Despite the acute interest that Cellular Automata [CA] has generated over the years, the musical panorama as it relates to the practical applications of such systems remains fragmented at best. The vast literature that addresses CA usually stops short of addressing the most basic musical matters. On the other hand, the papers that deal exclusively with music/sound, are either too specialized and interested in describing a particular composer’s mapping procedure, or too general, thus lacking in analytic thought – and frankly inspiration. My ongoing project aims primarily towards creating a tri-partite document that in detail addresses:
- Practical coding examples using Mathematica
- Expanded and thorough summation of past and present research in the field – which necessarily also includes a philosophical plunge into the immense world of Algorithmic Composition and Data Sonification
- In depth analysis of successful musical examples/applications from established composers and sound artists.
My interest in CA started with the rather simple investigation of whether the complexity and visual beauty of the various types of Automata can be directly and successfully translated into music. More concretely:
- Is there a correlation and/or similarity between the visual mapping of CA and its musical counterpart? That is, can we hear the image as it is presented to our eyes?
- If such mapping does not exist, is there nevertheless a musically relevant translation of those structures? That is, can we still make music using CA despite the non-corresponding relation between visuals and sound?
I am confident that the potential for driving this research past this present document, into the exciting world of audio/visual/physical interactivity will become apparent.