Generative systems


Bloom by Opal Limited

is life on earth a generative system?

this is fun, thx :slight_smile:



[quote=“abalone, post:8, topic:4142”]
is life on earth a generative system?

I’ve been rolling this idea around in my head for months and I’m glad you brought it up first



Rudy Rucker would likely say that the entire universe is one big computation. He’s buddies with Stephan Wolfram whose “New Kind of Science” is a heavy tome on that very subject. I like Rudy’s more psychedelic take personally.



I like thinking in terms of process. I would include electronic, mechanical, and electro-mechanical processes, but I also like thinking of natural processes as being a form of generative music – eg the processes behind field recordings, sonifications of environmental sensor data, etc… and “human processes” even – like a performer following a game piece score like Stockhausen’s “+/-” where the process is actually carried out by a person…

Edit: I should have finished reading the thread, I see I’m not the only one. :slight_smile:

1 Like


bloom is great entertainment

used the app for the dominant melody on this track a couple years ago



@glia cool sounds, thank you
and thanks @mzero
it’s great to have a first hand account about what john cage was up to…

For ​his​ aim, in employing randomness, was not to employ a controlled chaos in service to his composition. But to get away from it ​being his composition​. To remove his ego from his composition as much as possible [his direct phrasing].

and what you were up to…

"Of course, I was brimming to tell him, and play him, my automatic ​Variations I​ program. I explained how it worked, what it did… and how I loved that “by listening to variation after variation, as the randomness played out across the space, eventually the listener would come to hear the ​essence​ of the piece, the ​composition would show through​ the randomness.”

this is how it felt to run the track through the dfxtransverb nine times for this weeks junto
even hitting 'random every time, the plugin’s 'composition would show through the randomness.
also this…
dna sequence determines the shape of a protein, determines the function
life on earth



[quote=“hecanjog, post:11, topic:4142”]
I also like thinking of natural processes as being a form of generative music – eg the processes behind field recordings, sonifications of environmental sensor data, etc… and “human processes” even

I frequently time events (entry, exit, duration) in my music by respiration cycles and had not considered that to be significant because the music is not strictly constrained by breath (like with wind instruments) . I guess that quirk counts as a generative rule governing most of what I do musically



I am going with this:

Self-stimulated system, capable of generating a mutaded version of itself.

This definition makes it possible for me to think of ideas that are not tied to any specific medium, materials or syntax.






Central pattern generators

Makes so much sense to me to base timing events on breathing.



“+/-” is Ryoji Ikeda, isn’t it? Or is there a Stockhausen piece by the same name?



Definitely stockhausen’s

1 Like


Yeah, both!

Here’s the Stockhausen:

Interesting to compare to Variations I since their intents are completely out of phase – Cage being interested in erasing himself via the system and Stockhausen being interested in crystalizing his own compositional methods into a rigourous system that can self-produce his music without intervenion.

Despite the maybe arrogrant motivations, Stockhausen’s +/- is actually really neat. The score is a great puzzle to put together – we did realizations in my improv class when I was in college and I have to admit now I’m tempted to track the score down and try again…

A page from the score:



Awesome :slight_smile: this is why I love this forum. Learning new things every day…



Also I’m increasingly jealous of all the people who spent years studying and playing music in school as opposed to something boring like electrical engineering…



i didnt even know what ee was

now that i do it wouldve been a great foundation

1 Like


I couldn’t afford college. Good thing I studied programming and graphic design as a kid. In later life such interests have made my music hobby affordable.



The grass is always greener I suppose – I’ve felt like I’ve been trying to play catchup with math and computer science fundamentals my entire adult life and I feel a bit of the same jealousy towards friends with math/compsci/ee backgrounds. :slight_smile:



As a history teacher, I like that all of my interest in the more detailed mathematical elements of music and MAX programming ends up feeling like some sort of medieval alchemy grafted into 21st century living :slight_smile:



i would call a generative system a closed structure which is able to give an output.
in other (negative) words : a structure that doesn’t need an input to give an output.

for instance see attached file. it’s an aalto patch. simple and scanty
means. (1.7 KB)