ENACTING MUSICAL MAQUETTES: A COGNITION-INSPIRED COMPOSITIONAL APPROACH
This paper is a practice-led case study on Fred Lerdahl’s “Cognitive Constraints on Compositional Systems”. The model attempts to define an artificial compositional grammar in terms of a “universal listening syntax” based on Lerdahl’s co-authored A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. Through demonstrating the practical application of the constraints, the author reflects on the model’s usefulness in light of the contemporary compositional context. Notably, the theory presents abstracted pitch and rhythmic material as an aesthetically neutral syntax, therefore it can only provide stylistically ambiguous infrastructures akin to a musical maquette that needs to be further enacted at the composer’s discretion.
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