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Too Many Notes: Computers, Complexity and Culture in "Voyager"

George E. Lewis
Leonardo Music Journal
Vol. 10, Southern Cones: Music Out of Africa and South America (2000), pp. 33-39
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1513376
Page Count: 7
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Too Many Notes: Computers, Complexity and Culture in "Voyager"
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Abstract

The author discusses his computer music composition, "Voyager", which employs a computer-driven, interactive "virtual improving orchestra" that analyzes an improvisor's performance in real time, generating both complex responses to the musician's playing and independent behavior arising from the program's own internal processes. The author contends that notions about the nature and function of music are embedded in the structure of software-based music systems and that interactions with these systems tend to reveal characteristics of the community of thought and culture that produced them. Thus, "Voyager" is considered as a kind of computer music-making embodying African-American aesthetics and musical practices.

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