Areas of Interest: electrical engineering, music, art and science, chaos theory,
musical variation. 

Dr. Dabby's research interests revolve around design at the interface of art and
science via electrical engineering (signals and systems, nonlinear dynamics, chaos,
acoustics) and Music (composition, musical variation, theory, performance). 

Project in chaos theory and music: A chaotic mapping provides the engine for making
musical variations of an original work. Based on a natural mechanism for variability
found in the science of chaos, this variation technique employs two chaotic trajectories
that map the pitch sequence of a musical score into a variation based on the pitch events
of a given piece. The variations can be close to the original, diverge from it
substantially, or achieve degrees of variability between these two extremes. The
technique can serve as an idea generator or as a springboard for a dynamic music where a
work can change from one hearing to the next-not in random ways-but rather by musical
choice. The technique does not generate music nor any other kind of data as random
events; rather, it creates a rich set of variations on an already completed piece or
sequence of symbols. 

Up to now, the variation technique utilized only the pitch sequence of an original work.
The goal is to extend the variation technique to include rhythm as well. 

Project in chaos theory and image: More generally, the technique can take any sequence of
context-dependent symbols as input (e.g., parsed pixel sequences from scanned art work,
word sequences from prose or poetry, textural sequences requiring some intrinsic
variation), and produce a virtually infinite number of variations. 

This project applies the chaotic mapping to imagery in order to create any number of
variations of a given picture. 

Project in Music and Letters: Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), a Russian composer and noted
chemist, wrote some of the most memorable music of the late 19th century. He also
authored 40 journal papers from 1858 (the year he defended his thesis) until 1886 (two
years before his death at 54). He championed the educational rights of women in Russia,
organizing the higher medical courses for women at the Medical-Surgical Academy in St.
Petersburg. Yet many of Borodin's letters to colleagues remain untranslated from
Russian to English, depriving scholars, theorists, and performers a fuller picture of a
man revered for his generosity, talents, and good will. Dr. Dabby is supervising the work
of an Olin undergraduate and native Russian speaker who is translating letters spanning
Borodin's life. 

Articles

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Creating Musical Variation, Science (2008)

Inspiration for composition may come from natural sounds, chance, and methods based on chaos theory.

 

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The Olin Curriculum: Thinking Toward the Future (with Mark Somerville; David Anderson; Hillary Berbeco; John Bourne; Jill Crisman; Helen Donis-Keller; Stephen Holt; Sherra E. Kerns; David V. Kerns, Jr.; Robert Martello; Richard Miller; Michael Moody; Gill Pratt; Joanne C. Pratt; Christina Shea; Stephen Schiffman; Sarah Spence Adams; Lynn Andrea Stein; Jonathan Stolk; Brian D. Storey; Burt S. Tilley; Benjamin Vandiver; and Yevgeniya Zastavker), IEEE Transactions on Education (2005)

In 1997, the F. W. Olin Foundation of New York established the Franklin W. Olin...

 

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Method of and Apparatus for Computer-Aided Generation of Variations of a Sequence of Symbols, Such as a Musical Piece, and Other Data, Character or Image Sequences, U.S. Patent No. 5,606,144 (1997)

A procedure for generating different variations of a sequence of symbols, such as a musical...

 

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Musical Variations from a Chaotic Mapping, Chaos (1996)

A chaotic mapping provides a technique for generating musical variations of an original work. This...