Algorithmic Composition

Since the appearance of the first computers, throughout the second half of the 20th century, their ability for musical creation and expression has been explored. Thus, a vast field of research, software development and artistic productions known generically as Computer Music has been developed.

Consequently, this field is strongly related to all previous musical experience, traditionally dissociated between the writing of musical structures, by means of score, and the performances of them, through instruments. For this reason, it is common to find differentiated software functions to produce, on the one hand, musical event structures or notes and, on the other, sounds that will be applied to such notes.

The Algorithmic Composition, also known as Computer Aided Composition, is the area of ​​Computer Music that deals mainly with the application of automated processes for the generation of musical structures. Its name is due to the fact that these processes are usually of a mathematical or algorithmic nature, normally implemented by computer programming languages.

Surprisingly, and despite the current implementation of computer media, the generalized habit of composing and writing scores is done manually, that is, note by note. It is our conviction, from Algorithmic Music Lab, that the Algorithmic Composition will play an important role in music composition, in the same way that the computer means are applied to the practically all of the social, scientific and artistic fields. And not only because of a modernization issue, but because Algorithmic Composition can allow the conception and development of musical structures that are unrealizable manually. In short, it allows access to new artistic spaces.


To know more...

Do you want to know more?... Of course, first of all we recommend consulting the activity of the members of Algorithmic Music Lab, specially the projects developed and the music created by them, which you will find on their personal websites. Wikipedia also offers useful generic information:

Algorithmic Composition

Music and Artificial Intelligence

List of Music Software


Michael Edwards' article, "Algorithmic Composition: Computational Thinking in Music," published in the journal Communications of ACM, Vol. 54 No. 7, Pages 58-67, provides a useful overview as an introduction. It is also available in PDF format.

Finally, we also recommend reading the books of Gerhard Nierhaus listed below...