I think that generative and emergent music mean different things. In my view generative music is based on algorithms that try to mimic natural dynamics. Emergent music on the other hand is not based on algorithms but an analysis (of natural processes), and the outcome can’t be mathematically formulated.
The dynamics are in constant change, but on the other hand in the context for example the sound of waves or wind is based on the physical properties of the said processes and the environment. They are not random, but they also never repeat themselves and there’s constant change, evolution.
I’m thinking about this because I’ve maybe found a label for the music I create – emergent spectral ambient.
For an example and to make my point; yesterday I was experimenting with Spectral Toolbox for Max/MSP. There is a wonderful tool there, that remaps the target sound’s partials to the nearest overtone of a harmonic series, where the fundamental frequency can come from another sound. I created a multi path system instead of just one harmonic set, which was then fed by a frequency analyzer in realtime.
In the experiment a sound of wind provides the partials, and a short cello progression the fundamentals. The combination of natural dynamics and the continuity errors in the analysis process create something unexpected, a whole piece of music with melody and harmony that goes on for eternity.
The scintillating piece is also on SoundCloud.