Infinite Music

Infinite Music

Imagining the Next Millennium of Human Music-Making

A new system for imagining music, built on the infnite possibilities of twenty-first century technology.  


A timely analysis of musical evolution at a moment when many practitioners have become fixated on the past and thinkers have found themselves unable to locate possible futures.

Steve Goodman,author of Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear

In the last few decades, new technologies have brought composers and listeners to the brink of an era of limitless musical possibility. They stand before a vast ocean of creative potential, in which any sounds imaginable can be synthesised and pieced together into radical new styles and forms of music-making. But are musicians taking advantage of this potential? How could we go about creating and listening to new music, and why should we?

Bringing the ideas of twentieth-century avant-garde composers Arnold Schoenberg and John Cage to their ultimate conclusion, Infinite Music proposes a system for imagining music based on its capacity for variation, redefining musical modernism and music itself in the process. By detailing not just how music is composed but crucially how its perceived, Infinite Music maps the future of music and the many paths towards it.


Adam Harper’s thorough, considered and cogent attempt to suggest a means of taking music forward by liberating it from restrictive modes of perception and regressive, habitual practices is an admirably high-minded undertaking. Musical variables, dimensions in music space and music criticism are among the myriad facets tackled in a treatise which reveals the bigger picture by delving into the minutiae at a sub-atomic level... [He] makes for a wise and informed guide. He’s hot on the distinction between acknowledging the work of Cage, Stockhausen et al, and noting that it quickly became its own orthodoxy: furthermore, the weight of his argument encourages a holistic viewpoint whereby music can be seen as a fully integrated aspect of life, not an end in itself. ~ Oregano Rathbone,

With his book Infinite Music Adam Harper provides answers that clean away the old structures of thought and make a realistic Utopia of music visible. He grabs the culture of pessimism by the collar and reminds it that music means more than organised sound... The music of the future is in our hands. ~ Philipp Rhensius, Groove Magazine

A painstaking conceptual dissection... which... sets out to atomise and reconfigure every last assumption about what music is and how it can be made - revealing even the most catholic taste to be inherently limited... Infinite Music is not about the music that you already know - that narrow range of tonal, textual and rhytmic tactics that the last millennium of music makers have seen fit to employ. Instead, it's a futuristic manifesto for a revitalised musical modernism, a thought-strategy designed to unchain us from our hoary old traditions, a framework for the imagination which calls into being an uncharted cosmos of musical possibility. ~ Chris Sharp, Wire Magazine #336

Harper is searching for a more holistic musical egalitarianism, one that treats timbre, instrumentation, and performance conventions with the same levelling hand as serialism did pitch. “No restrictions whatsoever” is what Harper demands of this new modernism, and it is a cri de coeur that is as meticulously and thoroughly explained as it is inspiringly progressive...If there is a danger that a manifesto such as Harper’s—one that propounds a more egalitarian musical world and seeks to imagine the future—should drift into idealism and daydream, or worse, into the very type of proscriptive demagoguery that it seeks to dispel, then Harper counteracts it by providing a framework for reassessing music-making that is practical and thorough, wide-ranging and speculative, yet honest and humble in its intentions... “Why shouldn’t we try to imagine another thousand years of musical history?” asks Harper, defiantly. And in imagining a music with infinite possibility, Harper sees an inspiring, albeit tentative, precursor of this future. ~ Tom Astley, Oxonian Review

It's a very important text for composers today and in the future, and for disillusioned listeners who may feel the need to re-engage with the massive significance of music and music creation in our times... Adam’s book describes the spirit of an open-ended system of continuous, multidimensional musical complexity, based on intuition and technology, culture and community. ~ Cristian Vogel,

Infinite Music is a super clear, open-ended philosophy of sound and music for the post-rave generation. Essential reading for sonic modernists everywhere.

~ Cristian Vogel

A timely analysis of musical evolution at a moment when many practitioners have become fixated on the past and thinkers have found themselves unable to locate possible futures.

~ Steve Goodman,, author of Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear

Adam Harper
Adam Harper Adam Harper discusses aesthetics and criticism in music, art and life on his blog Rouge's Foam. He studies musicology, composes music and ha...
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