Curry On
June 19-20th, 2017

Computational Musicology, ????, Profit
Chris Ford



Kolmogorov complexity analysis suggests that we can measure how well we understand a piece of music by the concision of a program that produces it. Furthermore, the inherent complexity of grooves and fugues can be compared via the lengths of their programmatic representations. Algorithmic composition has curious implications for the creation, copyright and performance of pieces, both finite and infinite.In this talk I examine the relationship that complexity theory and disjunctive sequences have to music, music-generating programs and literary works. I then apply these ideas by devising a program to generate an infinite ‘Copyright Infringement Song’ that contains all other songs within it. I adopt literary modes of analysis and presentation, which I motivate by arguing that music is a cultural and artistic phenomenon rather than a natural one.


Chris is a certified BABE (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Engineering), and consequentially an idiophile and technophobe. He regards computers with fascination in theory and suspicion in practice. Chris began to make music with code to compensate for his poor piano technique. It was only later that he realised that programming offers deep insight into musical structure and theory. When he works, he works for ThoughtWorks, though that isn’t all the time.