Flexatone HFP
Icon
  • System Detail

System: Variations

Authors

Description

The bottom line: I want to write more music than what I have time to write. To this end, I've represented my personal composition methodology in a set of algorithms which my computer uses to write music for me. Since I do not have time to listen to everything the system creates (not all of it is good), I also developed a set of filters that "listen" to the music and grade it. The system is comprised of several parts: one which generates music but pays no attention to the harmonic content, one which filters out the harmonic content that I don't care for, and one which takes small snippets and arranges them into larger pieces. The components are called the COMPOSER, EAR, and ARRANGER modules, respectively. The composer is hand-coded to produce music in a manner close to the way I do, and therefore the structure of the music is similar to that which I compose. The ear is evolved using genetic algorithms to become a filter approximating the way I listen to music. This architecture has been in development since the fall of 1994, coded in Perl5, and is about 5000 lines of code.

References

“The computing machine is a marvelous invention and seems almost superhuman. But in reality it is as limited as the mind of the individual who feeds it material. Like the computer, the machines we use for making music can only give back what we put into them.”

(Full citation)

“The use of computers is the logical outcome of a historical development. It by no means heralds a new musical epoch; it simply offers a fast, reliable and versatile means of solving problems that already demanded solution. The person who writes the computer programme must bear the development of musical language up to the present in mind, and try to advance a stage further.”

(Full citation)

“Composers are now able, as never before, to satisfy the dictates of that inner ear of the imagination. They are also lucky so far in not being hampered by esthetic codification -- at least not yet! But I am afraid it will not be long before some musical mortician begins embalming electronic music in rules.”

(Full citation)

“The characteristics of every sound depend on the way in which the sound was produced. Each art-form exploits its special production methods in order to endow the phenomena with unmistakable characteristics. Artistic economy demands that the means be appropriate to the end, and that the exploitation of the means be an end in itself.”

(Full citation)

“... the individual and the society are deprived of the formidable power of free imagination that musical composition offers them. We are able to tear down this iron curtain, thanks to the technology of computers...”

(Full citation)

“Music is then no longer primarily conceived as a guide for premeditated emotions, but as the density of the possible relationships which first become actuality during production under the influence of chance, and which during performance are presented to the listener as sounds beyond any environmental associatiations, independent of bodily actions required to produce sounds...”

(Full citation)

“... and the hope of an extraordinary aesthetic success based on extraordinary technology is a cruel deceit.”

(Full citation)

“With the development of electronic and computer music, multidemnsionality of sound representation turned out to be both natural and useful. But music goes beyond multidimensionality -- it is even more complex.”

(Full citation)

“The danger is great of letting oneself be trapped by the tools and of becoming stuck in the sands of technology that has come like an intruder into the relatively calm waters of the thought in instrumental music.”

(Full citation)

“... but beware, technique can submerge the user: We must defend ourselves; it is good to use techniques, but we have to dominate them, to stay alert.”

(Full citation)

“... the use of numerical machines no longer stands in need of justification. It is not a mystery. If there is a mystery, it is in the mental structures of music and not in the computers, which are only tools, extensions of the hand and the slide rule.”

(Full citation)