Our spring sale is on! Use promo code SPRING24 at checkout to save 50% on any order!

Algorithmic Composition

A Guide to Composing Music with Nyquist

Paperback : 9780472035236, 264 pages, 13 tables, 33 B&W illustrations, 6 x 9, January 2013
Ebook : 9780472029051, 262 pages, 13 tables, 33 illustrations, 6 x 9, January 2013
See expanded detail +

Algorithmic Composition offers new ways of thinking about the organization of sound that we call music

Look Inside


Composers have used formalized procedures to create music throughout history. With the advent of the computer, algorithmic composition allows composers not only to create and experiment with different formalisms, but to hear and evaluate results quickly. Often in algorithmic composition, the composer has only a vague idea how the output will sound, but because the input is highly automated, the composer can make adjustments to take advantage of happy accidents, program bugs, and other creative sources of sound.

Algorithmic Composition: A Guide to Composing Music with Nyquist provides an overview of procedural approaches to music generation. It introduces programming concepts through many examples written using the Nyquist system for music composition and sound synthesis. Nyquist is freely available software, and over 100 program examples from this book are available in electronic form. Readers will be well equipped to develop their own algorithms for composition.

Music students who are learning about computer music and electronic music will all be interested in this innovative book, as generative music becomes an important part of the future of the discipline. Students and scholars in computer science will also find much to interest them, in a straightforward and fun way.

Mary Simoni is Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Professor Emerita, Performing Arts Technology, at the University of Michigan. Her music and multimedia works have been performed in Asia, in Europe, and widely throughout the United States and have been recorded by Centaur Records, the Leonardo Music Journal, and the International Computer Music Association. As a pianist, she has performed with live electronics at national and international festivals. Dr. Simoni is a past president of the International Computer Music Association.

Roger B. Dannenberg is Professor of Computer Science, Art, and Music at Carnegie Mellon University. His pioneering work in computer accompaniment led to three patents and the SmartMusic system now used by tens of thousands of music students. He also co-designed Audacity, a popular audio editor, and created Nyquist, the composition and synthesis system featured in this book. As a trumpet player, he has performed in the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem as well as concert halls in Europe, in South and Central America, and across the United States.