ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3aMU6. A musical chaotic space.

Diana S. Dabby

Dept. of Elect. Eng. and Computer Sci., MIT, and the Media Lab., 77 Massachusetts Ave., Rm. 35-303, Cambridge, MA 02139

A procedure for generating different versions of a musical piece based on the properties of a chaotic system---most notably, sensitive dependence on the initial condition---will be described and demonstrated. The procedure uses the Lorenz equations to set up a musical chaotic system. The chaotic system is embedded in a computer program that enables the composer to select which musical attributes (such as melodic line or dynamic level) will be affected by the chaotic trajectory. Mutations of the original work can be heard as well as revisions where many of the musical elements intrinsic to the piece, e.g., rhythm or timbre, remain intact. The composer is able to interact with the program to select various versions and change them, if desired. Musical examples will be played so that listeners can hear the source piece and its concomitant transformations, each of which is initiated by the musical chaotic space. Yet the compositional character of the revised versions remains within the artist's domain of style, expression, and inventiveness. [Work supported in part by a LeBel Fellowship at MIT and in part by funds from the Media Lab.]