The Theory and Analysis of Computer-Generated Music: A Case-Study of Colossus

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While music theory and analysis have developed hand-in-hand with the historical evolution of human-generated music ('HGM'), there has been little consideration to date of how they might relate to computer-generated music ('CGM'). While CGM has been the subject of much debate as to how it might be optimised and evaluated, these have focused largely on aesthetic matters. Although music theory and analysis (for all their pretences to scientific rigour) encompass an implicit aesthetic dimension, their primary focus is on understanding systems of musical organisation at the extra- and intra-opus levels, respectively. Given this, they are well placed to offer insights into CGM at the level of pattern-to-pattern continuity and structural-hierarchic coherence. This paper considers a number of issues relevant to the application of music theory and analysis to CGM and, by means of a case-study of the composition Colossus (2010), by the Iamus computer, assesses how theory and analysis might contribute to the generation and evaluation of CGM, and how CGM might, conversely, motivate theory and analysis to expand its conceptual vocabulary to encompass non-human musics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Third Conference on Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity, CSMC2018
Place of PublicationDublin, Eire
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Event3rd Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity Conference - University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 20 Aug 201822 Aug 2018
Conference number: 3 (Link to Conference Website)


Conference3rd Computer Simulation of Musical Creativity Conference
Abbreviated titleCSMC2018
Internet address


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