The fuzziness of 'expression' in relation to algorithmic music

Wendy Suiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    All sorts of music expresses all sorts of ideas. Yet algorithmic music is often critiqued for its lack of expression. This raises questions about what makes any music 'expressive'. This in turn leads to addressing notions of expression itself. A logical approach reveals that the concept of expression in music discourse is very vague. This fuzziness arises from three sources. Firstly, the idiomatics of English is inherently confusing and builds specific expectations about music and expression in general. Secondly, the accepted ways of listening to Western art music identified by Becker [3], cause difficulties in identifying the substantial meaning of the word 'expression'. Thirdly, the conflation of composition and performance into the umbrella term 'music' such as the article 'Expression' in Groves Music Online [24] generates its own confusion. Revealing these sources of confusion, places the alleged deficiency in the expressiveness of algorithmic music into the logical deficiencies of music discourse, rather than locating it in algorithmic music.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2013 ICMC Conference
    Subtitle of host publicationInternational Developments in Electroacoustics
    PublisherInternational Computer Music Association
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Print)9780984527427
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event39th International Computer Music Conference, ICMC 2013 - Perth, WA, Australia
    Duration: 11 Aug 201317 Aug 2013

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the 2013 ICMC Conference: International Developments in Electroacoustics


    Conference39th International Computer Music Conference, ICMC 2013
    CityPerth, WA


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