Implementing a Fractal Structure Module

September 16, 2009 General News, Problems 0 Comments

The diagrams given in the last post would seem to imply that making a structure module out of a fractal cutting engine would be easy. The truth is, however, that it's nowhere near as straightforward as making a melody.

Some of the central problems I'm trying to resolve at the moment:

  1. What blocks do you start with? Would slapping a bunch of root blocks that span the whole composition at a time offset of zero produce as good of results as a more sophisticated method? Or does the cutting engine bring equal complexity out of both of these situations?
  2. How do you handle separate pieces/parts/movements (whatever you want to call the compositional "divisions")? It's not hard to conceptually see that the blocks need to span more than one movement in order to be interesting (otherwise what would make this method any different from random selection?), but how does one know where to create a division? What about the fact that blocks will inevitably overlap divisions? The data structure does not allow multiple part instructions per movement for the same generative module, so instructions must not overlap.
  3. Once and for all - how should cutting work? Should it be based on divisors or on linear multiplicative factors? Furthermore, should we allow the engine to invert the durations of the old and new block so that the cut includes its "complementary" cut (i.e. the same cut in the reverse order)?

And finally, there's still the question of tempo, time signature, and pretty much all other things dealing with time that needs to be addressed. The relationship between the structure module and the coordination module still needs to be determined, and the structure module needs to become more influential over the others. After all, it crafts the entire composition. It should do more than say "start" and "stop."

Obviously there's a lot of work left to do with the core modules. Given the recent progress in generative modules, however, it's not surprising that the other modules are starting to look weak. That's the way it works with this project. A breakthrough in one thing causes everything else to look inadequate. Slowly but surely, the quality of each individual part rises to meet the expectations of the leading components.