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CHANT source code

Hi to all,

I’m a PhD candidate in electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. My dissertation offers tactics for connecting technical decisions to musical consequences through the close study of hardware, circuits / technical schematics, computer code, etc. A lot of my work takes different versions of the same technical system (what media archaeologist Siegfried Zielinski calls “variantology”) and compares them to understand what was important to the designers of the system.

I was talking with musicologist Will Mason about the concept of resonant filters and the question of CHANT’s source code / interface designs came up. The IRCAM twitter account mentioned the code is lost as far as they know (https://twitter.com/Ircam/status/1141355608538566657) - but I was wondering if anyone here might have a lead?

No worries if not! Also, this is my first post, so let me know if there is a better way to go about this. I tried emailing Xavier Rodet but it seems his email no longer works…

Merci D’avance! je peux traduire ma question en francais si ca aide…

Hello — I guess I can try to give you some precisions here.

Chant is not the most actively maintained Ircam software, but the code is not completely lost either ! It is still somewhere on an internal Ircam server.

The most recent implementation dates back to a few decades already : it consists of a command-line tool, written in C, which was part of the DiphoneStudio environment — which as you probably know, is not available anymore. But the code is still there. As compared to the original Chant system, this implementation has dropped a number of features on the road, for instance the possibility to plug “rules” for the control of mutual dependencies and temporal evolution of the synthesis parameters.
The same command-line tool was then embedded in an OpenMusic library, OM-Chant. OM-Chant basically creates files in the SDIF format, which are interpreted by the Chant program to generate sounds. The library allows to finely tune and control the parameters and provides more expressivity in the temporal control of synthesis processes, reproducing some of the original Chant control features, e.g. for vibrato, jitter and other kind of modulations of the synthesis parameters. You can find a complete documentation of OM-Chant, including some general info about how the synthesizer works, here: http://support.ircam.fr/docs/om-libraries/om-chant/

Currently the Chant executable embedded in OM-Chant requires an Ircam Forum “premium” subscription to run. And the code is not publicly available. All this is likely to change in the (not too distant) future…

ps. I have created a (non-permanent) download link to the original Chant Manual (1985) here : https://nubo.ircam.fr/index.php/s/kNkp3F9ttpMcaNt

Wow! Thank you so much! Going to dig into the details and see if I have any follow up questions but I did want to start by saying I really appreciate you providing this summary and uploading that document!

With my best,


Hello Bresson, can you share the the original manual again? The download link has expired.

Dear Zhengchao Ding

Here you go:


1 Like

Dear Karim

Thank you so much. This is incredibly helpful.

Have a nice weekend

All the best,