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  • Paul Griffiths


A term applied to music whose composition and/or performance is, to a greater or lesser extent, undetermined by the composer.

As defined above, the term ‘aleatory’ (‘aleatoric’ is an etymological distortion) applies to all music: it is impossible for a composer to prescribe every aspect in the realization of a composition; even the sound result of a tape playback will depend on the equipment used and the acoustic conditions. However, the term is usually restricted to music in which the composer has made a deliberate withdrawal of control, excluding certain established usages which fall within this category: for example, keyboard improvisation, the cadenza, the ...

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