Santa Fe Institute Collaboration Platform

COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

Get Involved!
Contact: Amy P. Chen, Program Manager,

A Stab at Time/Time in music

From Complex Time

September 16, 2019
10:15 am - 12:15 pm


Gregory Spears (Composer)


In this session we started with a discussion on how meter, rhythm, and tempo work together to give a listener a stable experience of time flow in music. Then we focused on the way Stravinsky’s work for dance creates the experience of multiple layers of time. We traced these techniques back to composers like Bach and Perotin and also looked at how Stravinsky’s experiments with time influenced composers in the late-20th and early 21st-century. We focused this analysis on minimalist composers who employ process to create a uniquely modern sense of time. Along the way we discussed how concepts like entropy, decay, and rhetoric can be expressed in music and how they affect a listener’s sense of time progression in music.

Presentation file
Related files