Four analyses of Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonata K.296 demonstrate the possibilities and problems with analyzing this unusual and fascinating technique of composition—devising sequences of keyboard events while at the instrument, a forerunner of present-day procedures.
This approach diminishes the value of all conventional approaches to Scarlatti’s keyboard works, both of his time and ours, putting them in a new light.
This according to “F.244: 4 Annäherungen an eine Sonate” by Peter Böttinger, an essay included in Musik-Konzepte 48-49: Morton Feldman (Musik-Konzepte 47  pp. 57–121).
Today is Scarlatti’s 330th birthday! Below, the sonata in question.
Luciano Berio’s sketches and drafts show how he worked with a clear and well-defined core of poetic values and constructive procedures while exploring a wide range of musical characteristics.
His concepts and techniques included redundancy, rereading, alliteration, saturation of the chromatic aggregate, rhythmic cells and their transformation, permutation of tone rows, and harmonic construction from pools of intervals. Many of his compositional devices originated in his serial practice of the 1950s or were designed in direct response to serial problems.
This according to “Berio at work: Compositional procedures in Circles, O King, Concerto for two pianos, Glossa, and Notturno” by Christoph Neidhöfer, an essay included in Luciano Berio: Nuove prospettive/New perspectives (Firenze: Accademia Musicale Chigiana, 2012, pp. 195–233).
Today would have been Berio’s 90th birthday! Below, the Concerto per due pianoforti e orchestra, one of the works discussed in the article.
SMUG is a system for generating lyrics and melodies from real-world data, in particular from academic papers.
The developers of SMUG wanted to create a playful experience and establish a novel way of generating textual and musical content that could be applied to other domains, in particular to games.
This according to “SMUG: Scientific Music Generator” by Marco Scirea, Gabriella A. B. Barros, Noor Shaker, and Julian Togelius, a paper included in Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Computational Creativity (Provo: Brigham Young University, 2015, pp. 204–211).
Die Lebensfreude is a pioneering piece of music composed with the aid of an amoeba-like plasmodial slime mold called physarum polycephalum.
The composition is for an ensemble of five instruments (flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano) and six channels of electronically synthesized sounds. The instrumental parts and the synthesized sounds are musifications and sonifications, respectively, of a multi-agent based simulation of physarum foraging for food.
Physarum polycephalum inhabits cool, moist, shaded areas over decaying plant matter, and it eats nutrients such as oat flakes, bacteria, and dead organic matter. It is a biological computing substrate, and has been enjoying much popularity within the unconventional computing research community for its astonishing computational properties.
MIDI-Connect4 is a program that composes music from the unfolding of a board game, Hasbro’s Connect 4™.
The system uses evolutionary computation to evolve from scratch a neural network that plays the Connect 4 game. Music is produced when a user plays the game against the system. The system generates music by associating the moves of each player with musical forms (see above).
The program was inspired by a musical event called Reunion, which was conceived by John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, and Teeny Duchamp in 1968, in which sounds were spatially distributed around a concert audience as a chess game unfolded.
The book explores the web of pitch relations that generates the musical language of non-serialized 12-tone music, and supplies the analytical materials and methods necessary for analyses of a vast proportion of the 20th-century musical repertoire.
The first Russian-language electronic journal for contemporary art music, Dialettica del suono, was launched in 2011 as a joint project of the independent creative association Диалектика Звука (Dialectic of Sound) and the Молодежное Отделение Союза Композиторов (МолОт/The Youth Department of the Union of Composers).
The journal, edited by Дионис Афоничев, is published twice a year and is available online in PDF format. Dialettica del suono provides a publication platform mainly for young professional musicians, musicologists, composers, and critics. A supplement with scores by young Russian composers is appended to each issue.
In addition to the concert recordings, this resource presents pre-concert talks given by composers or specialists, program notes, scores, photographs, and over 230 composer biographies and works lists.
In Sonic constructs, two robotic devices move and interact while performing trajectories that produce sound as a by-product of the movement itself. Direction, speed, acceleration, position, scratching, and collision characterize an environment for kinetic and acoustic participation.
For it [the Walkman] permits the possibility…of imposing your soundscape on the surrounding aural environment and thereby domesticating the external world: for a moment, it can all be brought under the STOP/START, FAST FOWARD, PAUSE and REWIND buttons. –Iain Chambers, “The … Continue reading →
In 1947 Ella Fitzgerald, already an acclaimed singer of jazz standards, toured with Dizzy Gillespie, immersing herself in the new style known as bebop. Like Dizzy, Ella responded to bebop’s complex harmonies with an infallible ear, and easily translated its … Continue reading →
Gertrude “Ma” Rainey’s Prove it on me blues affirms her independence from orthodox norms by boldly celebrating her lesbianism. Rainey’s sexual involvement with women was no secret with both colleagues and audiences. The advertisement for the song (above, click to … Continue reading →
The American traditional song Go tell Aunt Rhody originated as a gavotte composed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau for his opera Le devin du village (1752). An English version of the opera was produced in London in 1766; subsequently the melody attracted … Continue reading →