Grille Fonctionnelle

Stéphane Roy
Date of publication: 

The Grille Fonctionnelle, or the Function Matrix, is a selection of categories and symbols that can be used to describe the purpose of a single unit within an electroacoustic composition and its relation to other units. It was created by Stéphane Roy and appeared within his book L'analyse des musiques életroacoustiques : Modèles et propositions, published in 2003. Roy states that the functions are used to "conceptualise role of musical units within a work" defined from the analysis of the neutral level (Roy 2003: 340).

Grille Fonctionnelle framework

The Grille Fonctionnelle is split into five main categories of functions: orientation, stratification, processes, rhetoric of relation and rhetoric of rupture. This categories will be described below.


The functions within the orientation category aim to describe the "discursive" musical relation between segmented units within a piece (Roy 2003): 344). Within the category of orientation there are: introduction, trigger, interruption, conclusion, suspension, transition, originator and extension.


The functions within the stratification category are used to define the relations of "simultaneity" between units within a piece (Roy 2003: 345). A hierarchical view as aposed to a vertical view. Within the category of stratification there are: figure, emphasis, foreground, accompaniment, tonic polar axis, complex polar axis, movement and background.


The functions within the processes category are used to describe units with a "movement towards an end" which have "teleological" characteristics (Roy 2003: 347). Within the category of processes there are: accumulation, accelerando, intensification, dispersion, rallentando, attenuation, and spatial progression.


The functions within the rhetoric category are used to "express relationships between units" (relation), if they reference or oppose one another, or if they cause a "disturbance in the musical flux" (rupture) of a work (Roy 2003: 348). For this reason the rhetoric category is split into two sub-categories of relation and rupture.

Rhetoric of relation

Within the category of rhetoric of relation there are: question, answer, announcement, reminder, theme, variation, anticipation, affirmation, reiteration, imitation, synchronous antagonismand successive antagonism.

Rhetoric of rupture

Within the category of rhetoric of relation there are: deflection, ellipsis, indice, articulation, retention, rupture and spatial location.

How can it be used?

Within the book Roy demonstrates how these functions can be applied to a transcription. He uses Francis Dhomont's piece Points de fuite within his explanation.


ROY, S. (2003) L'analyse des musiques életroacoustiques : Modèles et propositions Paris, L'Harmattan.