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Creative Structures or Structured Creativity - Examining algorithmic composition as a pedagogical tool

Conference paper
Authors Peter Falthin
Palle Dahlstedt
Published in Proceedings of 11th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords algorithmic composition, music pedagogy, music composition
Subject categories Cognitive science, Music education, Musicology


This empirical study aims to depict how composers develop and structure creative resources, aided by algorithmic methods and other means of structuring material and processes. The project is not meant to be conclusive, but rather to form a point of departure and raise questions for further theoretical and empirical study in the field. Implications for teaching and learning composition and for designing interactive musical tools are expected. In specific, this paper concerns concept development within learning of music composition: if, how and to what extent this is comparable to that of language-based learning. The research project in progress sets out to study cognitive processes of composers working to integrate the outcome of composition algorithms, with the subjective compositional aim and modus operandi. However, in most cases the composer is also designer of the algorithm or at least of its specific application to the compositional problem. Consequently the strategies involved in designing and applying compositional algorithms need to be considered and discussed insofar that they too are part of the integration process. The study at hand draws from research conducted in cultural-historical psychology, cognitive psychology and linguistic theory, concerning internalization, development of concepts and syntactic and semantic aspects of musical structures.

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