Computer music and human brains, slime molds and the genes

PreparingPiano 1
Eduardo Reck Miranda is a composer who makes use of the computer when composing. That is, he uses algorithmic tools in the composition process. So he resorts to Conway’s Game of Life cellular automata model to generate music.

Does this mean that such kind of music is losing its artistic feature since it is not born in a creative act but follows dull deterministic rules? And can that kind of music only be “understood” by those who understand the deterministic rules? No, says Miranda: “I hope it can communicate beautiful thoughts to everyone :-)”

A sample of his music will be made available to us during the concert evening on the 4th of June. The piece “Grain Streams”, for piano and electronics, will be performed and the computer will be operated by Miranda himself. Listen to the first movement here.

Miranda composed not only piano music but also choral and orchestral work that is delightful. He let human brain data play a role in the performances and we can wonder whether even slime molds are delighted when he tries to communicate with them through piano music and transforms their responses into piano music too.

The concert is part of the Summit Track “Music, information and symmetry” organised by the Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory in co-operation with the International Symmetry Association (ISA).


When Sergey Petoukhov from the ISA explains what the track is about he makes clear the track does not stop at amoeba:

“One interesting topic is the relation between numeric ratios of musical harmony and parametric ensembles of elements of molecular-genetic systems. This scientific theme is intensively studied in Moscow State Conservatory to understand the genetic basis of feeling of musical harmony; its results lead to «genetic» musical scales and corresponding genetic music for musical creativity and for musical therapy.”

The track brings together “musicians, musicologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, biologists and other specialists”. They will not only “develop theoretical and practical tasks in the field of musical culture using achievements of information sciences and the theory of symmetry” but also discuss the role of “contemporary music as reflection to the dangers and hopes of our times, and how we can influence social progress by means of music”.

– Is contemporary music of the 21st century in need of leaving behind the 20th century with its overarching tendency towards the dissolution of what was deemed classical music? Isn’t that tendency a rather shallow playing around devoid of more fundamental ambitions? And is the re-collection of self-organisation in genes, organisms and neurons the way to get back to the core? Let’s listen.

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  1. […] As already mentioned, we will have a concert on 4 June, 2015, 20:00, in the Festsaal of TU Wien (see venue). […]