Music Samples

A collection of samples and descriptions from my old algorithmic composition software follows. These bits of procedural music were the seeds that inspired my larger quest into the realm of procedural content generation with respect to other fields.

Keep in mind that a computer wrote 100% of each and every MIDI score for these pieces!

Sample 16 March 2010

A surprisingly stylistic sample with a distinctively Irish feel.  Based off of old plugins and old settings, this sample demonstrates the continued ability of even the older plugins to produce creative and surprising material.  Known casually as "An Irish Algorithm" (as it was introduced to the audience of my thesis presentation).

Sample 15 March 2010

Experimentation with a new technique called fractal grammar led to this piece.  Bowed provides the background strings, while an experimental fractal grammar plugin provides three separate melodies on different parts.  The fractal grammar method allows for both contextual and internal coherence, as demonstrated by the lead flute.

Sample 14 December 2009

An interesting, albeit more abstract than usual sample generated with four instances of the new Entropic Root melody plugin. The plugin really isn't designed to be able to provide all types of parts. Still, I find the variability and flexibility of the plugin quite astounding.

Sample 13 December 2009

This strangely "happy" sample displays the abilities of the new Entropic Root plugin. Four instances of Entropic Root combined into one piano part make an interesting song. Surprisingly, this is the first composition by the program that has a "happy" feel to it.

Sample 12 December 2009

Showcasing the new and improved Fraccut v2, this sample develops a nice motif on the piano and then highlights it with a tasteful oboe harmony.  Fraccut v2 wrote two piano parts and one oboe part for the piece.  This is an excellent composition, especially once the oboe comes in! CrystalNet structure, as usual, with ChillZone Pianist strings.

Sample 11 November 2009

Experimentation with Spirit, a new generative module, led to this calming piece. Spirit plays the pizzicato cellos while ChillZone Pianist lays down the background pad. Note that Spirit is the first lead plugin with true polyphony (this sample contains only two tracks, one of each plugin, so the double notes are generated by a single instance of Spirit).

Sample 10 September 2009

A solo oboe opens this gentle piece. It doesn't get interesting until the lush strings come in behind the oboe. A second oboe then joins with a touching harmony. Melodies provided by Fraccut and structure by CrystalNet. For about twenty seconds near the middle of the pieces, this composition swept me away to another world.

Sample 9 September 2009

Relaxing piece showcasing two Fraccut modules, one on a soft synth and the on oboe. Structure by CrystalNet.

Sample 8 August 2009

A beautiful flute/cello piece that shows off the abilities of a second-generation Fraccut engine. Motifs are detectable throughout the piece. ChillZone Pianist, as usual, provides the background strings. An excellent composition of which I am quite proud!

Sample 7 August 2009

Another showcase of the initial version of Fraccut. Not too much different from Sample 6, but still worth mentioning. Same configuration as Sample 6 but different patches used for rendering.

Sample 6 August 2009

Debut sample of Fraccut. Two Fraccut modules provide cellos and ChillZone Pianist provides the background strings. This beautiful piece really grew on me over time. Very unique compared to previous piece. My favorite part is around 1:36-1:45.

Sample 5 July 2009

Showcasing EvoSpeak on the looped arpeggiation and a much-improved GGrewve on the drums. Smooth fills and appropriate style switching can be heard in the drum track. Very nice performance from GGrewve. Also improved core module functionality makes the whole piece more dynamic that previous ones.

Sample 4 June 2009

An early version of the drum plugin GGrewve provides the drum track. EvoSpeak provides background arpeggiation and ChillZone Pianist provides chords.

Sample 3 April 2009

Demonstrates the power of the Conscious Model plugin. Contour Arp provides some background, along with a typical ChillZone Pianist loadout. A very unique piece and one of the earliest and most unexpected examples of motif development.

13 thoughts on “Music Samples”

  1. @Stephen Mann
    Glad you like it! 10 is probably the most surprising/impressive output I've ever had. I was also taken aback by it when it first came out.

  2. This music is .....ok. I wouldn't call it fantastic, but its certainly acceptable as atmospheric music for a space sim.

    Of course when you factor in that its all 100% procedurally generated, well that's just bloody amazing! Brilliant work Josh.

    1. Hey Mark, thanks! No, I certainly wouldn't say this is acceptable quality for a game. If I were to do procedural music for LT, I would have to start from scratch (after all, this was about 3 years ago, I'm sure I could do a better job now with all the new math tricks I've learned!)

      Luckily, it looks like I'll be manually composing for the game, which is fine with me. But you can be sure that I'll revisit this work again someday :)

      1. Actually Josh, I would have been quite happy with some of these tunes as atmospheric music for LT. Not blown away mind you, but happy.

        The fact that they are 3 years old and you can do much better now is pretty damn impressive, the potential of procedural generation has always amazed me and I have always wondered how far it could really be taken.

        I have no doubt that I will continue to be amazed as I follow your work. Good luck.

  3. For being completely random, these are some astonishing tracks. All of them, in my opinion. Not great for a game, as previously mentioned, but if you did procedural music even with this program, I'd be more than happy. But knowing you're that much better in three years, putting that into LT would just be amazing. It already looks like one of the most promising and impressive games I've ever seen. This would just make it that much better.

  4. Wow - I'm very impressed by these! And the fact you feel you can do even better is very promising. I'd be interested to see some level of procedural music in Limit Theory, alongside your own compositions.

  5. I like the music, has a unique tone and feel to it, but I'm just a little confused at how you procedural generated it. That is the part that fascinates me.

  6. Nicely composed. I remember messing about with procedural music generators when I was young, on my Amiga, back in '89 or something. A lot of the time it would sound awful. Your tracks are nice. But there was a game that came out on Amiga in about '92 called Poing, it was great fun. All the music was procedurally generated, they were different every time. The guy who made it (Paul Van der Valk) got the algorithms absolutely perfect and every tune was awesome. I mostly only played the game to listen to the music. I can still hear them in my head. Amazing.

  7. Hi Josh,

    I'm a limit theory backer and found this from there. Its a strange thing to hear this music. There are scores (many scores) of absolute beauty in hear (pun and mis-spell intended). The music makes you want to thank the composer. That's the strange thing. Your code has given a computer the ablilty to CREATE beauty. I have never knowingly listened to Procedural generated music before so I am stunned.

    if this is an indication of what we are in for my anticipation just quintupled.



  8. Josh,

    Like many other's I'm eagerly anticipating LT. I was astounded to see how much you'd accomplished on the procedural music front years ago -- only recently getting into your past blog entries. Procedural music is an area that doesn't have much definitive info on the web, and your samples are mind blowing!

    It was amazing to me, to find the same developer of one of my most anticipated space games, was also someone whose thesis and passion brought them to such a high level of procedural music generation!

    I understand not tackling it in LT1, but I also would put in a vote for procedural music in LT+, the procedural heart of LT should be accompanied by procedural music someday!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Jonathan :) I definitely agree with you! Hoping to see procedural music someday in a future version. Just didn't feel I had enough time to tackle all of that in 1.0 but...I can't wait to get back to this work someday!

  9. 6, 7 and 8 are very spacey for background, to my ears -especially 6/7. - 5 is also interesting - what if it could be combined with 6/7?
    Kind of 'sound on sound' somehow... like building an orchestral.

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An Exploration of Procedural Content in Art, Music, and Reality