Process and systems in computer Music: from meta to matter

Tony Myatt

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This essay describes how processes and systems were applied in early experimental music, and contrasts two approaches to the use of systematic and algorithmic processes in experimental computer music. It distinguishes two practices, one based on the evolution of historical models which emphasise a rationalist position, and another more radical contemporary approach based on the material substance of computer sound and technological processes.
It critiques the development of a rhetorical stance within institutional computer music, developed from methods employed by early experimental music pioneers and perpetuated in contemporary writings. This institutional rhetoric relates to the articulation of musical metaphor but has resulted in computer music rhetoric-without-assiciated-music in the work of some authors and composers. This is contrasted with experiential and (philosophically) pragmatic approaches shown by some independent contemporary experimental computer music artists who have emerged since the mid-1990s.

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