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OrganisedSoundv25.1 2019 : special issue on Computation in the sonic arts


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Submission Deadline May 15, 2019
Final Version Due Nov 24, 2019
Categories    algorithmic   composition   sonic arts   music

Call For Papers

Organised Sound: An International Journal of Music and Technology

Call for submissions

Volume 25, Number 1

Issue thematic title: Computation in the sonic arts
Date of Publication: April 2020
Publishers: Cambridge University Press

Issue co-ordinators: Dr David Worrall (
(Please feel free to email all queries)
There are many ways to generate and organise the sounds of a composition. Notwithstanding the early precedents in musical dice games and the rules for contrapuntal voice leading, the use of formal procedures to make musical artifacts without direct human intervention became practicably realisable with the availability of digital computers. This occurred in the second half of the twentieth century at the same time as artificial intelligence researchers were dreaming of a model of the human personage in which bodies and minds were more like machines than self-generating organisms. Some composers took the opportunity to develop algorithmic procedures to model works of the past, others to explore the representation of mathematically defined, natural and abstract processes that have no immediate musical connection to music such as set and group theory, probability distributions, Markovian stochastics, self-similarity, iterated function systems, adaptive networks and other combinatorial techniques. More recently, attention has also turned to the representation of messy collected data, scraped from the internet, or gathered by monitoring human, natural, environmental and other activities.

Early collaborations with computational systems were met with some hostility by the musical establishment. Arguments ranged from whether or not, in replacing parts of the creative process with an automated system, we were dehumanising the resultant artifact. Were we cheating by letting the tools do the work? Was is it even possible to produce tools which can adequately challenge the intensely human “creative” process? Did reason alone have any place in musical composition in a domain of human activity which should be driven by feelings, intuition, and other non-algorithmic considerations?

This issue of Organised Sound seeks articles which go beyond the description of how specific compositional procedures are used in individual compositions in order to address the social and musicological dimensions of computation, specifically focusing on the sonic arts.

Suggested themes include but are not restricted to:
· What styles of computational sonic arts exist today? How are they defined?
· What is social context in which they exist?
· Do or should listeners listen differently to music in which computers are involved in the creative decision-making?
· In what ways are the computers involve being creative or imitating creative processes? Is there a difference?
· Both in creation and performance, how does such work fulfill composer and listener needs for artifact formation and artistic communication?
· What is the role of the ego when composing computationally?
· In socio-cultural environments in which AI research is currently faced with difficult conceptual and definitional issues such as embodiment, has this affected how computational creativity is considered?
· In performances where computational algorithms are freely used in improvisation, what does it mean for a composition to be well formed? Does it matter?
· Is there a role for computational processes in music education?
· Are the compositional situations in which you would not consider using procedural approaches? Why?

Notes for Contributors and further details can be obtained from the inside back cover of published issues of Organised Sound or at the following url:
Properly formatted email submissions and general queries should be sent to:, not to the guest editors.

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