AAAI Publications, Eighth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

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The Melody Triangle: Exploring Pattern and Predictability in Music
Henrik Ekeus, Samer Abdallah, Mark Plumbley, Peter McOwan

Last modified: 2012-10-07


The Melody Triangle is an interface for the discovery of melodic materials, where the input – positions within a triangle – directly map to information theoretic properties of the output. A model of human expectation and surprise in the perception of music, information dynamics, is used to ‘map out’ a musical generative system’s parameter space. This enables a user to explore the possibilities afforded by a generative algorithm, in this case Markov chains, not by directly selecting parameters, but by specifying the subjective predictability of the output sequence. We describe some of the relevant ideas from information dynamics and how the Melody Triangle is defined in terms of these. We describe its incarnation as a screen based performance tool and compositional aid for the generation of musical textures; the users control at the abstract level of randomness and predictability, and some pilot studies carried out with it. We also briefly outline a multi-user installation, where collabo- ration in a performative setting provides a playful yet informative way to explore expectation and surprise in music, and a forthcoming mobile phone version of the Melody Triangle.


Information theory, musical metacreation, algorithmic composition,Markov chains, musical performance

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