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There’s an idea, dreamt up by Herman Hesse, of a game played in the far future, where highly-learned intellectuals pit the theories, patterns, and ideas of music, mathematics, science, art and philosophy against each other.

Hesse describes very little of the rules and intricacies of The Glass Bead Game in his novel of the same name. The details are left somewhat to the imagination, yet the codification of these disciplines and the ensuing correlations between them are almost impossible to imagine.

Despite this, many readers are captivated by the mere notion of such a game. When the details of such a game are so hard to imagine, why is the overview so appealing?

Amongst all the things it attempts, science tries to enrich our understanding of music and art (through, for example, sonology and psychology). In reverse, some of the most fascinating works of art and music strive to represent and utilise not only scientific knowledge, but cross over to other art forms, and draw on these too.

The interdisciplinary stimulus or concept may be completely unrecognisable in a final work, but in its creation, a highly-conceptual work alludes to Hesse’s grand idea: the play of almost seamless interrelationships between disciplines.

You will seldom hear the mathematics or set theory in a serialist piece; the visual material in the realisation of a graphic score; nor the philosophy that sparked a composition: when you delve into these though, there is another fascinating layer to a work.

The work featured in CNCPTN magazine profiles new contemporary music, and the concepts behind each work. The cross-disciplinary mastery or neatness of Hesse’s Glass Bead Game can’t be reached, but whilst we can, we will allude to it.

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CNCPTN ( is a bi-monthly e-zine focusing on the concepts and designs behind the work of selected young composers and artists, where each piece has been conceived not only with the final sonic result in mind, but also to express or represent some pre-conceived concept or design.

CNCPTN05 is taking submissions now - to submit work, or for more information, contact Simon Kinch at