My new composing continuum – Opusmodus
Since a couple of years, I’ve been heavily experimenting with a computer assisted composition approach, known as parametric composition. And I must say, I’m immensely surprised with the results so far. For someone like me who doesn’t have the luxury of being able to compose continuously (meaning I’ve to compose a day, 2 days off, 1 day, 2 weeks off etc.) it’s incredibly helpful to no longer have only the notes explicit on paper but the whole thinking process behind the notes is now explicit; the score being the outcome of the computer executing the various algorithms. Amazingly powerful and contrary to my first belief, a very inspiring and creative way of continuously experimenting with logic, structure, stochastics, and transformations through various parameters.
Anyhow, I’m working hard on writing a concert repertoire for large ensemble and chromatic harmonica. You will be kept informed through this blog.
The following text is from an excellent book “Parametric Composition” by the composer Nigel Morgan:
Composed music in its symbolic language of music notation remains fundamental to contemporary concert music. Technology may play a necessary role in the production side of new music – score publishing, recording and electronic processing – but composers are moving towards iterative, generative and algorithmic tools inside systems that are intrinsically parametric. With these, composers can achieve more control, with wider opportunities for novel outcomes. To use such systems needs a comprehensive understanding of parametric theory and design.
Parametric Composition is an e-book introducing a progressive and very different way of thinking about the art and practice of music composition. This is achieved by networking the core symbolic parameters of music for human performance – pitch, rhythm, duration, tonality, dynamics and expression. Using a scripted coding language enables instant, far-reaching and interactive parametric change within score design and structure.
Parametric Composition is rich in exercises and examples, many available through links to scores and audio from the authors’ web archive and from YouTube. The text is illustrated by a combination of scripted code and musical notation from two of the most powerful parametric software systems, Opusmodus and Symbolic Composer. The book is an ideal companion for those wishing to enter the brave new world of computer-assisted composition through parametric design.