Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 16:26:01 EDT

I think the question of machine composition can be parsed quite simply on
the basis of responsibility. Most of the responsibility turns out to belong
to the user or the programmer. The software speeds up certain kinds of rote
thinking to an amazing degree, which turns out to be very useful. Once you
introduce genetic programming the speedup may turn out to apply to more
than rote thinking. But it would take generations of this kind of thing,
and a great deal more computer power than we currently even know how to
make, before the question whether the machine was autonomous, i.e.
responsible the way a person is -- which would be required for there to be
a real machine composition -- could even begin to arise.

Original Message:
From: Eliot Handelman
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 16:24:27 -0700
Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap to zap to frap wrote:

>For example, David Cope's experiments in musical intelligence have now
>composed music in the styles of various composers (such as Chopin) that I,
>at least, could not tell from the original for as long as 6 or 8 bars. But
>this is indubitably computer music.

To the extent that it was all composed by machine. But to what extent
that's true is
a matter I'm reflecting on in a review coming up for CMJ. Incidentally I
don't find these
pieces successful as style studies -- the chopin stuff, eg, doesn't
sound at all chopinesque to me in
its writing, rhythm, harmony, etc. And too many things happen of a kind
that can't be found in
Chopin, so the compositions could not be strictly based on "underlying
models." I discussed this with
Cope himself some summers ago and he admitted to auxilliary rules. At
any rate the
metaphysics involved in trying to define "machine composition" would
seem to require radical expansion
if they are to accomodate ad-hoc rule-ism and reject a uselessly general

-- eliot


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