicæ 
  • Lou Squelbut, project manager at Collegium Musicæ

Event under the aegis of the Société Française d'Acoustique (French Acoustical Society). 

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