Seminar: Algorithmic Composition with “slippery chicken” by Michael Edwards
C4DM seminar by Michael Edwards (University of Edinburgh)
“slippery chicken” is an open-source Common Lisp environment for declarative or generative algorithmic composition building on CLM, CMN, CM, and Lilypond for score, sound file, and/or MIDI file outputs and the integration of these into closely aligned hybrid acoustic-electronic pieces of music.
“slippery chicken” enables a top-down approach to music composition. The software was originally tailor-made to encapsulate the author’s personal composition techniques, however many general-purpose algorithmic composition tools have been programmed that should be useful to a range of composers. The main goal of the project is to facilitate a melding of electronic and instrumental sound worlds, not just at the sonic but also at the structural level. Pure instrumental or electronic composition is of course possible too. Techniques for the innovative combination of rhythm and pitch data—arguably one of the most difficult aspects of making convincing musical algorithms—are offered. “slippery chicken” has no graphical user interface and there are no plans to make one. Whilst it is clear that this will be off-putting to some, there are many benefits to interacting with such a system through the programming language it was created in, not least of which is the infinite-extensibility that such an approach infers.