Category Archives: music and philosophy

Abstract: Do the ideas in André Pogoriloffsky’s The Music of the Temporalists have any practical application?

Proposal for individual paper for CityMAC 2018, a conference at City University of London sponsored by the Society for Music Analysis and Blackwell Wiley. The conference took place on 5-7 July 2018.  The full conference programme can be downloaded from here: CityMAC-2018-Programme-11.05

Paper title: Do the ideas in André Pogoriloffsky’s The Music of the Temporalists have any practical application?

Author: Barry Mitchell


The Music of the Temporalists (2011) by Andre Pogoriloffsky (the pen name of Romanian musicologist Andrei Covaciu-Pogorilowski, b. 1968) is a fantastical tale where the hero visits a parallel world inhabited by people who cultivate music within a unique paradigm: music as art of time, not as an art of sounds. In this imaginary world the most important factor in the creation of music is how long sounds last. Once in this world, the hero settles down to study temporalist music in detail, resulting in a fairly complete exposition of temporalist theoretical concepts as well as an outline of temporalist music’s history and competing schools. While the general tone of the book is rather whimsical and is akin to works like Gulliver’s Travels or Alice in Wonderland (probably more the latter), the music theories but forward are detailed and often quite obscure. Some of the chapter titles give a flavour of the contents: The IOI1 150ms temporal mode; The temporalist music semiography; The illusory life of accents; The compound temporal mode IOI 450ms; Crepitus acciaccaturas (or crushing notes); A (very) approximate history of temporalist music.

The ideas in The Music of the Temporalists are intentionally whimsical and fantastic, to the extent that they might seem to have no practical application in the real world. This paper argues that the ideas of André Pogoriloffsky can have a practical application. Using the idea of translation the paper demonstrates how we could indeed compose a piece based on temporalist ideas.


Barry Mitchell

11a Walpole Gardens





5 February 2018

1IOI is an acroynm for inter-onset-interval.