The Inside Story of a Computer-Aided Symphony
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Eduardo Reck Miranda shares with us his ideas about using a computer to work with him in composing music. He writes: "I figured out that I could program a computer to be musically creative and by recombining ideas generate musical materials for my compositions ... " Well, who's the composer? you might ask.
It is Miranda, of course. This book is about bringing technology and intuitive musical creativity together. His major example is Mind Pieces, in his words "the first large-scale symphonic composition for which I made extensive use of computer-generated materials." And his fascinating discussion on technology and intuition with Simon Ible, conductor of the premiere performance, opens doors to new thoughts about music.
Miranda shows us how he used technology, giving us examples of cellular automata. One of the best-known examples is called Game of Life, created by John Conway, a known expert in recreational mathematics. Quoting Greg Wilson, "Conway was fascinated by the way in which a combination of a few simple rules could produce patterns that would expand, change shape or die out unpredictably. He wanted to find the simplest possible set of rules that would give such an interesting behavior.” It is, of course, in Miranda’s use of Game of Life that his musical intuition and creativity come through.
In his words, “Yes, computers can create music. But ultimately it depends upon how they are programed … My preference is to program them to generate raw musical ideas that I can work with. I am interested in using the computer to harness my musical creativity rather than replace it.”