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Recombinant music: using the computer to explore musical style

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1 Author(s)
D. Cope ; Porter Coll., California Univ., Santa Cruz, CA, USA

A research project called Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI) is discussed. One subprogram of EMI is an expert system that uses pattern recognition processes to create recombinant music, i.e. music written in the styles of various composers by means of a contextual recombination of elements in the music of those composers. This EMI subprogram separates and analyzes musical pitches and durations and then mixes and recombines the patterns of these pitches and durations so that while each new composition is different, it substantially conforms to the style of the original. The fundamental problems in building a program to produce effective recombinant music are identified. The three steps used by the EMI program are discussed. They are: pattern matching for characteristics of the composer's style, analyzing each component for its deep hierarchical musical function, and reassembling the parts sensitively with a technique drawn from natural-language processing. Some examples of EMI's output are examined.<>

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 7 )