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Re: [MUSIC-IR] Re: musical complexity

Hi Kevin and all,

You may find some interesting stuff in a short paper I had recently at the ICMC:



or if the server is still down:

From: Kevin Austin <kevin.austin@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Saturday, 3 September 2011, 2:10
Subject: Re: [AUDITORY] [MUSIC-IR] Re: musical complexity

I would propose that the complexity / complicatedness is in the mind, not the object, or 'acoustical signal' [sic]. [* I don't think we want to go there.] In this case, I suggest, there is only a psychometric of complexity, not a metric.

Mozart's "complexity" is based on many hundreds of years of western music history, but locally, on about 180 years. Boulez's has the same history, plus another 175 years. Boulez was aware of the Mozart concertos; Mozart wasn't aware of Pierrot Lunaire.


All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect, a vibration of the universal lyre,

paragraph 15

On 2011, Sep 2, at 10:34 AM, Eliot Handelman wrote:

> On 11/08/2011 2:20 PM, Justin London wrote:
>> I'd also add that accounting for the number, variety, and distribution of elements in a sequence may not capture all of its complexities, for some aspects of musical complexity are not in the acoustic signal.
> There's also a well-known distinction between "complexity" and "complicatedness."  When things are "complex"
> many things are perceptually connected and big pictures emerge, whereas when things are complicated there's many things that
> don't cohere into any picture at all.
> Lerdahl e.g. claimed that a Mozart piano concerto is more "complex"  than "Marteau sans Maitre". More
> generally, one should be able to distinguish between things that are probably going to wind up
> sounding like music & things that probably won't.
> To get a sense of how hard that problem is, consider "Happy Birthday" forwards & backwards. Should not the metric report that the forward version is more complex than the backwards?
> -- eliot