Experimental Music & D’Arcy Thompson’s On Growth and Form

On Growth and Form in Experimental Composition and Analysis: Music by Pozzi Escot and James Tenney
On Growth and Form 100 conference – Dundee and St Andrews, Scotland
Univerisity of Dundee, 15 October 2017
Research Seminar at the University of York, 18 October 2017
This conference celebrated the centennial of the publication of D’Arcy Thompson’s seminal book On Growth and Form. Its focus on formal similarities across biological and geological phenomena has had a profound impact not only on biological research but also on artists, including architects and musicians. Composer and theorist James Tenney begins two of the chapters of his MetaHodos with quotes from Thompson’s text. My presentation investigates connections between Thompson’s ideas and Tenney’s text, which he used as a basis for early experimental computer-generated pieces realized at Bell Labs in the 1960s. Pozzi Escot’s interest in Thompson is also presented as clearly linking of music and mathematics in her analysis of Chopin’s first Prelude.
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