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Prix 1987 - 2007

Ars Electronica Linz & ORF Oberösterreich

Reverse-Simulation Music
Masahiro Miwa

A Definition of Reverse-Simulation Music Based on Three Musical Considerations

“Reverse-simulation music” is a general term for specific phenomena, including acoustic events, resulting from human action, an important characteristic of which being that we can obtain sequences based on the “iterative calculations” of human activity.

It is imagined as the kind of music in which ancient or primitive peoples may have once participated, and hence also referred to as “music that might have been”. At the same time, however, it is a new and experimental form of music that emerges mainly from the investigation of computer-simulation-based trials. As such, it does not endorse the standard musical delineations between, for instance, performer, composer and audience as in many existing social structures.

Furthermore, in conventional music the underlying regulations and origins of performed sound are frequently concealed within notions of sensibility and spirituality, whereas reverse-simulation music seeks to expose these facets through “rule-based generation”. It defines itself accordingly, along with two other musical considerations: interpretation and naming.

This definitive concept, with its three musical aspects, can be generally applied to other styles of music and represents a new conceptual way of looking at the whole of mankind’s music.

This experiment is an attempt to reverse our way of thinking about computer simulation, in which a range of natural phenomena are reproduced within the computer according to the laws of physics. It has been called “reverse-simulation” music precisely because it reproduces in the natural world phenomena based on certain laws that have been investigated within computer space. And the realization of “music that might have been” – that is, music that probably never was – in the real world is also an integral part of this experiment.

(from Email-Bulletin METHOD, No. 20, March 1, 2003)

Supported by: Sendai Mediatheque, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Kanagawa Arts Foundation, Suntory Music Foundation