Musical Form and Algorithmic Composition

Collins, Nick (2009) Musical Form and Algorithmic Composition. Contemporary Music Review, 28 (1). pp. 103-114. ISSN 0749-4467

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The formalization of music has not always covered so readily the form of music, particularly from a psychological angle that takes the listener into account. Some novel forms have been organizational by-products of the top-down application of grammars or probability distributions. Many works have utilized bottom-up generation of material ready for human arrangement, or accepted existing stylistic templates from music theories. Whilst material might be generated to fill particular sections, the relations between sections and between hierarchical layers, and particularly the control of musical tension through transition, have received far less attention. Algorithmic music often seems stuck in a static moment form, able to abruptly jump between composed sections but unable to demonstrate much real dramatic direction. In part, this is because such ebb and flow engages with seemingly unformalizable attributes of the human musical experience, with musical expectancy, memory and emotion. Nevertheless, since automated music has not been shy about formalizing other aspects of musical structure, and human beings are intimately involved in authoring musical systems, it would seem a highly productive avenue to explore further the possibilities of algorithmic musical form from a psychological angle.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Nick Collins
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:03
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2012 16:13
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