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What is Coincidental Music?

hazel bark in evening sunlight

Music always starts somewhere. A scrap of melody, a guitar riff, some lyrics – even something as abstract as an idea or a structure can be the seed. What's more, the impetus to make music often comes from something non-musical: visual or verbal images, a social occasion, even a contractual obligation. But how important is that seed?

That question was the seed for Coincidental Music itself. In the course of exploring the answers to it, I've experimented with stochastic and algorithmic composition, with compositions based on encodings of texts and with compositions built out of scraps of other compositions. I've also investigated ways of using and embedding patterns in sound, and creating structures that work from diverse perspectives.

My conclusion – so far as there can be any conclusion – is that while the seed can have an effect on the end product, that product is only ever as good as the process that went into making it. And the 'meaning' of the music is distributed among the many participating parties.

The process of exploration has lead to many fruitful connections to psychology (apophenia and pareidolia), to other arts (improvisation and performance) and to life in general (philosophy, I guess). More recently, I've been exploring recent technology to discover new ways of creating patterns and tickling listeners' neurons.

I'll flesh out more of the specifics in future posts. Come back soon for more rambling!

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