Making Complex Music with Simple Algorithms, is it Even Possible?

Risto Holopainen


Algorithmic composition is often limited to score generation, but may also include sound production. All levels from sound synthesis to the generation of a complete composition can be integrated into one monolithic program. A strict separation of the low level of sound synthesis and higher levels otherwise reserved for algorithmic composition is not necessary, information can flow between all levels. An interesting challenge in this kind of thorough algorithmic composition is to generate as complex music as possible with as little code as possible. The challenge has been accepted, successfully or not, in a series of compositions called Kolmogorov Variations. We discuss the techniques used in a few of the pieces as well as the promises and perils of this strict approach to algorithmic composition.


Algorithmic composition; Computational complexity; Dynamic systems; Acoustic processing

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