Gerhard Nierhaus

Books on AC

This book is the result of a three year research project (POINT) which investigated the creative act of composing by means of algorithmic composition. Central to the investigation are the compositional strategies of 12 composers, which were documented through a dialogic and cyclic process of modelling and evaluating musical materials. The aesthetic premises and compositional approaches configure a rich spectrum of diverse positions, which is reflected also in the kinds of approaches and methods used. These approaches and methods include the generation and evaluation of chord sequences using genetic algorithms, the application of morphing strategies to research harmonic transformations, an automatic classification of personal preferences via machine learning, and an application of mathematical music theory to the analysis and resynthesis of musical material. The second part of the book features contributions by Sandeep Bhagwati, William Brooks, David Cope, Darla Crispin, Nicolas Donin, and Guerino Mazzola. These authors variously consider the project from different perspectives, offer independent approaches, or provide more general reflections from their respective research fields.

You will find additional information and the table of contents (here).

This book attempts to provide a pragmatic overview of dominant procedures of Algorithmic Composition. This book does not deal with practical or musicological aspects in the context of contemporary music composition nor algoritmic working methods of composers like Xenakis or König. If you are interested in these aspects books like 'Formalized Music' are an excellent choice. In addition to an historic overview, each chapter presents a specific class of algorithm in a compositional context by providing a general introduction to its development and theoretical basis and describes some musical applications, as the generation of musical structures according to a given style.

You will find additional information and the table of contents (here).


This book (in German) was the result of a two year research project in collaboration with eight composers. The project explored the use of techniques Algorithmic Composition in the context of contemporary music composition.