Fractal Music

Structural Scaling

In addition to analyzing the collective behavior of the characteristics associated with individual notes, we can look for fractal structures on a larger, compositional scale. Here we are interested in patterns of notes that, in some respect, repeat on successively larger scales.

Often this pattern can manifest itself in subtle ways.

Despite the fact that rigorous analysis of certain aspects of musical structure requires highly specific knowledge of the subject, some patterns can be appreciated on an intuitive level.

Consider that we generally take for granted our ability to perceive cadence and inflection in spoken language; yet these sensitivities fundamentally inform, affect, and color our understanding of what might otherwise be dry written words. For those with a keen ear or formal training, language of music behaves similarly.

These four examples illustrate specific types of structural scaling:

Reel One
Funky Cantor

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© 2004 Harlan Brothers