# algorithms in Csound

Hello, I'm interested in exploring algorithms when creating music. I was wondering where I can read up about using algorithms whether it be Csound or some other program. I never used algorithms before and I am curious to see what kind of results I can get. Please let me know if you have any recommendations on what books to read or what programs I can use to experiment with them. Thank you.

Best,
John

### What sense of "algorithm"?

The word "algorithm" is ambiguous in this context. Some electronic-music lingo uses "algorithm" to mean "a configuration of signal-processing units" (eg filters, phasers, etc); whereas in software "algorithm" means basically "an unambiguous recipe for accomplishing a given task". And "algorithmic music", as I understand it, refers to compositions that are created by computer programs that produce a score as a side affect of performing some other computation (which is necessarily implemented by an "algorithm" in the software sense); I think this kind of composition is sometimes also referred to as "aleatoric" composition, because the algorithmic nature is not really the focus. And "aleatoric" also refers to music that arises from the conversion of some natural or random process into music; in the "algorithmic music" case the "natural process" is the underlying computation that generates the score.

So the question is, which sense of "algorithm" do you intend?

Cheers,

-- JK

### here's a good source of

here's a good source of information about algorithmic composition

http://www.flexatone.net/algoNet/sysDate.html

-mario

### Re: algorithmic composition and Csound

Since you do not seem to have any specific algorithms in mind, I would suggest that you pick a software composition environment geared toward algorithmic music and explore its capabilities. Three good choices come to mind: Common Music, athenaCL, and AC Toolbox. There is a book on algorithmic composition by Rick Taube called "Notes from the Metalevel" that is a good introduction to the subject and gives examples in Lisp using Common Music. The other two pieces of software come with good tutorials. All three of these software environments support Csound output as well as Midi.

Common Music
http://commonmusic.sourceforge.net/

AC Toolbox
http://www.koncon.nl/ACToolbox/

Notes from the Metalevel
http://www.amazon.com/Notes-Metalevel-Introduction-Computer-Composition/...

(I link to Amazon only because the publisher's site gives virtually no information about the book. Note that both sites give an incorrect subtitle for the book. It should be "An Introduction to Algorithmic Music Composition").

Hope that these suggestions help. There are a myriad of ways and tools for approaching algorithmic composition, but I think that these tools provide thorough tutorials. Once you get a handle on the basics, you can use almost any general-purpose programming language (or Csound itself) to generate algorithmic scores. But it can save time to have a "toolbox" of high-level composition-specific algorithms at your fingertips. That is what all three of these software environments give you.

-- Anthony

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