Polyphonic Music Composition with Grammars

Lukas Eibensteiner

Supervisor(s): Mag. Martin IlcĂ­k

TU Wien

Abstract: Prior works on music composition with grammars tend to focus on the generation of sequential structures, such as melodies, harmonic progressions, and rhythmic patterns. While the natural output of a grammar is a sequence, this does not have to be reflected in the chronology of the composition. Shape grammar researchers have long internalized this perspective and have used grammars to distribute geometric entities across multiple spatial dimensions. We take inspiration from these works and allow free placement of musical entities on the timeline. With overlapping entities we can model chords, preludes, drum patterns, voices---polyphony on small and large scales. Beyond a theoretic discussion of techniques for polyphonic composition with non-deterministic context-free grammars, we present the results of a procedural music generator built on these principles.
Keywords: Music and Sound
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Year: 2021