Re: algorithms for dance

Nick Rothwell (
17 Apr 1998 10:15:38 -0000

> > - the
> >distinction between algorithmic music and interactive music is rather
> >artificial

> I think I know what Nick means, but I'm sure he'll jump in if I'm
> misinterpreting him...

Nope: we're talking about the same thing, but I was looking at it from
a slightly different perspective. Imagine a spectrum of musical
systems, with completely explicit systems at one end (by which I mean,
systems where each note or event corresponds to a performance
gesture), and completely algorithmic systems at the other end (with
no interactive interface). Then there are all sorts of musical systems
which lie between these two; and as one moves from the explicit to the
algorithmic, the bandwidth of the gestures needed for a particular
degree of musical complexity is gradually reduced.

(The process of moving a musical system along this line is one I refer
to as "framing" in my paper.)

> Seems to me that the algorithm and the machine performing it don't know
> anything about the source of the data on which they operate.

Quite so; and the source of the data might be actual gestures, or
another abstracted algorithm, perhaps with its own interface to an
event source.

> Perhaps the notion of an infinite process comes from the practice of
> feeding results back into the algorithm.

Or else, it comes from the notion that an algorithm can be expressed
recursively. (And control forms such as "while" and "until" are just
convenient iterative shorthand for specific recursive forms.)

        Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL            contemporary dance projects            music synthesis and control

NOTICE - this vessel has triple screws - keep clear of blades