[ISEA2008] Paper: Kevin McGee, Srikumar Subramanian & Pierre Martin – MusicAL Composition: supporting end-user music-making


How can computers help people compose music — especially if they have no prior musical training? The history of composition is interwoven with the history of music notation. And for many people, learning and mastering conventional notation systems is itself a barrier to composition. We are investigating this problem by asking the question: what could music notation look like if it was invented now — in the age of computers — rather than during an era dominated by pen and paper? Our initial result is a system — CompositionaALife — that combines insights from end-user programming and artificial life. There are two categories of intended users for the system: composers of compositional methods (e.g., Schoenberg’s twelve-tone method) — and composers who would then create works within a particular method. Using our system, creators of compositional methods create an artificial life “world” (of creatures, environmental features and phenomena, and interaction rules) that provides an acoustic structure for artificial life simulations. Composers then create musical works by creating specific simulations.

  • Kevin McGee, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Srikumar Subramanian, muvee Technologies, Singapore
  • Pierre Martin, Sogeti, France

Full text (PDF) p.  345-346