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Computer Music Composition: The Polyphonic POD System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131346D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 13 page(s) / 53K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Barry Truax: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

A computer music system allows the composer to work with musical structure in a highly controllable and predictive way, and enables him to compose, modify, and synthesize an expanded range of musical expression. Experiments in the musical applications of computer technology have been carried out over the past 20 years. Today, digital technology is regarded as the central field of music acoustical research, and many composers are actively pursuing their compositional goals primarily with that technology. Meanwhile, a wide range of amateur and semi-professional enthusiasts interested in computer music have joined the field and a growing audience of listeners are finding that computer music is providing new and exciting aural experiences. This paper is not intended to comprise a complete survey of the field -- no book has appeared as yet that dares tackle that task; instead, it will bring together some general observations on the problems of musical creation within the composermachine environment, and present a detailed account of the polyphonic composition/synthesis system known as PODS which has been developed by the author over the last five years. The version of the system presented here comes the closest to being the central core of what might be envisioned as a ";complete"; system, in the sense of a system which allows a composer to take an initial idea from its very inception to the final recorded product. Naturally, the POD system continues to undergo development and expansion. However our experience with it through actual and extensive compositional use suggests that it establishes a framework within which future changes may be incorporated, but which in itself will remain fixed.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Computer Music Composition: The Polyphonic POD System

Barry Truax

Simon Fraser University

A computer music system allows the composer to work with musical structure in a highly controllable and predictive way, and enables him to compose, modify, and synthesize an expanded range of musical expression.

Experiments in the musical applications of computer technology have been carried out over the past 20 years. Today, digital technology is regarded as the central field of music acoustical research, and many composers are actively pursuing their compositional goals primarily with that technology. Meanwhile, a wide range of amateur and semi-professional enthusiasts interested in computer music have joined the field and a growing audience of listeners are finding that computer music is providing new and exciting aural experiences.

This paper is not intended to comprise a complete survey of the field -- no book has appeared as yet that dares tackle that task; instead, it will bring together some general observations on the problems of musical creation within the composermachine environment, and present a detailed account of the polyphonic composition/synthesis system known as PODS which has been developed by the author over the last five years. The version of the system presented here comes the closest to being the central core of what might be envisioned as a "complete" system, in the sense of a system which allows a composer to take an initial idea from its very inception to the final recorded product. Naturally, the POD system continues to undergo development and expansion. However our experience with it through actual and extensive compositional use suggests that it establishes a framework within which future changes may be incorporated, but which in itself will remain fixed.

Musical design within a composer-machine environment

A useful place to begin examining the field of computer music composition is to focus on three conventional and somewhat arbitrary subdivisions: sound synthesis, compositional structure, and composer-machine communication. Figure 1 represents these categories as a triangle, oriented so that the communicational aspect occupies a different level of generality (a meta- level\ from the other two. By specifying sound synthesis and compositional structure, we follow the traditional division of music into sound and structure, by which we mean the acoustic repertoire, and the set of relationships between elements of this repertoire. The arbitrary sound- structure distinction, made mainly for convenie...