Introduction to the studies

The studies are three works that born from the necessity of establishing several composing techniques in a more systematic and structural way. These new composing techniques have been used and developed in previous works, but it was necessary to explore, in a deeper way, their possibilities for endowing them a formalism that made them more rigorous.

The studies are about on if it is really necessary that a certain parameter dominates the musical speech.

Neutralizations parametric  studies premier recording

The Cognitive-Parametric Music, like a possible solution to the elaboration of music without a central parameter, introduces a new method of musical composition based on the parameter concept as a musical material. All this as a new form of Parametric Composition techniques.

The music’s history can be interpreted like a process in which there is a bigger control  on a growing number of parameters. This way, from the Baroque to our days, the control over parameters like  dynamics, timber, or space has increased. The number of parameters  the composer uses as material has grown. This increase in the number of parameters has allowed musical new concepts. The melody of timbres, or certain concepts like integral serialism, or spectral  music, would have not been possible without the creation of some composition technologies that have allowed to handle and to control a bigger number of parameters.

In these works I have developed a group of formalisms, techniques, and concepts that allow us to use the parameter concept like a musical material.

This way, in Parametric neutralizations studies parametric melodies are used, that is to say, sequences of sound objects in which one, only a parameter is central.

In Parametric modulations studies it is invented the concept of scale of parameters and the modulation concept among scales of parameters and I developed some parametric modulations techniques. Also in this work, the parametric serialism is invented. In the sense that a parametric row is used as a musical material.

Finally, in Parametric formalizations studies a formal method is created to define, in a very precise way, what is the  parametric music.

In a non-parametric music, the formal structure is defined for the formal contrast in that certain parameters are related throughout the work through a central parameter.  For example, in the tonal music, in which the pitches are the central parameter, the form is defined as the contrasts of sequences in such a way that a certain group of pitches dominates. These parametric works have been created defining a type of formal structure defined by the way the parameters are determined by each other, transforming the parameters themselves into a music material.

The context

These pieces represent something very special for me. They are the result of a long and extensive research over time. From each one of them, the following one has come out as a nut turn. From the critics of the previous one, the following one came out. Although I consider them as the best in my production, those that have been premiered have received bad reviews. Unlike other works of mine as End game or For Rachel Corrie, have been unsuccessful. There is in these works a strange paradox, although they are the most original ones in my production, it is not so evident at listening. The three studies were the more difficult ones  to compose, because their high structuring level made very difficult to find musically interesting ideas. In spite of that, I believe that some of my music’s more inspired moments are in these works. Every time that I end up of them I needed the composition of a work freer and less deterministic, although with certain innovations that later I would put in practice again. They are an experimental process that has gone growing. Not always the public and critics appreciate the composer’s works in the same way that the composer itself . In my case there is a total divergence.

After Parametric neutralizations studies I composed  Isostasia which is a much freer. And, between Parametric modulations studies and Parametric formalizations studies I made For Rachel Corrie.  This last overlapped a little in time with Parametric modulations studies. In these intermediate works I gave up to an expressive necessity that in these works is less contained.

It was about picking up a series of procedures, used previously, to define and to establish them in a more precise and systematic form. Thus, perhaps the name of studies. The ultimate goal was to give greater rigor to these new techniques, of which these studies were a clear and concrete example.

This group of works is a political critic to certain forms of understanding the manipulation of the knowledge of our political reality, mediated by the belief that there is, or a central parameter (the budget for example) or a particular class whose interest is central. ((See my articles on political parametric translations). The belief that a point of view about the social reality is the central one, allows the reification of the rest of the social objects (see my text political Ontology and the myth of the confrontation) and generates tautological processes that make these theories function as a self-fulfilling prophecy itself, which carries with it its own compliance. So, in the same way that denouncing that a certain idea is determined by a false centrality, interestingly at a given power, leads to desalination. Getting a musical speech not based on the centrality of any parameter, music gets desalinated and released, and allows free decoding of sound entities and their relationship. There is no justification for putting a particular point of view or a parameter as central. To denounce the falsehood all kind of centralism, (parametrical, racial, ethnical, social class, gender, or any other nature) is the base to build the possibility to see the reality in a more objective, neuter, without manipulation.

These works attempt to answer to the question of whether it is possible to compose music that is not based on an absolute reference point, or a central parameter. The form of getting it and therefore, the conductive thread of these works, is to put in  question that it  should  have to exist a central parameter in the work, around which the other ones are articulated.

These works are based on the goal of creating music that helps us to deconstruct the false centralities that settle our life. They are an attempt to give us a different view about  reality and what we ourselves are in it. In a world in which all political systems tend toward the single thought, disassemble centralities seems to point to a different way of seeing reality and overcome the limits about what we believe that is possible.

Studio version from parametric modulations studies.

Evolutionary lines of the studies

An evolution line in these works has been a constant process of abstraction. Each new work represents a much more abstract case that the previous one. It’s like every new development represented a higher abstraction layer, speaking from the methodology of object-oriented programming, each work is an instance of an object class that is inherited from the previous one (for example, passing the same example to the world of the transport media, we can think of a very abstract concept like transport media (for example, translating  the example to the world of transportation we can think of a very abstract concept of transportation means (Parametric formalizations studies), which can be reflected in media land, sea or air, (Parametric  modulations studies) could represent a means of land transport and within these the (Parametric  neutralizations studies) represent a train, for example. That is to say, each new work represents a much more abstract case of a concept that the previous one was something more concrete.  Musically speaking, following the same line, we can say that the integral serialism represents a bigger grade of abstraction than  dodecaphony. Because, in some way, the dodecaphony is a form of integral serialism in which only a parameter is serialized. In the same way, the parametric serialism is more abstract than normal serialism, because the concept of parameter is also serialized, and treated as a row of parameters.

One consequence of this incremental process of abstraction is the questioning of the notion of settling fact which can be seen in End game and in my early works, which has evolved through the process of abstraction and the formalization of the positional space concept. So in Parametric formalizations studies is no longer necessary to have a settling fact.

In my first two studies it was necessary to generate an order principle, that is to say, to establish the principle of a certain prediction of sound events. This principle was called settling fact. Since every principle of order means  put something like order criteria. And put implies relativity, i.e. something that involves both, the order criteria and the elements that are ordered. The formalism developed for Parametric formalizations studies allows me to create parametric music without settling fact, because the position of some elements over others determines the values of other parameters.

More information


Towards an Aesthetics of Cognitive-Parametric Music

Divulgation writings

Divulgation writings about Parametric Music