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Durham e-Theses
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Algorithmic Compositional Methods and their Role in Genesis: A Multi-Functional Real-Time Computer Music System

LYWOOD-MULCOCK, JULIAN,WILLIAM (2015) Algorithmic Compositional Methods and their Role in Genesis: A Multi-Functional Real-Time Computer Music System. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD Thesis) - Accepted Version


Algorithmic procedures have been applied in computer music systems to generate compositional products using conventional musical formalism, extensions of such musical formalism and extra-musical disciplines such as mathematical models. This research investigates the applicability of such algorithmic methodologies for real-time musical composition, culminating in Genesis, a multi-functional real-time computer music system written for Mac OS X in the SuperCollider object-oriented programming language, and contained in the accompanying DVD. Through an extensive graphical user interface, Genesis offers musicians the opportunity to explore the application of the sonic features of real-time sound-objects to designated generative processes via different models of interaction such as unsupervised musical composition by Genesis and networked control of external Genesis instances. As a result of the applied interactive, generative and analytical methods, Genesis forms a unique compositional process, with a compositional product that reflects the character of its interactions between the sonic features of real-time sound-objects and its selected algorithmic procedures.

Within this thesis, the technologies involved in algorithmic methodologies used for compositional processes, and the concepts that define their constructs are described, with consequent detailing of their selection and application in Genesis, with audio examples of algorithmic compositional methods demonstrated on the accompanying DVD. To demonstrate the real-time compositional abilities of Genesis, free explorations with instrumentalists, along with studio recordings of the compositional processes available in Genesis are presented in audiovisual examples contained in the accompanying DVD. The evaluation of the Genesis system’s capability to form a real-time compositional process, thereby maintaining real-time interaction between the sonic features of real-time sound objects and its selected algorithmic compositional methods, focuses on existing evaluation techniques founded in HCI and the qualitative issues such evaluation methods present. In terms of the compositional products generated by Genesis, the challenges in quantifying and qualifying its compositional outputs are identified, demonstrating the intricacies of assessing generative methods of compositional processes, and their impact on a resulting compositional product. The thesis concludes by considering further advances and applications of Genesis, and inviting further dissemination of the Genesis system and promotion of research into evaluative methods of generative techniques, with the hope that this may provide additional insight into the relative success of products generated by real-time algorithmic compositional processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:algorithmic composition, machine listening, machine learning, algorithmic creativity,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Apr 2015 14:52

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