Nicolas DONIN, Problems of the analysis of performance. A trial of computerized comparison of recordings of the first Prelude of Bach's Well tempered keyboard

Tabulation, annotation, analytic rewriting of the score are essential graphic and textual operations of any analysis of performance. They allow the analyst to visualize some of the phenomena that form the object of the analysis and make them readable. So doing, they pertain both to the product of a singular listening experience -- that of the author with his tools of analysis -- and to the matrix of a reproduction of the experience -- the understanding of the analytical text by the reader.
   These characteristics of the processus of analysis are questioned here starting from computerized comparisons of performances, realized in the Ircam in the frame of the conception of a software allowing representation and manupulation of the measurements of note durations in multiple performances of the first Prelude of WTC I. Such a device allows varying the modalities of representation of a set of informations resulting from the measurements, directing the auditive attention, with the help of these representations, towards phenomena that would otherwise remain unheard, and keeping track of the path that led to the production of a fact of analysis. If such properties are privileged characteristics of electronic data processing and of computerized assistance to the analysis of performance, it seems possible and desirable to put them in evidence in other analytical processes as well.