How did you learn algorithm composition?
Nov 13, 2009 at 1:16pm
How did you learn algorithm composition?
As a student of composition, I always felt a lack of a method for algorithmic composition. For counterpoint and harmony, there are treatises and structured methods but for the 20th century idiom with all its facets, there is no structured pedagogical means for students to learn about algorithmic composition. I would like to write a method book to allow students to learn about algorithmic composition, giving them information and i the end of each chapter some exercises. It would be like the book of Straus about posttonal theory, only it will focus on algorithmic methods.
I have spoken to my professor about this but he told me I need to know how algorithmic composition is taught in other schools. For this I would like to get to know from you: How did you learn algorithmic composition? If yo are a teacher, how do you teach algorithmic composition to your students?
I am hoping to get many answers to enhance my research proposal as best as possible.
Thank you very much
Nov 13, 2009 at 2:07pm
the website in that forum link is great. a fantastic tool and learning curve, i go on every now and again, see what is new.
Nov 13, 2009 at 3:32pm
Nov 13, 2009 at 3:42pm
there is math, and there is improvisation. algorithmic
you can learn math by using maxmsp, and you can find out about
the majority of possible algorithms is completly useless for
use some basic philosophical ideas to start composing training
eventually click below.
Nov 13, 2009 at 4:48pm
How’d I learn? I Read Xenakis. Read Hiller. Read Koenig. Read the relevant chapters of Dodge/Jerse and Roads’ Tutorial. Read some of Cope. Read swathes of Barlow. Also read Boulez, Stockhausen, Messiaen, Perle, Stravinsky, Forte, Hindemith, Cowell, Cage, Lewin and lots of other texts that weren’t directly related to AC but with insights into compositional techniques. These have all helped make my approach to AC what it is. (Please do not hold it against these people;-)
At some point I started doing it as well as talking about it with other composers who were interested.
I don’t know that many schools teach AC as a curriculum. But there are a number of texts extant (see above) that discuss topics in AC to varying degrees of competence. There’s also some Temperley on my bookshelf waiting to be read, and I’ve got to get around to Gareth Loy’s books. You may also want to look at Robert Rowe’s and Todd Winkler’s books. Review Computer Music Journals of the last 25 years.
There is also some dead wood out there. I’d suggest you start with some of the above, then go hunting.
Nov 13, 2009 at 5:01pm
As someone who is both a programmer and composer, I feel
I think it is very important to keep in mind the environment
Get to know a language. Max supports Python, Java, C++, LISP,
Don’t reinvent the wheel. If someone has developed a tool
It is all about mapping. An important question to always
Ultimately I believe the most effective use of algorithmic
Also I would recommend the book “Notes from the Metalevel”
Nov 18, 2009 at 2:40pm
Algorithmic composition is a great way to learn about meta levels. In a way composing and using algorithms is a contradiction, if you only look at one level of perspective.
The only compositional skill you’d really need is maybe counterpoint.
Then you need some other skills, but those you will develop by doing. Getting into programming Max or Supercollider or csound or Lisp or Pascal (my own jump into it) is a good start obviously…
Algorithmic composing is composing rules instead of composing single events (old fashioned notes for example). But still you need to compose events on a higher level. For example changing of rules, and if you create a rule for changing rules you still need to find out how to begin and how to end. Without composing these meta events as events, you would end up creating sounds instead of music. Creating complex sounds is actually a very obvious result of this path and can be easily used in wonderful sound installations.
The picture I had when starting, was the sound of a burbling creek. It is always the same, and never the same. It is never boring, you can listen to it for ages. I only stop tweaking my algorithms if it has this quality, being able to listen to it with fun for hours…
Algorithmic thinking on the other hand is a good method to focus on the musical intention of a piece.
With algorithmic composition you can turn any musical parameter into a sound by simply applying the same rule and not altering it through out the piece… This will make events that don’t follow rules stand out…
And please don’t do it because a composer has to have an algorithmic piece, a string quartet and a symphony in his repertoire to be accepted as a serious composer. This is only something for boring careerists who believe the label on their card and a degree is the only thing it needs to become a composer…
Learning algorithmic composition is not possible by reading a book, as you don’t learn composition by reading books about counterpoint and harmony. You need to get your hands dirty and need colleagues to discuss. A book can help to get started though, but explain right in the beginning that none of the examples in the exercises is allowed to be used in their own compositions…;-)
Nov 18, 2009 at 3:39pm
One thing I might add. Algorithmic composition need not be rule
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