Subject: Re: robot com-posers
From: Eliot Handelman (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 23:33:13 EST
>> What I what is something that actually knows
>> about music, not a magic number
>> filter that explains nothing.
>> -- eliot
> I have an idea for you. Theres alot of research being done involving
> engineers trying to get computers to speak.
To understand natural language, I think you mean.
> There are many languages as there are many types of music. They are
> both aural or written forms of expression. They both, to a great
> degree express a cultural background. They both involve the
> understanding of sound by recognising patterns, and combinations of
Ok, look. I ran out of time, and didn't get a chance to bring together
various threads I'd set up, in particular, I didn't have any time to
talk about rhythm, its role in the old/new dynamic, or in ways
patterns can be construed as rhythms, or what they're patterns of, and
so on. I mentioned some fairly complex patterns of transformation that
occur in Happy Birthday (eg the "parallel fork") and how their
transformations can be reinterpreted as an affective narrative (recall
that I suggested a kind story-telling in all this). but I didn't have
time to discuss the problems involving how to type patterns,
generalizing them, etc. I didn't have time to discuss actual programs
that I've written that explore different approaches to getting all of
this together. I didn't have time to show in what way listening is
always active, in fact, compositional -- though I did mention that the
my work on computational listening requires now a composing module
which I'm now working on. I mentioned in previous posts -- since I
wanted to congratulate myself publicly on having finally turned the
problem into something I can almost understand -- that this would be
my fifth shot at the problem. It's not because I'm that stupid -- it's
just a really, really hard problem which no one in the world seems to
have any idea about at all. I regret that I didn't have time to
explain any of this because whether I get it or not I believe this
area is cutting edge and really exciting, and not second to any other
problem that I can wrap my head around or read about in any of the
areas that I'm interested in. I feel a real sense of regret that I'm
not in a position to teach or share what I think I've learned about
music over the years. But please don't try to extrapolate too much
from what I said. For better or worse I;ve been thinking about this
stuff for a long time, and I find it very difficult to condense what I
have to say into a two hour lecture or 500-word abstract.
I left the class with the following idea, which I didn't have the time
to demonstrate: that our musical hearing is massively parallel. This
means, that "patterns" in music aren't necessarily about the kinds of
things that we know how to do pattern recognition with. It's a whole
new area and I'm afraid there's very little work that I've found
useful in this respect.
> MY idea is to focus on a certain type of music, as one would focus
> on one language at a time when teaching a computer how to
> speak. Build a big database of rock and roll and teach the computer
> to recognise key percievable elements of that type of music.
Which are? I spent an hour talking about Happy Birthday. When we ran
out of time the whiiteboard looked like a battlefield and I'd only
just set up the basic elements of motion.
> saying its going to be easy. you would have to disect the songs to
> their elements. Teach it to segregate the drums from the guitar and
> so on,
That's a separate area which many people are working on but which is
always going to problematic until the compyter can follow the music
the way you or I do. What I'm trying to do is reated to "following."
So you can't say "first do this." YOu need a model of what's making
sense or adding up in the music.
> Second, teach it to recognize modes progressions. rhythmic patterns,
> timbres... but on the other hand it would have to recognise the big
> picure: tempos, style, overall form,,,the list should be very long.
It's not a list that you're looking for at all. You need to know how
the rhythm affects the pitches. You need in general to know how things
cohere. You will remember that I spoke constantly about details
vs. whole picture and the problem of creating representations in which
small coheres into big.
> Then the computer could design a piece using a huge matrix, each value
> one of a million other values in its category but a problem emerges
I'm afraid this is a fantasy that won;t work -- I don't believe that
you'll ever get anything but a meaningless jumble which may
accidentally have a moment of coherence. Anyway this doesn't come
towards an explanation of how music works. It's a system for
generating signals that someone has to interpret as music. My interest
is to get a program to do that interpretation. It's also not just to
produce music, but to do that in a certain way.
> you like it?
No. But if you do your thing it's more likely to fit in with the
dominant currents of computational music thinking than my stuff
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:06 EST