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System: MusicAlgorithms

Authors

Description

Algorithms and Interactive Tools for Exploring Music Composition, Analysis, and Interdisciplinary Learning. This Web site has interactive tools that provide a unique learning experience for users, regardless of their musical training. Students of music composition can explore algorithmic composition, while others can create musical representations of models for the purpose of aural interpretation and analysis. Here, the algorithmic process is used in a creative context so that users can convert sequences of numbers into sounds. The Web-based application found on this site has been designed for exploring algorithms in an interdisciplinary environment. The Web site contains interactive tools, which provide a unique learning experience for users, regardless of their musical training. Students of music composition can explore algorithmic composition, while others can create musical representations of models for the purpose of aural interpretation and analysis. Here, the algorithmic process is used in a creative context so that users can convert sequences of numbers into sounds. For example, the Web-based application at this site can provide aural representations of Pi, DNA sequences, or Dow Jones Industrial averages. This learning environment allows users a hands-on approach to creating music by means of conceptualization. This Web site was created at the direction of Dr. Jonathan Middleton with assistance from a superb team of programmers: Andrew Cobb, Michael Henry, Robert Lyon, and Ian Siemer. This project was funded by the generous support of the Northwest Academic Computing Consortium (NWACC).

“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.”

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

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“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.”

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“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...”

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“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.”

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“... 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.”

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“... 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...”

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“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.”

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“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.”

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“... 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.”

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“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.”

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