The purpose of Studio FLAT is to enable creative research in computer music composition at the University of Manitoba. The MC (Musical Constraints) extension to the PatchWorkGL environment is the result of research done at Studio FLAT.
The research in Computer Assisted Composition focuses on the formalization of musical structures as Constraint Satisfaction Problems. The research is from a composer's perspective and the intention is to express compositional ideas as rules. By applying well-known constraints programming techniques from computer science a computer can search for musical structures that fulfill the rules the composer defines. The resulting musical structure is used for musical composition.
The research investigates new types of rules different from the rules found in historical music (a typical example of historical musical rules can be found in Gradus ad Parnassum by J. Fux, 1725). Computer related techniques open up for new ways of defining what a musical rule is. New views on how musical structures can be described create new methods for music composition.
Lisp-based environments (PatchWorkGL and OpenMusic) are used as platforms for the research.
Studio FLAT is also active in the field of interactive computer music. There are two goals for these activities: to create new music that explores the latest computer technology, and to investigate new limits for musical expression in experiments and compositions where performers interact with technology.