A Software Tool for the Functional Performance of Music

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Session Title:

  • Music

Presentation Title:

  • A Software Tool for the Functional Performance of Music

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Abstract:

  • ABSTRACT

    FP is a tool for the performing of music structures and their processing; the executed score is depending on the music patterns previously defined (music objects) and gestural acts we do during performance (music functions). The same sequence of gestural acts may give different results with respect to music patterns; particularly, if we only use the subset of linear functions, we have a kind of music which is consistent with the music patterns: if we define serial patterns we get serial music, if we define modal patterns we get modal music. Otherwise, we can use non-linear functions which modify the syntactic characteristics of the music patterns.

    Music performance is traditionally made up by sequences of events (notes and chords, by example) as the basic objects. In this paper we show how music can be performed at a more abstract level in which the basic music object is a pattern of musical text (i.e. a chunk of a score).We have designed, implemented and experimented FP (Functional Performer), a software tool that allows the real-time processing of music patterns by means of music functions (e.g. tonal and modal transposition, specular inversion, juxtaposition, superimposition, time shrinking, etc.); functions are activated by the ASCII keyboard keys and are either deterministic or non-deterministic. Patterns obtained by functions may be arguments for other functions during the current performance. Music is generated as MIDI data and real-time executed by MIDI devices controlled by FP. Therefore, FP is a tool for the performing of music structures and their processing; the executed score is depending on the music patterns previously defined (music objects) and gestural acts we do during performance (music functions). The same sequence of gestural acts may give different results with respect to music patterns; particularly, if we only use the subset of linear functions we have a kind of music which is consistent with the music patterns: if we define serial patterns we get serial music, if we define modal patterns we get modal music. Otherwise, we can use non-linear functions which modify the syntactic characteristics of the music patterns.

    At present, the first version of FP is completed and is usually experimented at L.I.M. concerts; it runs on MSX computers. A second version is under development on the Macintosh II family of computers; it has many improvements on graphics, ergonomics, efficiency and functionalities and can import/export Standard MIDI File scores.

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