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Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathGenerative Art
The Methodology of Generative Art
Tjark Ihmels, Julia Riedel
musikalisches Würfelspiel (Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus)


Even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart developed a "musical game of dice"[1] that contained most of the elements that today are associated with generative tools. The piece carries the explanatory subtitle "Composing waltzes with two dice without knowing music or understanding anything about composing. For this, Mozart composed 176 bars of music, from which sixteen were chosen from a list using dice, which then produced a new piece when performed on a piano. Sixteen bars, each with eleven possibilities, can result in 1,116 unique pieces of music. Using this historical example, the methodology of generative art can be appropriately described as the rigorous application of predefined principles of action for the intentional exclusion of, or substitution for, individual aesthetical decisions that sets in motion the generation of new artistic content out of material provided for that purpose. With regard to the piece of music mentioned, it was not a matter of a unique playing by the composer. A work sheet for Adagio KV 516 shows an outline developed from principles similar to those that apply to the game of dice. It can be assumed that behind this process was a serious method that Mozart


sometimes used for his compositions. To describe this method, musicologists introduced the concept of "aleatoric music"[2]. The name is derived from the Latin " aleator" (the dice player), and could not be more appropriate for the above example. In aleatoric music, the principles of chance enter into the composition process. A considerable number of musical pieces belong to this genre. A few of these compositions will be presented here in the context of generative tools because fundamental artistic requirements were postulated in those pieces that have to be introduced in the current discussion on generative art. In an exemplary overview, it will be shown in the following that there is no standard artistic position connected with the concept of "generative", but rather, a method of artistic work which was and is employed with the most diverse motives. At the same time, it is interesting to observe that this way of working appears not only in connection with a certain genre, but has in fact established itself in nearly every area of artistic practice (music, literature [3], the fine arts). The works to be presented in this article were chosen as examples depicting basic artistic starting points of "art

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