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Martin Maugeais

Symbols

July 18, 2018

Maugeais’ sound piece, Symbols, was a completely new work of generative music. In that, Maugeais developed a new system for creating music, as opposed to composing a specific outcome. Generative music pieces differ each time they are performed. However, Maugeais’ piece was not be performed consecutively; it was of an undefined duration, constantly changing. It started existing at ‘T’ Space on July 21.

Maugeais intended to loosely attach the evolution of the piece to the natural cycles of the Earth–its rotation and revolution. In other words, this work took into consideration the season and time of day– morning or night, spring or winter.  A parallel could be drawn with many forms of traditional music which are intended for a specific time (a morning Raga, or J.S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio). Like most living organisms on Earth, it transitioned between dormant and active periods. Other algorithms, based on personal experience, informed the transformations, independently of these two cycles.

Click to hear Martin’s work on his website.

About the Piece

Symbols is an infinite composition of ever-changing music generated by computer code. There are no fixed notes or sounds. The code, like DNA, carries the genetic information of the piece, allowing it to evolve within prescribed boundaries.

Among the influencing factors are the earth’s rotation and revolution. Therefore the piece, in the manner of organic life forms, follows the time of day and the passing of the seasons.

Symbols can never be experienced in its entirety, only fragmentarily. The whole remains out of reach. However the piece is recognizable, because its rules precisely define its contours. A listener coming back to it will always find something both novel and familiar.

The music contains a reference to its own infinity, in the form of a sound that seems to be forever falling. It can be heard throughout the piece, but is more likely to appear in an easily discernible form on winter nights.

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