Algorithmic Composition

A Guide to Composing Music with Nyquist

Mary Simoni and Roger B. Dannenberg

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

About the book:

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. 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 one hundred program examples from this book are available in electronic form. Readers will be well equipped to develop their own algorithms for composition.

About the authors:

Mary Simoni is Dean of Humanities, Arts & 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, 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. She is a recipient of the Computer World Honors Award for her work in digital music information retrieval. She is the author of A Gentle Introduction to Algorithmic Composition and Analytical Methods of Electroacoustic Music. 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, South and Central America, and across the United States. He is active in performing jazz, classical, and new works including his compositions for interactive media.