Generative Music

02/08/2011

In the latter half of my second year of university we had a lecture on algorithmic and generative music. I find it fascinating that, once you the composer have outlined some rules or some boundaries, you simply ‘press go’ and the piece generates itself. I liked the idea that instead of distributing music you could distribute sets of rules or ‘circumstances’ so that the music is created afresh for the listener at every play.

I decided that at some point over the summer break I would attempt to explore my own generative compositions and am currently working my way through this pdf in an attempt to get my head around the style.

I have also started constructing a Pure Data patch that generates very simple compositions using random numbers and preloaded samples.

At the moment I am fairly happy with the results but know there are tons of ways in which the patch can be developed, of course resulting in more complex and more interesting musical results. For example, I want to ‘weight’ the random elements of the patch so that at some times, some notes appear more often then others, and so that at some points in the composition there are much longer pauses of silence.

Below is a piece generated by the patch, and also a screen shot of the patch itself. Simple, yes, but a start none the less.

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3 Responses to “Generative Music”


  1. […] I can’t help but draw some comparisons between the technique used for creating these lyrics, and other techniques I have used in the past for creating music, most noticeably my MultiLoop Performance Tool, and what would become ‘Playing the Weather’. […]


  2. […] spent quite a lot of time exploring Generative Music ideas over the last few years, and even gave a talk on the subject (titled ‘Pure Data, […]


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