The soundtrack to the work above was created using generative compositional techniques, to accompany an exhibition by visual artist Pilar Cortés (www.pilarcortes.co.uk),
The ‘rules’ which govern standard musical harmony are often so prescriptive that they are conceptually little different to a computer program. This begs the question, why not just use a computer program to compose? There is little in sound and music which, given the will and processing power, cannot potentially be codified. It seems ironic that despite being considered perhaps the most sensual and sublime of the arts, music is composed in such a formulaic manner through all its implied systems of scales and chords.
Marcus is interested in exploring the point at which the systems behind generative music become complex enough to make works largely indistinguishable from human-composed pieces, complete with their ability to convey deep emotions through sound alone.
It seems there is a vanishing point where technology in music stops being perceived as some kind of gimmick and becomes almost invisible – most of us, for example, do not pay attention to the existence of PA or backline equipment at a live concert or question the validity of using music scores or notation systems to aid memory. Instead we allow ourselves to be pulled in and experience the performance as intended. What would it take to persuade listeners to value music created by a generative system in the same way?