Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 18 November 2019

Aleatorylocked

  • Paul Griffiths

Extract

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 ossia, the ad libitum, unmeasured pauses, alternative scorings and the provision of sets of potentially independent pieces (e.g. the Goldberg Variations). Three types of aleatory technique may be distinguished, although a given composition may exhibit more than one of them, separately or in combination: (i) the use of random procedures in the generation of fixed compositions (...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Musical Times
Music & Letters
Perspectives of New Music