“Using Fractals for Interactive Composition” presented by Nelson


Session Title:

  • Music

Presentation Title:

  • Using Fractals for Interactive Composition




  • A description of fractal techniques is given through the composition of four recent pieces: REFRACTIONS, BENEDICTUS, HOPEFUL MONSTERS.

    HOPEFUL MONSTERS for instance: Scored for an ensemble of 36 wind instruments. In this work musical texture, rhythm and melodic contour were generated through a recursive replacement algorithm applied to “webs.” Webs are graphical objects that resemble threads laced between nails. The large scale form of the piece was sketched with MacDraw. The MacDraw objects were interpreted with a program of my own design written in APL. The APL program created a MIDI file that was imported to Finale for score and parts.

    Scored for MIDI Horn, Macintosh computer, and digital synthesizers. This piece uses an algorithm for recursive subdivision that maps the graphic image of a mountain range on the horizon into pitch, time, and timbre. The MIDI wind controller paints the coarse features (peaks and valleys) and the Macintosh executes an algorithm to generate a complex musical texture. Aspects of dynamics, phrasing, and pace are influenced in real time by the MIDI Horn soloist.