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Taraeva G.

Computer music and theoretical problems of the musical language

The article highlights theoretical problems of the musical idiom in relation to the emergence of computer programmes for making music. Today, a robot-composer «creates» everything, from popular music to complex academic genres (concertos, symphonies). Creative programmes designers have mastered the imitation of classical compositions by selecting the linguistic structures of different musical styles. Numerous experts evaluate these experiments critically and reproach “machine-made” music in something mechanical and lack of inspiration. However, the mystery of a masterpiece lies beyond the «body» of music but in the area of human representations, and psychology of understanding the meaning of music. This is also a problem of traditional musicology where interests of mathematicians and music scholars intersect.
The article presents a review of scientific concepts of computer engineers who have been making a «dictionary» of musical styles since the 1950s. Examples are concepts by L. Hiller and Y. Xenakis who denied the musical idiom, as well as by R. Zaripov, a mathematician and engineer, who explains the phenomenon of a composer’s hearing as a subconscious semantic choice. Current experiments in revealing the mechanism of the musical style imitation are also described, such as those by D. Cope who recreated W. А. Mozart’s Symphony N 42, numerous stylizations and, in fact, refused the task; by E. Newton-Rex who designs a computer capable of learning the analysis of a masterpiece. There is also a review of ideas by scientists who deny the existence of ideal harmony in a musical text. For instance, the composer A. Koblyakov claims the presence of a built-in human «archetype of harmony», and S. Dricker claims the presence of information alive which exists with a person side by side only (these are knowledge, ideas, judgments the diverse world of feelings which is transmitted by the artistic idiom in an act of translation).
The process of developing the problem can be started only by some scientific description of the phenomenon of meaning recognition and understanding as well as the observation of aesthetic assessments of a semantic music interpretation. People need music in their communicative act, and only the human value of the information it «communicates» may become a criterion of its relevance and perfection.

Key words

creative computer programmes, musical idiom, musical semantics, music communication, musical semantic hearing, acoustic «body» of music.

For citation

Taraeva G. Computer music and theoretical problems of the musical language // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2019.N 4. PP. 92–98.