One of the greatest pleasures of developing my algorithmic composition software is watching what happens when it’s taken up by other composers. It’s always astonishing to me to hear the variety of music that comes out of even quite orthodox use of the software. We’ve just presented a concert of nine new algorithmic works composed for the Disklavier at Goldsmiths. Robot piano music, Dan Ross called it, and though there were no actual robots in the sense that you might imagine from such a description, the Disklavier’s computer controlled hammers offered a precision attack that was particularly striking in the onsets of some of the massive chords that were generated.

Several of the pieces were developed over the last couple of months (and several coding sessions) in Edinburgh; others arose in just the last week. They ranged from Schillinger-inspired rhythmic structures to conflations of different pieces made with the rhythm chains algorithm; from the generation of musical parameters from chaos algorithms to those based on biomechanics; from Xenakis-style sieving to randomness to irrational rhythms from permutated proportions. With the permission of the composers I’ll post recordings of the the music on this blog as soon as possible.

 

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Last-minute hammer velocity tweaking at the Goldsmiths slippery-chicken symposium