Computer Generated Notation of Electronic Music

by Benjamin Hackbarth
March 1, 2017, 10:51 pm

Representing electronic music in a compositional score presents a variety of challenges to the composer, due in large part to fact the electronic sound events are often not conceptualised within the constraints of music notation and are often more dependant on timbre and colour.  The passages below, from the score of my piece “Dot Matrix Dialect” (2016), are generated automatically by analysing individual components of the fixed media part.  Audio descriptors are measured for each sound and then a clustering analysis is done to assign each sound one of several colours depending on timbral characteristics.  Then each sound is drawn according to several significant perceptual features, including amplitude (size of noteheads, thickness of sustain lines and overall colour saturation) and centroid/f0 (yielding a “pitch” of each event and thus enabling a piano-roll style vertical representation).  The software is written in Python and vector graphics drawing is done in Processing.

Example 1

Example 2

Instruments and Computer Sound (10) Computer-Aided Composition (4) Music Information Retrieval (3) Graphic Notation (2)