“Two short pieces and an Interlude” in concert!

The “Partnerships” concert was a great success! The videos are slowly making their way to the YouTubes. Here Ensemble x.y does a fine job of my work, “Two short pieces and an Interlude”. (Here is the score of all three movements. Programme notes below.)

I composed these three pieces from material generated by two versions of folk-rnn, each trained in a different way with the same traditional music data. I enjoy the challenge of transforming the material folk-rnn generates into music. Meeting this challenge involves composing contrapuntal subjects, contrasting melodies, harmonies and accompaniment, orchestration, and piecing together a form that results in entertaining music. My ultimate goal is to create pieces of music that I want to listen to repeatedly, and to do that I don’t shackle myself to “staying true” to what the computer model says. March to the Mainframe is an arrangement of tune “X:488”, appearing among the 3000 in “The folk-rnn Session Book Vol. 1 (of 10)”. My march features the complete 16-measure tune without any changes to the melody. I construct Interlude around a canon using the first four measures of “The Millennial Whoop Reel”, a piece I co-composed with folk-rnn last year. I was originally arranging this reel for the ensemble, but a little experiment with composing accompaniment led me to this little piece. Finally, The Humours of Time Pigeon comes from material generated by the folk-rnn system that also learned to generate titles. Though the generated transcription is essentially a failure of the system to create an Irish tune, the generated title was compelling enough that it inspired me to compose. I take far more liberty with the material than in the march. (I use the verbatim output for a movement in my tape composition, “Eight Short Outputs”.) The concluding measures of my piece feature a frenetic revisiting of material as a reference to the time-traveling pigeon meeting itself coming and going. I think it is very difficult to tell where I end and folk-rnn begins in any of these works I have composed – which I see as a reflection of successful collaboration – but I can always point out the bits from the computer.

Interlude was a bit of a mess in the concert, so here is a synthesised version:

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