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English definition

Wednesday 26 January 2005, by Rob Weale

Indeterminacy in music refers to aspects of performance or audition that are left unprescribed by the music’s creator, where an aural outcome cannot necessarily be predicted. An example in electroacoustic music might be the indeterminate playback of one or more autonomous tapes, tracks, soundfiles or audio streams (thus the component materials are ’fixed’, but their ordering in time, counterpoint, or even spatial disposition may vary from listening to listening). Systems and musical strategies that involve humans interacting with computers, including the Internet, may often leave choices to the user/listener in terms of selection and ordering of musical materials, much as the reader of hypertext fiction will normally be free to navigate his/her own ’route’ through the text. Indeterminacy is an antonym of Formalism.

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