HUMANOPHONE: Toward an Algorithmic Music for Humans
“I like two things, clarity and complexity, which are almost mutually exclusive.” – Christian Wolff
How can we formulate clear, elegantly stated rules that both constrain performance and allow for surprises and meaningful contingencies of form? How can we create musical frameworks that are robust and flexible with regard to the number of performers, instruments, levels of skill, and venue? How can principles such as iteration and feedback enable simple musical interactions to generate complex results?
In this series of events, we will explore the possibility of algorithmic, emergent, rule-based, and generative forms of music performable by human beings. The goal is to work toward an idiom in which the sophistication of certain post-1950 practices is fused with the social and collaborative aspects of vernacular music-making. Although we will consider such relevant historical and theoretical phenomena as cybernetics, cellular automata, change-ringing, and the American experimental music tradition, the focus will be on making music, with an eye to laying the foundation for an enduring performance collective.
Each session will consist of a mix of discussion and workshop performances of model compositions and new works contributed by group members. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to take part in both components.