Fifteen Years of Computer-Assisted Composition

Stephen Travis Pope

Computer Music Journal, and CNMAT
Dept. of music, U. C. Berkeley
P. 0. Box 9496, Berkeley, California, 94709 USA


This paper describes several generations of computer music systtems and the music they have enabled. lt will introduce the software twools used in some of my music compositions realized in the years 1979-94 at a variety of studios using various software and hardware systems and programming languages. These tools use a wide range of compositional methods, including (among others): high-level graphical notations, limited stochastic selection, Markov transition tables, forward-chaining expert systems, non-deterministic Petri networks, and hierarchical rule-based knowledge systems. The paper begins by defining several of the terms that are frequently used in the computer music literature with respect to computer-aided composition and realization, and introduces several of the categories of modern models of music composition. A series of indepth examples are then drawn from my works of the last 15 years, giving descriptions of the models, the software tools, and demonstrating the resulting music.