Monday, November 26, 2007

Algorithmic composition

As we discussed in class today, for Wednesday please comment on this post with some possible data sets, and algorithms for manipulating them, that could generate some good-sounding music. Here are links to the Mozart Musikalische Wurfelspiel (Musical Dice Game); a general Wikipedia description; and an automated version that generates pieces for you automatically.

If you have time, also check out David Cope's Experiments in Musical Intelligence, a project at University of California at Santa Cruz in which a computer is "trained" to compose in the style of any composer, from Bach to Gershwin.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

12-tone composition

For Monday, please make a 12-tone row of your choice (or you can use the one we made in class together on Wednesday) and compose a short piece, say 10 or 15 measures. Try using several different forms and transpositions of the row - for instance, you could start with P0, then RI5, then R0, and end with I5.

You can write for any instrument you like, but don't try writing harmony (two notes at once) - just melody, at least for now. You can use Sibelius or other music notation software, or if you like you can write it out by hand. If you run into trouble, please email me - I'm often hanging out near the CAMIL lab, and I'm happy to meet with you for help on composing. Good luck!

Here's a wikipedia article on twelve-tone technique; and here is a page (UIUC net id required) with many listening examples, some of which are twelve-tone; try listening to the following as an introduction:
  • Arnold Schoenberg, Suite opus 25 for piano (7 short pieces)
  • Anton Webern, Variations for piano opus 27
  • Milton Babbitt, "All Set" (12-tone music for jazz band)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Orbifolds in music

For Wednesday November 1, please check out the following article from the journal Science:

And you can find more background info at Dmitri Tymoczko's homepage:

Including animations (made with Max/MSP/Jitter) of Chopin's e minor prelude, mapped in several different dimensions.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How to turn in your project

Turn your project in any way you can. For example, you can put everything in a folder, and then make a zip archive, and mail us the zip archive. To make a zip archive on a mac, highlight the folder, then do to File -> Create Archive. In unix, at the command line, type tar -czf myproject.tgz myproject to make an archive of a folder called myproject. Sorry, I don't know what to do on a MS-based computer.

Or, you can put the folder or files in the public area of your netfiles, and tell us how to find it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thousands of tuning systems!

Here is a folder of Max patches containing Victor Cerullo's microtuner object, which stores and plays tuning systems in the .mtx format. Included is an archive of thousands of different tuning systems, which boggle the mind.

Also included is a midi file player (the detonate object) and a few midi files to get you started, with Bach and Stevie Wonder; for now, playback is on a sketchy FM synth.

Please experiment with a variety of songs in different tunings, to get an idea of how the different tuning systems sound.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007


I met with a number of you in the last week or so to discuss your projects. I still need to meet with some of you though: let's make sure we get that arranged by the end of today's class. Remember these projects are due Wednesday Octobe 24.

This week I propose we continue to look at scales, chapters 5 and 6 of Benson. For Wednesday (so everyone has time to prepare), I'd particularly like to experiment with the claims in 5.11, about "classical harmony" and its relationship to various scales. So have a look at that section. And, let's see what Steve suggests.