Automatonism: towards dynamic macro-structure in generative music for modular synthesisers

Eriksson, Johan (2020) Automatonism: towards dynamic macro-structure in generative music for modular synthesisers. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Johan_Eriksson_PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Nov 2019_Final Award Jun 2020.pdf - Accepted Version

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In patching the modular synthesiser we discover its ability to become an automaton and for patches to generate music by themselves. This practice-based PhD explores modular synthesis through composition, software design and performance. The research identifies the challenge of controlling macro-structure dynamically in self-playing generative music made with modular synths. Traditionally the way to control musical structure with these systems involved editing pre-recorded material or engaging physically with its parameters. This research is devoted to simplifying the process of automating micro-and macro-evolution of patches. In my artistic practice I am mainly concerned with treating the modular as a self-playing machine and my objective is to become an observer and enjoy its performance of my ideas. A modular synth platform has been developed in Pure Data called Automatonism. The software has unique macro-structural tools not found on any other platform. They allow for compositions that address the problem of generative loops in existing music for modular synthesisers. A portfolio consisting of five works will be discussed and used to answer the research questions. There are three self-playing compositions that address the question of dynamic macro-structure in three different ways. The two other pieces are live performances: one for guitar and Automatonism and one for live patching in Automatonism. They will highlight the other possibilities for exploring form and structure with modular systems. In this process I have been led by underlying ideas such as connecting familiar objects in unfamiliar ways, escaping linear left-to-right timeline and mapping out musical opportunities in novel ways well beyond my compositional aesthetics.

The research will likely impact the field of composition with modular synthesis, software design in Pure Data and live coding practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
27 November 2019Submitted
17 June 2020Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Modular synth, modular synthesiser, generative music, generative composition, automatonism
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2022 10:37
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 10:37

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