"...we're saddled with a whole set of metaphors that belong over
here. Those are our metaphors about how the world works, how things
organize themselves, how things are controlled, what possibilities there
are. Generative art in general is a way of not throwing those out, we
don't get rid of old metaphors, we expand them to include more. These
things still have value, but we want to include these things as well."
Advanced software used to sequence music often contain powerful ways
of linking events, conditionals, practically making them programming environments.
In fact, there are even places in this software, FL Studios, to define
equations, limits, and variables to handle events. Each knob in this software
can be linked to something else, and everything can be linked to a mixer
that can then link to other things, causing feedback loops to occur.
This is software used by many sound/audio/music designers as a visual
way to program music. The music can be freed from sequencing, and thus
automated. Software like this, as well as the previous example, can draw
samples as well as produce completely generated sounds by combining frequencies
Bryan Eno + Tom Betts + Joe Gilmore + various artists on R4ND. It is
a real-time audio stream broadcast of generative sounds. Bryan Eno also
worked on Music for Airports.
Music for Airports, at least one of the pieces on there, is structurally
very, very simple. There are sung notes, sung by three women and my
self. One of the notes repeats every 23 1/2 seconds. It is in fact a
long loop running around a series of tubular aluminum chairs in Conny
Plank's studio. The next lowest loop repeats every 25 7/8 seconds or
something like that. The third one every 29 15/16 seconds or something.
What I mean is they all repeat in cycles that are called incommensurable
-- they are not likely to come back into sync again.
So this is the piece moving along in time. Your experince of the piece
ofcourse is a moment in time, there. So as the piece progresses, what
you hear are the various clusterings and configurations of these six
basic elements. The basic elements in that particular piece never change.
They stay the same. But the piece does appear to have quite a lot of
variety. In fact it's about eight minutes long on that record, but I
did have a thirty minute version which I would bore friends who would
listen to it.
The thing about pieces like this ofcourse is that they are actually
of almost infinite length if the numbers involved are complex enough.
They simply don't ever re-configure in the same way again. This is music
for free in a sense. The considerations that are important, then,
become questions of how the system works and most important of all what
you feed into the system.
Your experience of the piece, of course, is a moment in time, there.
So as the piece progresses, what you hear are the various clusterings
and configurations of these six basic elements. The basic elements in
that particular piece never change. They stay the same. But the piece
does appear to have quite a lot of variety.
Published in Motion
Magazine (July 7, 1996)
"Environmental Music" - Muzak
The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature
in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has
since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations
that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind
of material that Muzak Inc. produces - familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated
in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led
most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the
concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention. (eno
Originally invented in 1922 as an idea to increase worker productivity.
It was popular in the 30s, but then was faced with a backlash in the 50s
as it was accused of "brainwashing" human beings.
While the term Muzak is the trademarked name of the transmission system,
it soon became associated with the music being played. Research had
determined the appropriate music to play over the system, as it had
been observed that certain music would increase worker productivity
and influence the shopping habits of shoppers. This research influenced
the musical selections, much of which was instrumental arrangements
of popular songs. Arrangements for violins, brass, piano, and orchestra
were dominant. (wiki)
Over time, the Muzak style has become more sophisticated, with selections
depending on where the music was being played and the purpose the music
is trying to achieve. What was once simply background music is now being
called audio architecture.
Simulated networks of neurons fire signals to and from each other. Traditionally
used to simulate techniques of computer visual interpretation and artificial
intelligence (a lot of literature on "training" a neural network).
Each node in a network is randomly weighted to a bias, and reinforcement
allows the network to be trained to do a certain task (self-organize into
a particular pattern of connections).
Drawing from my previous research on neural networks, simplifying and
expanding on these ideas:
- Back propogation / signal loops
- Simplifying the neural simulation model
- Emphasis on weighting and learning (Holland, 68)
How does learning apply to something that has user input? How does it
apply to music? This will hopefully explore these ideas.
References I currently have:
John Holland "Emergence fom Chaos to Order", ch 4, 5, and ch
7 on CAs.
A.L. Samuel's Checkers Player on neural nets weighting, goals, strategies,