Il faut bien se rendre à l'évidence, Eidon Veda pratique l'allégorie mutante et mobile, d'intentions inventives, de personnages [..], conscient d'y placer quelques pièges, des trappes inattendues, des fils fragiles, tendus au point de rompre.
I'm truly grateful to nocoVision for their consideration of my work!
The first link led me to a page of The On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (founded in 1964 by N. J. A. Sloane) — the page describing inventory sequence “A342585“:
“record the number of zeros thus far in the sequence, then the number of ones thus far, then the number of twos thus far and so on, until a zero is recorded; the inventory then starts again, recording the number of zeros.”
The page also provided links to interesting plots, such as Rémy Sigrist's “Scatterplot of the first 10^8 terms” of the sequence, which made me think of so-called permutation numbers I had studied years ago. I immediately decided to follow my friend's suggestion! I wrote a tiny program that fed my generative engine with strings such as A(0)A(1)...A(n), where the argument of A() is the corresponding number in A342585.
The thing that I found particularly intriguing is that the procedure generating the sequence emitted zeroes with a certain frequency (at first, zeroes are the most frequent numbers; later on, other numbers become more frequent). Now, zero has a special meaning in my own generative engine: it is the code of the only “bad card” in the game that my engine simulates. This means that the behavior of the game (and thus, the music generated by my engine) would exhibit two “trends”: a regular one, when a non-zero was found in A342585, and an irregular one, when a zero was found. In other words, the fate of the game would only change when a zero is found in A342585. In musical terms, when the new input string has a non-zero A(n), then the “music quantum” generated by my engine would be very similar to that generated from the previous input string.
I did some experiments and found out that the generated music was particularly interesting when n was between 18 and 28. In that region only two zeroes were part of the sequence, which leads to simulations that produce much stability with occasional trend changes. More importantly, the stable “episodes” produced in the [18, 28] region were good to my ear.
The result was manually adjusted by cutting off some music at the beginning; orchestrating the midi file generated by my engine with soundfonts for acoustic bass, marimba, celesta, kalimba, piano, oud, and percussion; and adding a bass fragment at the “new beginning” and at the end of the piece.
I hope you will enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed “playing” with A342585. My thanks to Gav for their wonderful suggestion!
“The word 'Algebra' comes from the Arabic: الجبر, romanized: al-jabr, lit. 'reunion of broken parts, bonesetting' from the title of the early 9th century book “cIlm al-jabr wa l-muqābala” “The Science of Restoring and Balancing” by the Persian mathematician and astronomer al-Khwarizmi. In his work, the term al-jabr referred to the operation of moving a term from one side of an equation to the other.” (Wikipedia)
Not only al-Khwarizmi coined the word algebra — his name gave origin also to “algorithm”! We really owe so very much to this Arabic mathematician...
“Al-jabr” is indeed the result of a reunion of spurious parts provided by a Steinway D piano, assorted Arabic percussions (darbuka, riq, etc.), and Rickenbacker bass (plain and “treated” with various effects; kindly lent to me by dear friend Jan). The whole emerging from those parts is a minimal piece. Surprisingly, at least to me, is the fact that I had not decided to write one such composition. The piece wanted it thus. Sometimes I feel more like a midwife than a composer...
So far I have posted three pieces from that album. This is a fourth one, called “Saeki”, as one of the dramatis personae of that manga.
The video is given by the first scene of “Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens”,
“a 1922 silent German Expressionist horror film directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck as Count Orlok, a vampire who preys on the wife ([Ellen, interpreted by] Greta Schröder) of his estate agent (Gustav von Wangenheim) and brings the plague to their town” (Wikipedia)
The tragic figure of Ellen, and her utmost sensibility, led me to the present association with Nanako Saeki. If you read the manga, my guess is you're going to understand why.
Please note that Greta Schröder was actually born as Margarethe Schröder.
If you like this music, you might consider to listen to the whole album on #bandcamp:
This is “フラグマー 1” (”Furaguma I”), an algorithmic piece based on a compositional approach that I called Wohlgestaltete Komposition. It is a hybrid process, in which machine and man cooperate. In a nutshell:
I identify musical quanta that represent initial configurations for a game simulator.
When fed into the simulator, those “μQuanta” produce 3-voice music fragments. I select the μQuanta that produce fragments that I consider of interest, and I compose them together.
I consider the music emerging from the combined fragments, and I operate modifications in the order and quantity of μQuanta in order to accentuate musical aspects that enhance the overall musical quality (according to my own perception) and to dampen aspects that I consider detrimental to that subjective concept of quality.
I continue the process by disrupting the selected μQuanta by flipping / adding / subtracting certain elements. Those disruptions in some cases aim at producing more “balanced” initial configurations, such that the corresponding games and music fragments last longer. In some other cases they may be purely random.
I include the disrupted μQuanta in the ongoing compositional process, and continue to build up the “piece” until its overall shape and contents assume what I arbitrarily recognize as a unique “identity”.
I refer to the overall selection of μQuanta in a piece such as “Furaguma I” as to “the Grundgestalt of Furaguma I”.
In fact, the term “Wohlgestaltete” means “well-shaped”, but it's actually a reference to the above process of selection of μQuanta that shape up the piece by defining its “basic form” — its Grundgestalt.
When time allows, I will write a paper describing the Wohlgestaltete Komposition. I would appreciate it very much if you would have suggestions regarding possible target journals. Thank you!
Comment about Mi 75
“One of the challenges in sorting out the fragments from Mi 75 is that the scriptorium seems to have a rather casual attitude to ruling – two pages of the same leaf can have different writing space, and the columns may be of different widths. Lat. fragm. 896, 1-4 are related to Mi 75 through initials, pigment and parchment, but differ in scribe, music scribe and format. Still, the scribe seems to be imitating the main scribe of Mi 75, and may therefore have collaborated on the same book.”
I called it “euqinacèM” (”Mécanique” read in reverse). That's because it is basically a Dada xenochrony based on the famous experimental short “Ballet Mécanique” played in reverse — from its last frame to its first. I sped up the video to 64.58fps, and then mixed my newest composition, “Gohachi”, with it.
I found the result truly surprising! Especially when you consider that I composed the music without considering to use it as I did. In the end, as Don Preston says in “200 Motels,” it looks like “Whatever I mix... is irrelevant... to THE RESULT!”
...I wonder what Frank would have thought of my little Dada meta-experiment....