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aleatory (AY-lee-uh-tor-ee, -tohr-ee) adjective

1. Dependent on chance, luck, or an uncertain outcome.

2. Of or characterized by gambling.

3. Also aleatoric. Music. Using or consisting of sounds to be chosen by the performer or left to chance; indeterminate.

[Latin aleatorius, from aleator, gambler, from alea, dice.]

"Here is a typical and wonderful passage, not cited by Ryan, from Experience and Nature: Man finds himself living in an aleatory world; his existence involves, to put it baldly, a gamble." Holmes, Stephen, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (book reviews), The New Republic, 11 Mar 1996.

"There are bursts of outward energy and dissonance set off by lengths of inner lyricism, there is a fascination with near-Eastern sounds that would emerge so strongly in the Oboe Concerto and the opera, and there are freewheeling passages that would eventually become stretches of out-and-out aleatory music." John Ardoin, Early concerto presages Corigliano's brilliance, The Dallas Morning News, 25 Aug 1996.


If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe. -Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

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