As a composer in the very late twentieth century my goal is to inject as
much intelligence and substance into the process of music-making as
possible, to present listeners with sensory and intellectual metaphorical
tools that enable them to perceive relationships of time and space in ways
that might otherwise go unnoticed. Music-oriented researchers in the fields
of psychoacoustics and cognition in recent years have viewed the computer as
a means of simply extending and rationalising traditional music theory and
form, rather than summarising the base of musical knowledge we have
inherited and then breaking free of those constraints. Performers, composers
and producers in the field of popular entertainment continue to use
technology to narrow rather than broaden aesthetic boundaries in the
so-called creative arts.
A new aesthetic paradigm is needed . . .
Technology provides us with the tools we require in order to build a
genuinely new method of music creation and listening. I propose that it is
time to invest our energies in the creation of visionary learning tools that
enhance our ability to evolve in our relationship to ourselves, to one
another, to the planet, and perhaps ultimately to the stars. It is the
author’s strongest desire to allow for the full realisation of what computer
music has long held the promise to provide – limitless variation with
Toward this end, I document here (i) a theory of music that attempts to
assimilate the infinite and subtle interconnectedness of the human
experience into a single symbolic structure, and (ii) the application of
this theory to the extension of an emerging genre – the environmentally
interactive computer music system – designed for eventual use by people
not necessarily aware of the underlying technical and aesthetic principles
at work, but fully appreciative of the profound personal benefits to be
found embedded therein.
Owing to space limitations, I will focus almost exclusively on the
theoretical and aesthetic issues that have driven the software development,
and leave a detailed discussion of the system specifications and its
operation to a separate article.