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A funny thing happened on the way to the formula: Algorithmic composition for musical theatre

Collins, Nick

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Abstract

Algorithmic composition methods must prove themselves within real-world musical contexts to more firmly solidify their adoption in musical practice. The present project is an automatic composing program trained on a corpus of songs from musical theater to create novel material, directly generating a scored lead sheet of vocal melody and chords. The program can also produce output based upon phonetic analysis of user-provided lyrics. The chance to undertake the research arose from a television documentary funded by Sky Arts that considered the question of whether current-generation, computationally creative methods could devise a new work of musical theater (the research described here provides but one strand within that project). Allied with the documentary, the resultant musical had a two-week West End run in London and was itself broadcast in full. Evaluation of the project included both design feedback from a musical theater composer team, and critical feedback from audiences and media coverage. The research challenges of the real-world context are discussed, with respect to the compromises necessary to get such a project to the stage.

Citation

Collins, N. (2016). A funny thing happened on the way to the formula: Algorithmic composition for musical theatre. Computer Music Journal, 40(3), 41-57. https://doi.org/10.1162/comj_a_00373

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 9, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 13, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2016
Journal Computer Music Journal
Print ISSN 0148-9267
Electronic ISSN 1531-5169
Publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 3
Pages 41-57
DOI https://doi.org/10.1162/comj_a_00373
Publisher URL https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/34

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Copyright Statement
This is a manuscript version of the article, which has been accepted for publication in Computer Music Journal.




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