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  • Writer's pictureArashk Azizi

Grammars by Bohdan Stupak

"Grammars" is an instrumental contemporary album where the composition of the pieces is determined by a program written by Bohdan Stupak. The music does not have the dynamic range that a human performer would bring to a composition, but it has a complex construction that at times is reminiscent of Baroque counterpoint and at other times is reminiscent of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s aleatoric (controlled accidental) music.

Bohdan Stupak calls his style of compositions Nondeterministic and says about it: “Nondeterministic means that each iteration is slightly different, so you may consider compositions here as takes, not as something immutable.”

This style is very close to the theme and variations of classical music, where the composer reimagines a given melody in different variations repeatedly. However, with the help of computers, the variations here are more arbitrary sets based on given rules.

Bohdan Stupak got his inspiration from the works of Noam Chomsky on language. In his own words: “Conceptually, I've been inspired by the concept of grammars defining natural languages by Noam Chomsky and have written a piece of software that nondeterministically generates note sequences based on a predefined set of rules (grammars).”

Listening to “Grammars” is not an easy task. The album contains six solo piano pieces in classical style and three ambient pieces. You can listen to the three ambient variations as background music, but this does not mean that they are simple and easy listening pieces.

The concept of the album is something that I can imagine John Cage would create if he had access to current technology: a composition for the sake of composition, a piece that tries to redefine music and the way we perceive it—music for the sake of music.

I would not consider the music of Bohdan Stupak to have conventional beauty, and I do not think that is the aim of his music at all. However, I consider his music to embody a grand concept, music that makes you think and wonder, and that is immensely precious for the world of art.

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