Computer Music Languages… and the Real World


Session Title:

  • New Tools for the Composer

Presentation Title:

  • Computer Music Languages… and the Real World



  • “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” _Ludwig Wittgenstein

    The language of the Canadian Eskimos has more than 10 different words for ‘frozen water’. There is one for ice that melted and froze again, one for ice that is extremely cold and at least eight others. If one wants to have a conversation about frozen water in a Central African dialect, the conversation will be much more difficult. There are no appropriate words.
    Yet the matter is even worse when one tries to communicate musical ideas on a digital computer. Such attempts have existed since 1957 and are known as computer music languages. A short survey should point out some of the problems in that field. Special notice will be taken of the state of the art of general-purpose programming languages at that time.

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