Here are eight bars of the orchestral work Pithoprakta by Iannis Xenakis (click to make it larger).  The plethora of jagged lines you see represent individual string glissandi (the x-axis is time and the y-axis is pitch).  The slopes of these lines were generated according to things like the Law of Large Numbers and Boltzmann’s kinetic theory of gases.  You can even clearly see a Gaussian distribution a little above and left of the center of the ‘score’.  To learn more, stop by this very nice site that gets into the specifics of how this piece was written, and compares & contrasts Xenakis’ methods with those of John Cage:
http://people.mills.edu/toda/chance/noframes.html
Fascinating stuff, but words describing Xenakis’ complex systems can never capture the experience of hearing them at work!




Harrowing, thrilling and utterly unique.

Here are eight bars of the orchestral work Pithoprakta by Iannis Xenakis (click to make it larger).  The plethora of jagged lines you see represent individual string glissandi (the x-axis is time and the y-axis is pitch).  The slopes of these lines were generated according to things like the Law of Large Numbers and Boltzmann’s kinetic theory of gases.  You can even clearly see a Gaussian distribution a little above and left of the center of the ‘score’.  To learn more, stop by this very nice site that gets into the specifics of how this piece was written, and compares & contrasts Xenakis’ methods with those of John Cage:

http://people.mills.edu/toda/chance/noframes.html

Fascinating stuff, but words describing Xenakis’ complex systems can never capture the experience of hearing them at work!

Harrowing, thrilling and utterly unique.