I've written a program which generates short musical patterns. I'd be interested to know what you think, and what I could add to this structure.

Computer-Generated Music - example 1.mid

Computer-Generated Music - example 1.pdf

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  • Hi James, 

    It is preferred when posting a music file to use an MP3, as it is the closest thing to a universal file format. Not everyone can play a MID file. I was not able to play it.


  • Interesting.  How did you do it?  

    Then I may make some propositions according to your tools.


    • The program has an array giving scores for how dissonant particular intervals are.

      It has two variables--the maximum dissonance that any interval can have, and the maximum average dissonance that a section can have.

      It creates a bar in which the melodic movements are acceptably consonant.

      Then it creates another bar, also with consonant melody, varying only one note by 1 or 2 semitones.

      The accompanying note--the 'flute' sound--has to be acceptably consonant with the bar it accompanies, has to be outside the range of the main bar, and has to be a new note (eg if the bar has a C, the accompanying note can't be a C).

      • It seems there is little or no flexibility left to the composer.  It not only generates the notes

        but also composes them...  This looks like a tool for a person who does not know

        composing at all and the computer does it for him.  


        Any comments?



        • Yes, it's intended to be entirely computer-generated.

  • I accept the project as your hobby, unsue of what you want said. 

    It seems a little premature to present it as it is and a lot of work will be needed to produce more than the simplest of runs.

    Do you input any critera: how long do you want the piece? How randon is the rhytm to be? Is the ensemble pre-decided? Are there points at which human intervention is sought? And on.

    I'm inclined to agree with Ali, there seems little point in computer-generated music if there's no human intervention. It may sound novel. it may be clever but a computer doesn't have the sensory/neural apparatus of a human.

    I look back to the early70s with Morton Subotnik - computer-generated music, more properly electronic music (and I had a go myself with a "project 80" (analogue) synthesiser where successions of events could be triggered by a randomly timed stepper). But does the music have meaning in the broader experiential, semiotic sense beyond the limits constrained by the programmer?

    With some Subotnik-styled music it would probably save human effort sticking a microphone between the speakers to do the listening (which, give it its dues, could be used to fire off multi-media experiences, as in the Digital Arts Museum, Tokyo well worth a look-in!). 

    However, I'm also aware that simple tunes and arrangements can be computer generated, certain that much ad and TV incidental music is.

    But it's a start. I look forward to a greater elaboration. You didn't mention in what language you were coding it.

    • If you posted a piece of music, asking for feedback, and the feedback was "I accept that music is your hobby, but there seems to be little point to it", would you believe that you had received useful feedback?

      If you posted a piece of music, asking "what I could add to this structure", and the feedback was "I'm unsure of what you want said", would you believe that the person giving you feedback had even read what you posted?


    You said: “I'd be interested to know what you think, and what I could add to this structure.”

    I believe I told you what I thought. If you wanted feedback on the actual music, here it comes: the thematic material, as presented seems to have very limited development potential.

    I ordinarily consider that music is composed for an audience even if just one listener. Sound is a medium of communication. For that to succeed there has to be some common understanding of the conventions between transmitter (composer/performer) and receiver (listener). Of course this is an assumption. It doesn’t have to be listened to or to stimulate any experience in a potential listener. There are plenty of natural sounds that are meaningless to humans. But once a human organises sounds we have a composition.

    I asked myself what I took from listening to your work and frankly not a lot musical, just an endlessly repeated pair of phrases, but an interesting project that needed a lot of development. You declined to say what language you programmed it in.

    In your case it isn’t truly computer-generated because you’ve programmed what it can compose. I still agree with Ali who has created a few computer pieces but stressed the need for (human) intervention at various stages.

    Apologies I didn’t give you the answer you wanted. I shouldn't have replied at all and will delete my replies if you'd prefer.

    I’ll end here, except with perhaps a suggestion that you expand the program to do more toward the complex issue of the counterpoint you speak of in your profile.

    All good wishes,


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