Grammar-based music composition

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    Abstract

    L-Systems have traditionally been used as a popular method for the modelling of space-filling curves, biological systems and morphogenesis. In this paper, we adapt string rewriting grammars based on L-Systems into a system for music composition. Representation of pitch, duration and timbre are encoded as grammar symbols, upon which a series of rewriting rules are applied. Parametric extensions to the grammar allow the specification of continuous data for the purposes of modulation and control. Such continuous data is also under control of the grammar. Using non-deterministic grammars with context sensitivity allows the simulation of Nth-order Markov models with a more economical representation than transition matrices and greater flexibility than previous composition models based on finite state automata or Petri nets. Using symbols in the grammar to represent relationships between notes (rather than absolute notes) in combination with a hierarchical grammar representation, permits the emergence of complex music compositions from relatively simple grammars.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages14
    JournalComplexity International
    Volume3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1996

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