CMJ 28:4

Subject: CMJ 28:4
From: Doug Keislar (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 15:31:14 EST

Computer Music Journal 28(4), which appeared in print recently,
is also accessible on the Web. The table of contents and a
description are given below. The printed issue includes a DVD,
which contains audio and video compositions curated by Takayuki
Rai as well as examples to accompany recent articles.

The electronic version of the issue is available to both
CMJ subscribers and non-subscribers by visiting and clicking on the hyperlinks in the
issue's table of contents. (All the reviews can be retrieved by
clicking on the link for the first review.) Access is free of
charge to CMJ subscribers. (For details, see "Electronic Access"
on the Web site.) The DVD program notes and the article by Steven
Jan may be freely downloaded by anyone.

Our thanks to all who contributed to this issue!

--Douglas Keislar, Editor

Computer Music Journal, Vol. 28, Issue 4 - Winter 2004

About This Issue

An Interview with Edmund Campion
   Keeril Makan
Audio Analysis and Synthesis

Bézier Spline Modeling of Pitch-Continuous Melodic Expression
and Ornamentation
   Bret Battey
Phase-Continuous Frequency Change in the Direct-Form,
Second-Order Recursive Oscillator
   Peter R. Symons
Music Classification

Algorithmic Clustering of Music Based on String Compression
   Rudi Cilibrasi, Paul Vitányi and Ronald de Wolf
Music Analysis

Meme Hunting with the Humdrum Toolkit: Principles, Problems,
and Prospects
   Steven Jan

Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia: Forty Years
on the Edge
   Larry Austin
Linux Audio Conference 2004
   Dave Phillips
The Second International Symposium on Computer Music Modeling
and Retrieval (CMMR 2004)
   Marcus Pearce and David Meredith

Peter Manning: Electronic and Computer Music, Revised and
Expanded Edition
   James Harley

Eduardo Reck Miranda: Mother Tongue
   Perry Cook
Various: Electroshock Presents Electroacoustic Music, Volume VII
   Patricia Dirks
Various: Harangue II
   Patricia Dirks
Various: Presence III; Various: DISContact! III
   James Harley
Products of Interest
DVD Program Notes
Instructions to Contributors


About This Issue

The composer Edmund Campion, who was associated for several years with
the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in
Paris, now serves as codirector of the Center for New Music and Audio
Technologies (CNMAT) at the University of California, Berkeley. Many of
his electroacoustic works exhibit an interest in combining formal
composition with guided improvisation. In an interview in this issue,
Mr. Campion discusses, among other topics, how he uses real-time audio
signal analysis to achieve interactivity between the computer and the
performer. In works like Corail, for example, a Max/MSP patch "listens"
to the performer's rhythm, pitch, articulation, and timbre, and responds
by projecting related sounds into the surrounding space, influencing the
performer's subsequent musical choices.

Computer music having originated in the West, its tools not surprisingly
tend to be oriented, sometimes unconsciously, toward models of Western
music, and moreover toward those aspects most easily captured by
traditional music notation and nomenclature. However, a great deal is to
be learned by applying technological research to nonwestern art forms.
Bret Battey's article in this issue introduces a technique for analyzing
the highly expressive pitch curves in Indian classical music, along with
corresponding trajectories of amplitude and spectral centroid. His
method involves segmentation into phrases, identification of critical
inflection points, and fitting of Bézier splines to the data between
those points. The author details the mathematics behind his approach and
also presents sound examples demonstrating his software's output. He
advocates wider incorporation of Bézier splines in computer music
applications, following the lead of computer graphics.

In the next article, Pete Symons gives a mathematical overview of a
common component in digital sound synthesis: the second-order
direct-form recursive oscillator. This algorithm offers computational
simplicity and low distortion. However, the author shows how the
oscillator encounters problems and can produce audible clicks when
constant-amplitude, phase-continuous changes of frequency are expected.
To mitigate these problems, he has arrived at a procedure that computes
new initial conditions (defined as functions of amplitude, frequency,
and phase) at each frequency transition.

A number of researchers have tackled the problem of automated
classification of music. The article herein by Rudi Cilibrasi, Paul
Vitányi, and Ronald de Wolf presents their technique, which takes MIDI
files as input but has no built-in knowledge of music. The method is
based on a general-purpose similarity metric called the normalized
compression distance, which has been applied in fields as diverse as
astronomy, genomics, and linguistics. The authors summarize experiments
showing that their approach can distinguish between various musical
genres and can even cluster pieces by composer.

Our final article, by Steven Jan, proposes a memetics of music and a
methodology for initial forays into this territory. Richard Dawkins, who
coined the term "meme," described it as a unit of cultural transmission,
and mentioned melodies as one example. By analogy with genes, memes are
said to propagate themselves from brain to brain, with the most
successful transformations surviving. Mr. Jan's article suggests that
music theorist Eugene Narmour's implication-realization model, based on
Gestalt principles, provides a good foundation for musical memetics. The
author then relates how he put the Humdrum Toolkit (described in our
Summer 2002 issue) into service to detect possible memes in the music of
Haydn and Mozart.

The proliferation of audio and music tools on the Linux platform was
outlined in an article by Dave Phillips in the Winter 2003 issue of
Computer Music Journal. In the present issue's Reviews section, Mr.
Phillips relates recent developments in evidence at the Second
International Linux Audio Conference, held again at the Zentrum für
Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Also reviewed
in this issue are two other events, a new edition of a textbook on
electronic music, and numerous CDs.

As in 2003, the annual Computer Music Journal disc accompanying the
Winter issue is a DVD rather than a CD. We thank Takayuki Rai for
serving as curator for the audio and multimedia compositions by Japanese
composers on this year's disc. The annual disc also always includes
sound examples to accompany recent articles. As an adjunct to Paul
Doornbusch's examples for his article from Spring 2004, we are pleased
to present a 1951 track of historical significance: possibly the
earliest extant recording of a computer playing music. See the DVD
program notes in this issue for more information.

Front cover. An image-processed photo of Vikas Kashalkar singing while
playing a drone on the tamboura. A brief excerpt from Mr. Kashalkar's
performance is heard on the accompanying DVD in conjunction with the
article by Bret Battey. The border of this image was constructed using
Bézier curves, in an analogy with the sound-modeling technique described
in Mr. Battey's article.

Back cover. A high-end audio production environment described in this
issue's Products of Interest section.

Douglas Keislar
Editor, Computer Music Journal (MIT Press)
tel: +1 (510)486-0141 x1
Computer Music Journal, 2550 9th Street #207 B, Berkeley, CA 94710,

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