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Re: [AUDITORY] CfP - Inaugural Issue of the Journal of Creative Music Systems

Well, yes, I’m not actually going to take you very seriously at all. <<8-))>>> However I will try to articulate an answer to your question . . .

How can I take you seriously? I didn’t read the word ‘autonomous’ in the posting, or the word ‘write’. I did see the word compose. ;) Not being a computer scientist, but being a composer, I have been using [analog] computers for 45 years to invent / create / compose [sic], sounds. [Sorry about not using the word 'music’.]

My understanding of algorithmic composition is the model:
     noise > filter > output

The interesting part of this model is the ‘filter’ — or more practically, filters. The noise source generates a [quasi]random sequence of numbers [voltages / energy levels]. The filters select / shape the acceptability of a number to fit some kind of information mask. The information mask in the analog synthesis domain is loosely called a ‘patch’, or in the hybrid / digital worlds, an algorithm.

I have done this in various ways for decades. The purpose? For me, to come to a better understanding of how my mind works. In my life, I view understanding of how the brain receives chaotic information and filters it into ‘meaningful’ form to be quite valuable. In one sense, it is a kind of ‘education’. And I’m a big fan of education. Education is like lighting a match in a dark cave.

There are those who simply ‘want the experience’, and they can ask Siri the question. And Siri will give them the answer. Or perhaps an answer. Or perhaps not.

My generalized teaching method — the match again, is to start with an idea, build models of how the idea could be understood — called analysis, derive possible ‘rules’ from / for the analysis, and to find out if the model [analysis] and rules are accurate and [adequately] complete. These rules are used to synthesize a response.

This could be a class of five year olds learning how to improvise on Orff instruments, or it could be music of the new complexity. The fundamentals, for me, remain the same.

For me, that is the purpose.  <<8-()>>

And also to fill up the time between my first and last breath.


and . . .

Dear Kent

What can I say, after you’ve said all of that?

For me you certainly express an ‘interesting’ view of the world, one I have heard, and lived through for five decades. I accept what you say as having validity within the model of reality you propose; one in which there is “a” truth, in which things not agreed with are ‘heretical’ [aka pseudo-religious beliefs]; an accusation that an idea [that you appear not to approve of] is religious propaganda.

Where is the [no one expects a] Spanish Inquisition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spanish_Inquisition_(Monty_Python) when we really need to sort the wheat from the chaff?

To quote Tom Stoppard from Travesties, “Bloody nerve!"


On 2016, Jan 12, at 4:41 AM, Leslie Smith <l.s.smith@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

While I’m quite happy with the study of synthetic creativity, what I don’t understand is why you would want autonomous systems to write music. 

What is the purpose of it? 

As a musician (of sorts) I can well understand systems to help me write or perform music, but why I would want a system to relieve me of my need to be creative I do not understand. If all I want is music to listen to, there’s lots of it available (and that’s a different problem, also causing pain to lots of performing musicians). 

Or is it  for autonomous synthetic listeners to listen to? That would be quite interesting: autonomous systems creating music, being listened to by an autonomous synthetic audience. You wouldn’t even need to actually play it, or even to convert it from digital to analog: it could be directly piped digitally from the synthetic composer to the synthetic audience, thus removing any requirement for human participation at all.

Yours (not too seriously)

Leslie Smith

From: Kent Walker [kent.walker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: 11 January 2016 12:42
To: Valerio Velardo U1370329
Cc: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: CfP - Inaugural Issue of the Journal of Creative Music Systems

For the life of me I don't understand how there can be a "scientific" journal dedicated to furthering Kurzweil's pseudo-religious beliefs in technology.

"Creative music systems" is truly religious propaganda.

Most certainly there are NO  computer systems capable of generating music.

A "scientific" list that remains quiet on such issues is frankly unscientific.

On 11 Jan 2016, at 13:32, Valerio Velardo U1370329 <Valerio.Velardo@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

I understand your concerns about creative music systems, but saying that "most certainly there are NO computer systems capable of generating music" is simply not true. If you are interested in the topic, the survey by Fernandez and Vico (2013) offers a quick review of hundreds of systems capable of generating music. As you might discover while reading the paper, algorithmic composition has a quite long history. The first creative music systems appeared in the late fifties. Today, automatic generation of music is a topic of interest in the most prestigious conferences on Artificial Intelligence (e.g., AAAI, ECAI).


Algorithmic composition is but a subfield of Computational Creativity (CC) – the art and science of developing systems that are able to generate human-like creative artefacts such as painting, music and poetry. CC is a growing field with a large research community. Have a look at the Prosecco website if you want to know more (http://prosecco-network.eu/).  


I might be wrong, but the scepticism around computer creative systems resembles the scepticism around chess programmes 30 years ago. But then Deep Blue came…


Fernández, J. D., & Vico, F. (2013). AI methods in algorithmic composition: A comprehensive survey. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 513-582. https://goo.gl/xepRmf




Leslie Smith
Professor of Computing,
Computing Science and Mathematics,
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA,
Scotland, UK
+44 (0) 1786 467435