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Complexity and the Structure of Music: Universal Features and Evolutionary Perspectives Across Cultures

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Complexity and the Structure of Music: Universal Features and Evolutionary Perspectives Across Cultures
December 7 - 9, 2020 — Zoom

Meeting Description: Co-sponsored by SFI and IMéRA, the Institute for Advanced Studies of Aix-Marseille University, France, this open forum will bring together network and complexity scientists, musicologists and music theorists, composers, performers and neuroscientists to initiate an interdisciplinary discussion on music complexity in a variety of contexts. The abstraction of musical structures as geometrical spaces naturally invites the analysis of music as a complex system. In this context, one avenue is to develop a network-based approach to derive functional principles of compositional form and quantitative measures of music complexity. The introduction of well-defined metrics provides a novel framework for the quantification of musical “rules” as emergent behaviors in a complex network system and the analysis and quantification of similarity of musical objects and structures. This approach suggests a way to relate such measures to the human perception of different musical entities and explores whether these entities share universal characters across time and cultures. In a more traditional musicological approach, the analysis of a single work or a corpus of compositions as complex networks provides alternative ways of interpreting the compositional process of a composer by quantifying emergent behaviors with well-established statistical mechanics techniques. Finally, the knowledge acquired by this comprehensive analysis of musical spaces can be clearly generalized for the generation of algorithmically based music composition agents.