Monday, November 24, 2003

More on Generation

Generative functions in music are not nearly as rare as I implied. Given thought, all sorts of generative music comes to mind. Fugues, canons (or is it "canon"?), rounds: all are in some sense generative. That's interesting because it elucidates an important aspect of generative functions: the split between the content (the single line of music) and the rule for combining it (in a round, the rule that says the second voice plays the line one measure, say, later, as in the beautiful Telemann duet Concerto in D).

With a much broader view, you could even think of a given tonic scale and a set of "accepted" rules of melody and harmony as a powerful if very imprecise generative system. Certainly, there was some set of rules that produced Baroque music, or Indian music, or Scottish bagpipe music. They are recognizable as types precisely because the ear and brain can detect, half-hidden but inescapable, the lurking presence of a set of generative rules.

Enough about music! Tomorrow, what's the difference between a puzzle and a game?