Algorithmic Orchestration! (with video demonstration/introduction)

Hi all! I've been meaning to start joining discussions on this board regularly, though I've not managed to successfully build the habit yet. I do have some cool algorithmic art with TidalCycles to share today though, so I'm dropping in!

This is firstly a tech demo presenting a live coding 'structural concept' that I think of as 'Algorithmic Orchestration'. In the interest of demonstration I've included an example piece of music -- a transcription of Igor Stravinskys 'Suite No.1 for small orchestra, I.Andante'

“My music of today is so much based on the new musical technology. We use the technology as a material for our musical art”
Igor Stravinsky, 1957

In terms of creative application, I see three immediate directions of approach:

1: Transcription of existing/traditional orchestral scores into algorithmic representation. This is primarily an analytic process which provides a deep insight into the structural properties of an existing work.

2: Transcription of algorithmically created works onto playable orchestral scores for performance by a contemporary orchestra. This represents a personal compositional process/methodology alongside existing/traditional cognitive 'technologies' of composition. Close attention to principles of practical orchestration will be necessary throughout the algorithmic and notational phases of composing.

3: Direct performance of the orchestral work via an interface of pure text ('Live Coding'). As code is typed and executed in real time, the musical composition will build up and develop. Material could be memorised and rehearsed or improvised. Principles of practical orchestration could be adhered to or ignored under this approach.

Approaches 2 & 3 logically presents a fourth application:

4: A combination of 2 & 3 in performance at the same time.

I'm planning to create future demonstrations showcasing all these approaches

I'd love to hear any questions or opinions that anyone has about this concept! I've been working hard on it and I have a lot of fascinating and exciting (to me at least!) additions in development to further enrich the scope of the project.

Oscar South

GitHub for my own music experimentation codebase:


Thanks for sharing, this is excellent !

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Thanks! I noticed I forgot to turn the hall reverb on the desk back on after speaking, so next will sound even better! I had balanced the depth quite carefully for realism.

I have lots of ideas for future demonstrations although I'm mainly working on more transcriptions and some original arrangements for some releases due through November. I'll probably start sharing more examples with explanation once I have completed some of these initial practical goals.

I also have some more and very cool sound sources to incorporate! I'll definitely include them in future demonstrations:

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Thanks ! I'm eager to learn more; for example how you do proceed from a sheet of music to Tidal .. I'll try to delve into your code in the meawhile, and yes, nice setup with the Moogs :slight_smile: !

Hi again! After playing with MPC sampling flow for a few months (which I'm now patterning with Tidalcycles!) I'm revisiting my Algorithmic Orchestration experimentation, so I'll try and share some things as I go. I tend to move on from one idea to the next, so if anyone has any specific aspects that they're interested in or questions, then let me know and I'll address that in particular.

In the meanwhile, here's a track that I made using the techniques I demonstrated in the video above!

Every element of the track other than the vocals and 'khomus' instrument were created by TidalCycles patterning a Moog Mother-32, DFAM and Alesis NanoSynth module by MIDI.

I will share the code used to generate the track -- it looks like a very large seqP function! It's quite messy though so I need to clean up the file first (and I want to play with some other specific music ideas for the next track first..).

Thanks for listening, if you made it this far :slight_smile:


Excellent, thanks for sharing !