Origins of OMS. Credits


OMS evolved in a number of stages:

Stage 1: During an intensive study of a Beethoven symphony (#5), I noticed that the work was rich in sonic “effects”:  Ticking clocks, intimations of doom, grotesquerie, reverie, shock, beauty, pulsation, “suspension of time”, “fragmentary memories”, confusion, mild panic, order, disorder, harmoniousness, dissonance and more. I also noticed that these effects could operate in parallel. So I realized that the work could be understood as imparting many kinds of stimulation at the same time (=  “Organized Multi-Stimulation” or “OMS”).

I studied this work further, then other mainstream classical works. I saw that the above concept of OMS was applicable to all of them. I began to develop some categories of stimulation; and I refined these by analyzing many pieces of classical and then non-classical music (pop, jazz, world, …). This was the beginning of the OMS model.

It became clear to me that the concept of OMS was deeply embedded in the work of Beethoven. I believe that Beethoven was aware of OMS in his own way, although I cannot prove that. As I proceeded with my work, Beethoven was continually referred to as one paradigm of OMS. (Later on, other paradigms were identified. One of my favorites: The James Bond theme.)

Stage 2:  I realized that in the field of Artificial Intelligence, there is a model of human intelligence (“The Society of Mind”) that is compatible with OMS, and which provides an excellent scientific framework for OMS. So, Society of Mind became incorporated into the OMS model. SocietyOfMind is excellent for this purpose: It is an excellent model itself; and it is grounded in a large body of research/experience in the development of real AI systems.

Stage 3: I saw that there were various precursors to The Society of Mind, which were also supportive of OMS. Most important: The late-phase work of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. These precursors support the view that OMS is not an arbitrary invention, but rather a natural elaboration of ideas that have been developing for a long time.

Stage 4: I gradually realized that the above model would capture a lot (80% ?) of human musical experience but not all. The above model I named the Basic Model. Additional models were needed for the remainder of human musical experience. I called these the Transcendental Model (adapted from certain models in psychoanalysis and mindfulness); and the Wisdom Model.

Throughout these stages (over about 10 years), there was close analysis of about 1000 individual works of music, in the widest variety of genres: Classical, contemporary, popular, jazz, childrens, world music, …

Once Stage 4 was reached, it has appeared to me that OMS is close to modeling the entirety of human musical experience – at least at a high level.

Acknowledgements: Although I was the principal investigator for the above, I received input and assistance from the following people along the way:  Daniel Barber (Department of Music, Cleveland State University); Michael Campbell (Western Illinois University); Louis Cozolino (Pepperdine University); Dorogi brothers; Carson Farley; Patrick Fitzgibbon; Marino Formenti; Thomas Forster (Cambridge University); Karanraj Guleria; David Huron (School of Music, Ohio State University); Joseph Kanengiser; Linda Levinson;  John Lundgren; Marvin Minsky (M.I.T.); Bo Morgan (M.I.T.); the NetNewMusic gang; Wesley Phoa; William Rosar (Journal of Film Music; UCSD); Dustin Smith (M.I.T.); Robert Walser (Dept of Musicology, UCLA).

About the author: Isaac Malitz is accomplished in the key fields that bear on the subject of new Music Theory:  He studied music theory and piano at Oberlin and then at UCLA (with Aube Tzerko). He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy/Mathematical-Logic from UCLA. His work in Mathematical Logic has resulted in several mathematical concepts being named in his honor.  Since UCLA, he has been a successful software developer and consultant, with specialties that include Artificial Intelligence and Relational Database. His consulting firm has been recognized many times for cutting-edge applications for midsize businesses. He is on the Board of Directors of the contemporary music series Monday Evening Concerts.

Isaac’s work with OMS started with a challenge from a distinguished mathematician who asked him “When are you going to have another good idea?”