Subject: RE: Virtual Concerto
From: Michael Rempel (Michael@VIDIR.COM)
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 16:47:03 EDT
I personally would not like to see this going in the way of fake AI --
ie, the ALICE chatterbot, by having a huge database and transition
probablities that it can haul stuff out of, without any conceptualization
at all what might actually be taking place. Of course, this is how things
WILL go because the idea is sufficiently pointless and stupid for
it to have mass academic appeal.
A good example of a system with little brain, but that accepts human inputs
only as influence on the composition would be
It is under "software" - "improsculpt", and the newest version is far at the
bottom of the page. It is a 'live' CSound engine.
Given this or something like it as a meta-language, a further creative
engine could be envisioned to operate it.
Without a database and transition set, one must rely on algorithms. There is
little to recommend algorithms over databases. Algorithms are harder to
create, and in the final analysis rely heavily on human interpretation to
decide what is 'good' or 'interesting' enough to survive as software. I
think that the desire of academia should be more focused on what frameworks
musical conceptualization should base itself on, rather than insisting on
algorithms per se. In the end you are generating a series of numbers to
represent sound. There is no difference between a good algorithm, and a good
table of stored values when it comes to what the ear appreciates as the
final product. If this were not so we would never burn a CD.
Conceptualization of what is actually taking place implies a basis for
judgment of the validity, value, interest, or (insert measure here) of the
musical event that has been randomly or algorithmically derived. This is
essentially a reactive database or algorithm set, rather than a pro-active
compositional one. Either way human judgment is imposed, albeit at arms
length with some programmer imposed degree of randomness.
Doing psycho-acoustic analysis, or modeling what the ear finds exciting or
other such things may extend the arms length to a degree, but the human
arm's length is still imposed.
If your objection is to simple combinations with little or no musical
theory, then by all means your objection could stand. Except for the cases
where music is interesting because the rules are broken or bent, and it
still 'works' somehow.
My fundamental assertion is that if it sounds good it is good.
Composition by any means whether by algorithm, database or human, good sound
can only be human judged.
Thanks for lending me your ear.
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