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Thread: What if the great composers were able to write for computers?

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default What if the great composers were able to write for computers?

    Do you think they would use faster speeds than humans can play?

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Your question seems to assume traditionally notated music. Which composers before the 20th century do you think would have found electronically generated sounds attractive or interesting for the sort of music they were writing? Few, I suspect; they might play around with computers at home, perhaps using them as a composing tool as we do now, but not as a substitute for the subjective expressiveness of human beings making music on instruments. But I can imagine some composers finding computerized sounds useful for certain effects, maybe in program music or opera, of which extreme speed might be one.

    On the other hand, computers might have suggested very different music to them, in which case they might not have become "the great composers" at all. This is the fate of all such questions.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Dec-04-2018 at 08:08.

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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    AI was developed at IRCAM so that computers can follow live musicians with all their expressive nuances of tempo in order to accompany them with a pre-determined electronic track. Of course, the expressivity of things like dynamics and articulation would have to be pre-determined, but at least tempo was made flexible enough to be controlled by a live musician.

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    them comps seem to quantize just everything and make a mediocrity out of everyone.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirime View Post
    AI was developed at IRCAM so that computers can follow live musicians with all their expressive nuances of tempo in order to accompany them with a pre-determined electronic track. Of course, the expressivity of things like dynamics and articulation would have to be pre-determined, but at least tempo was made flexible enough to be controlled by a live musician.
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but -

    Bleah.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Synthesizers and computers sound beautiful. It all depends on the synthesist or programmer. It's beyond 99% of the people who use them to make something that reaches the level of normal sound related to the pleasantness of an orchestra. I'm sure the classical masters would have been able to do that. I think a few of them would have taken advantage of the speed. I'm not sure if there is any decent computer music around today that is worth lifting from the halls of academia.

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    I can't imagine trusting any software written by Mozart. Maybe Hindemith . . .

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
    I can't imagine trusting any software written by Mozart. Maybe Hindemith . . .
    Mozart had a programmer's brain. He wrote a dice game to compose aleatoric music. It must be true, it's on the Internet!

    http://sunsite.univie.ac.at/Mozart/dice/


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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Mozart had a programmer's brain. He wrote a dice game to compose aleatoric music.
    also he even did improvisation but these have been only minor points about his music and genius.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Forget composers writing for computers. Give me a computer that can do entirely convincing compositions of Hildegard of Bingen, Haydn, and Shostakovich, not to mention the rest of the immortals. They'll be an algorithm. Then all one would need to do is punch the keys that say "Beethoven, Symphony No. 10" and the masterpiece is instantly created and streams to my Apple TV. Or punch in "Mozart at the age of 40, new opera." Or "Schubert at 40, new lieder."... "Chopin, new Polonaise in F-sharp minor!" The computer would fill in those missing years, write everything the composers couldn't because they died too soon, and no more angst. Then life would finally be a beautiful thing.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Dec-05-2018 at 11:11.
    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Nancarrow wrote etudes only a machine can play, that are technically impossible for humans to play.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    Nancarrow wrote etudes only a machine can play, that are technically impossible for humans to play.
    Yes, but even though he may be respected by some, not sure he would qualify as a great composer. He falls into that dichotomy of modern noisy composer, not necessarily considered musical by old school people. I'm thinking of more old school composers.

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I suppose there can be no doubt that a "computer" could play music faster or of greater complexity than humans can. I suppose there might be some novelty and attractiveness in that but what about using a computer to play like a true artist? I guess interpretation is a bigger challenge even than composition as far as AI is concerned? If this is true it goes to show that there is more to playing than following the composer's wishes - which of course we all know but sometimes try to argue against.

    I suppose a computer could be programmed to replicate a performance by, say, Rubinstein but I am not sure what the point would be. If it could play in the style of Rubinstein that might be more impressive but I feel certain something would be lacking. I'm also thinking of piano rolls that supposedly allow a performance from a great artist of the past to be heard now: does anyone have a view on how well that works in transmitting the genius of a performance from the distant past?
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Dec-07-2018 at 12:35.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Yes, but even though he may be respected by some, not sure he would qualify as a great composer. He falls into that dichotomy of modern noisy composer, not necessarily considered musical by old school people.
    So he is disqualified by the opinions of conservatives listeners? I'm sure Wagner, Stravinsky, and R Strauss were considered noisemakers by many of the same ilk. Why not discuss composers who have actually written for computers? Nancarrow had an opportunity to embrace the digital technology but was a bit of an old codger by that point so he didn't pursue it. The sampling software is quite sophisticated. The what if scenarios are rather pointless.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    So he is disqualified by the opinions of conservatives listeners? I'm sure Wagner, Stravinsky, and R Strauss were considered noisemakers by many of the same ilk. Why not discuss composers who have actually written for computers? Nancarrow had an opportunity to embrace the digital technology but was a bit of an old codger by that point so he didn't pursue it. The sampling software is quite sophisticated. The what if scenarios are rather pointless.
    I would get a lot more excited by someone like Philip Glass, John Adams, or Arvo Part using a computer than I would Nancarrow.
    I love Rautavaara and Schnittke, but Nancarro doesn't do anything for me. He is just on the side of the fence of pure conceptualism, no music. Your mileage may vary. Not on of those threads, please.

    I only gave him enough of a try to the point where I just did not enjoy what I heard, and music to me always must be enjoyable. I don't think Bach, Mozart or Beethoven would disagree.

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