Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How can we compose better music?

I just read this excellent article about the causes of musical frission, what makes a particular moment in a piece of music strike you as just right. It would be nice to see these ideas built into an automatic composition program like Melody Generator. In the book I mentioned how a sunset can induce strong feelings through an unguided process.  I don't see any reason we couldn't make a system that generates beautiful music like the atmosphere generates beautiful sunsets.

In fact, it might be cool just to make an artificial sunset generator using a fluid simulation and the physics of light passing through clouds.  This is an image I made years ago using POV-ray and Perlin noise functions:
 I think it gets the cloud shapes about right, though the lighting needs a lot of work.

Martin Guhn, Alfons Hamm and Marcel Zentner
Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Vol. 24, No. 5 (June 2007), pp. 473-484 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Anima in Anime

Anima in Anime: the nature of the soul in Japanese animation.

I just thought that would be a fun essay to read. It would discuss Ghost in the Shell, The Spirits Within, Paprika, maybe... what else do you think would be good?
I read a book about Ki (the Japanese symbol for breath and spirit) when I was trying to learn Kanji while living in Nagoya. Since my English reading material at the time was so limited, I have an almost supernatural memory for anything I read at the time.
Edit: I've just finished watching the anime series Mushishi. In these stories, the spirits are more like insects or fungus. They are a natural phenomenon that sometimes affect people when their lives intersect. I highly recommend it. 


This looks like an interesting resource on 19th century views of the body as machine.

Llull, Bruno, Borges, and the fourth dimension

Charles Hinton worked on visualizing the fourth dimension.  There are some interesting connections between his techniques and and other visualization methods like the Ars Memoria. (Ramon Llull, you'll recall, invented a way of recombining words to make new ideas called the Ars Combinitorica, which influenced Leibniz's grand AI project. Jorge Borges, the scholar and author, commented on Llull and on ontologies.)  Check out the links below.




Also, Boole's daughter (I discuss both her parents in the book) was adept at visualizing the fourth dimension.