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Artificial Life: Why Should Musicians Bother?

Journal article
Authors Rodney Berry
Palle Dahlstedt
Published in Contemporary Music Review
Volume 22
Issue 3
Pages 57-67
ISSN 0749-4467
Publication year 2003
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 57-67
Language en
Keywords artificial life, genetic algorithms, interactive evolution, algorithmic composition, music composition
Subject categories Musicology, Computer Science


No new technology appears in a society without causing changes to that society. Artists instinctively respond to these changes and the potential meanings of the technologies that bring them about. In this way, artists’ interest in technology goes beyond the simple desire to possess new tools for artistic expression. Artists serve to prepare society for the invisible changes going on within it by producing artworks in response to the mechanisms of change. This paper discusses the authors’ approaches to using concepts from artificial life in their musical works, which are basically of two kinds – artificial worlds producing music as an output, and interactive compositional tools using evolutionary algorithms to generate music and sound. It also provides a brief cultural context for these works.

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