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Formalized music; thought and mathematics in composition / Iannis Xanakis.

By: Xenakis, Iannis, 1922-2001.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Bloomington : Indiana University Press, [1971]Description: x, 273 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0253323789; 9780253323781.Subject(s): Music -- 20th century -- Philosophy and aesthetics | Composition (Music) | Music theory | Music -- 20th century -- History and criticismAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Formalized music.DDC classification: 781.6/1 LOC classification: ML3800 | .X4Other classification: LP 95570
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
ML3800 .X4 (Browse shelf) Available 0000101049641

Of the 9 chapters comprising the book, 8 originally appeared in various periodicals and 6 were published as Musiques formelles, Paris, 1963.

Bibliography: p. 261-263.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Most of the content of this book appeared during the late 1950s and early 1960 (the first edition was published in 1971) though Xenakis has added four new chapters and an additional appendix to this edition. It makes formidable reading, both for musicians with little mathematics and for mathematicians with little musical understanding. To either it can appear unintelligible or stimulating, depending not only upon one's knowledge but one's biases. Xenakis is biased, having begun professional life as engineer and architect (he was one of Le Corbusier's assistants), only later to take up music. The engineer peeps out from behind the musician's disguise. Musicians ought not to allow his bias to prejudice them against his book, however. Imbedded within its array of charts, graphs, realizations of computer programs, references to classical Greek writers and thinkers, metaphysical speculations, and apocalyptic predictions are some valuable observations on the condition of modern music and strategies to advance it. Xenakis intends to reinvent music, using mathematicss and the computer to "free" it from the weight of tradition. He believes such freedom would permit music to accomplish its mission: to join other disciplines that bear witness to humanity's intellectual powers. Not much room remains to intuition or emotional expression, but Xenakis considers these losses part of the process of achieving freedom. Whatever one's attitude, a perusal of Xenakis's proposals is worth the time and effort entailed. F. Goossen; University of Alabama

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Iannis Xenakis is an avant-garde Greek composer who attempts to apply mathematical constructs to musical composition, such as using the theory of sets, symbolic logic, and probabilistic calculus. He was the founder and director of the Centre d' Etudes Mathematiques et Automatiques Musicales in Paris and at the Center for Mathematical and Automated Music at Indiana University, where he served on the faculty from 1967 to 1972. In this age of technology, his work captivates many other composers and may prove to be one of the formative generators of compositional technique in the late twentieth century. (Bowker Author Biography)

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