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Hesse’s Melting Beads: A Multiverse Game with Strings and Gestures

  • Guerino Mazzola
  • René Guitart
  • Jocelyn Ho
  • Alex Lubet
  • Maria Mannone
  • Matt Rahaim
  • Florian Thalmann
Chapter
Part of the Computational Music Science book series (CMS)

Summary

A critical review of Hermann Hesse’s idea of a Glass Bead Game in the light of recent developments in mathematics, music theory, and theoretical physics is presented. The common denominator of these new dynamics is the shift from Wittgenstein’s world of rigid facts to an ocean of elastic gestures. In such a soft architecture of knowledge production, the ultimate principle of uniqueness as conceived in the idea of a singular universe breaks down to a multiverse, a multiplicity of worlds that terminates the historical breakdowns of uniqueness principles from geocentricity (Copernicus) to anthropocentricity (Darwin), chronocentricity (Einstein), and ratiocentricity (computers). We discuss contributions from eminent mathematicians Alexander Grothendieck and Yuri Manin, theoretical physicist Edward Witten, music theorist David Lewin, and philosophers Tommaso Campanella, Paul Valéry, Gilles Châtelet, Jean Cavaillès, and Charles Alunni. We complement their positions with our own contributions to topos-theoretical concept architectures and theories in gestural music theory, and offer realizations, both by means of gestural composition software and with examples from contemporary free jazz. The chapter concludes with a reconsideration of the game concept as a synthesis of artistic and scientific activity in the light of gestural fluidity.

A critical review of Hermann Hesse’s idea of a Glass Bead Game in the light of recent developments in mathematics, music theory, and theoretical physics is presented. The common denominator of these new dynamics is the shift from Wittgenstein’s world of rigid facts to an ocean of elastic gestures. In such a soft architecture of knowledge production, the ultimate principle of uniqueness as conceived in the idea of a singular universe breaks down to a multiverse, a multiplicity of worlds that terminates the historical breakdowns of uniqueness principles from geocentricity (Copernicus) to anthropocentricity (Darwin), chronocentricity (Einstein), and ratiocentricity (computers). We discuss contributions from eminent mathematicians Alexander Grothendieck and Yuri Manin, theoretical physicist Edward Witten, music theorist David Lewin, and philosophers Tommaso Campanella, Paul Valéry, Gilles Châtelet, Jean Cavaillès, and Charles Alunni. We complement their positions with our own contributions to topos-theoretical concept architectures and theories in gestural music theory, and offer realizations, both by means of gestural composition software and with examples from contemporary free jazz. The chapter concludes with a reconsideration of the game concept as a synthesis of artistic and scientific activity in the light of gestural fluidity.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guerino Mazzola
    • 1
  • René Guitart
    • 2
  • Jocelyn Ho
    • 3
  • Alex Lubet
    • 1
  • Maria Mannone
    • 1
  • Matt Rahaim
    • 1
  • Florian Thalmann
    • 4
  1. 1.School of MusicUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Institut de Mathématiques de JussieuUniversité Diderot Paris 7ParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of MusicUCLA Herb Alpert School of MusicLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.School of Electronic Engineering and Computer ScienceQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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