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Autonomous Evolution of Complete Piano Pieces and Performances

Conference paper
Authors Palle Dahlstedt
Published in Proceedings of MusicAL Workshop, in Fernando Almeida e Costa et al (Eds.): Advances in Artificial Life, 9th European Conference, ECAL 2007, Lisbon, Portugal, September 10-14, 2007, Proceedings (Workshop CDROM). Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4648 Springer 2007
ISBN 978-3-540-74912-7
Publication year 2007
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords music composition, piano music, music interpretation, evolutionary algorithms, data representations, generative music, computer music
Subject categories Computer Science, Musicology


Evolutionary algorithms are used to evolve musical score material and corresponding performance data, in an autonomous process. In this way complete piano compositions are created and subsequently performed on a computer-controlled grand piano. The efficiency of the creative evolution depends to a large extent on the representation used, which in this case is based on recursively described binary trees. They can represent a wide variety of musical material and corresponding performance data in a compact form, with an inherent potential for musically meaningful variations and archetypal musical gestures. This is combined with a set of automated formalized selection criteria based on experiences from human selection processes in a previous, interactive version of the same system, leading to surprisingly musical output and convincing performances. The system is also capable of rudimentary learning, through recycling of its own musical output, and an accumulated database of human musical input.

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