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Musical Darwinism: the evolutionary implications of indeterminate notation and its intersection with a Library 2.0 world

By Colin J. P. Homiski


Since the middle of the twentieth century, composers around the world have used indeterminism at one point in their career, from Dutch composer Louis Andriessen to the use of limited aleatorism in Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s works. Whilst the new forms of notation presented challenges for performers and analysts of the works, it also presented opportunities for exploration of improvisation and individual choice. There are striking similarities between the freedom represented with this notational evolution to that of the internet to ‘Web 2.0.’ The proliferation of social networking applications (such as Delicious, Connotea and Diigo) and user generated content create a quandary for libraries and researchers. Should we retain our title as gatekeepers of quality controlled metadata? What role do we play in this new environment? How can we adapt to this shift towards non-hierarchical tagging and uncontrolled vocabulary? Just as composers have decided to give up some control to the performer, should libraries give up a degree of control to researchers in order to keep with the digital times? This paper will seek to answer these questions framed by Charles Darwin’s famous espousal of the ‘survival of the fittest.’ It is the evolution of notation, specifically to indeterminate notation, which may prove ultimately that libraries are no dinosaurs.Unrevised proof of paper presentation to 2009 International Association of Music Libraries conference in Amsterdam

Topics: MUS
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:
Provided by: SAS-SPACE

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