The next few months will see a series of supplementary chapters to Composing: How and Why being published on this blog. Ultimately they will be incorporated into the second edition of Parametric Composition. This short post outlines the areas to be covered, along with some illustrative examples.
The first new chapter, Thinking in Script: Mechanisms and Logic, will look at how indeterminate compositional systems can be realised in script using a range of logical and mathematical techniques. The chapter begins by looking at the computational components of Cage’s Music of Changes, which are swiftly explored in terms of rapid compositional prototyping. The chapter then turns to a more recent manifestation of indeterminacy arising from the underground experimental music scene in the form of Ben Chasny’s Hexadic System. Originally devised as a method of composing for guitar, the chapter explores how more complex system involving various forms of logical mechanism can be realised in code, and extended into the medium of keyboard composition.
The next chapter, Graphic and Active Scores, explores how the graphic output of scripting systems can be incorporated into the notion of a ‘composing continuum’ to allow a composer to realise complex, improvisatory musical gestures alongside graphical analogues. An example of such a process can be found below, inspired by Milko Kelemen’s 1966 composition Composé, but realised by exporting data from Opusmodus as both graphical and musical formats:
Beyond Twelve Tones will examine the possibilities for spectral, electroacoustic, and live-coded composition in the context of parametric scripting. The complexities of workflows for working ‘beyond twelve tones’ – be that with microtonal or electroacoustic sound – are explored here.
The final new chapter - Analysis and Companionship - looks at some of the analytic potentials of working with script, particularly with regard to developing companion pieces. Starting from Dominic Sedivy’s observations about the use of harmonic continua in the music of Bach, the chapter then proceeds to explore the zwölftonspiel and trope systems of Josef Matthias Hauer both analytically and compositionally. The sympathies between the music of Bach and Hauer is explored with regard to the practice of creating ‘companion’ pieces for canonic works of both classical and contemporary music.