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Title: Composing with Blooms
Authors: Cole, Elliot
Advisors: Tymoczko, Dmitri
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: composition
Subjects: Musical composition
Computer science
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation contends that, beyond its practical utility, computer programming offers artists a valuable mode of thought, and a path of creative discovery. As an example, I explore the insights, potentials, and contexts extending from my own path designing software in pursuit of new musical languages. This software begins with a musical object I call a bloom. First I introduce the project, then define this object and explore the perceptual effects that underly my attraction to it. Exploring these effects in terms of information theory suggests broader insights about meaning in music—what it is, how we experience it, and how we can create it. Second, I present a narrative of the project and reflect on its lessons. This section includes analyses of a number of pieces I have composed with its aid. These compositions are included in the Appendix. The third section draws historical and philosophical connections between the project and other music, people and ideas, including the parametric and chance traditions, Cage and Xenakis, nature painting, foraging, gardening, Brian Eno, and modular synthesis, in order to better understand bloom praxis and ergodynamics. Then I return to the project as it stands today, with a description of the current version of the software and an introduction to the code examples, as an invitation for others to explore alongside me. I close with a meditation on advice from John Cage, that “what we 
need is a computer that isn't labor saving but which increases the work for us to do.”
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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