Algorithmic Composer José Ignacio Quevedo Gómez # 2

Just want to share my music done in SuperCollider and SCAMP (Suite for Composing Algorithmic Music in Python).

I like to share this pseudo-paper I`m generating about the history and characteristics of Algorithmic Composition.

Jose Ignacio Quevedo Gómez is a Colombian & Latin American Algorithmic Composer.


“Algorithmic Composition”. By: José Ignacio Quevedo Gómez (2020).


The algorithmic composition, which is what is being considered here. In this, 1 Album, Internet store of Music more than everything of a more alternative nature; It is something that was born in the way we see it today in the middle of the 20th century. Since the times of Pythagoras or even in the Renaissance with Guido d 'Arezzo who creates the writing currently used by acoustic musicians, a mathematical sense of Music has been created, a mathematical organization of Music. Actually the idea of ​​algorithm was born in Ancient Persia with Abu Abdullah Mohammed ben Musa Alkhwarizmi, he created the idea or concept of mathematical algorithm. Currently when one sees an undergraduate course in algorithms, basically what he learns is how to translate into computer code a series of mathematical steps ordered to fulfill a specific task. The Algorithmic Composition uses computer codes, (Software programming languages ​​with their own programming languages, these based on the programming languages ​​created by Systems Engineers); These codes recreate binary-mind (Boolean Algebra), the mathematical algorithms that the Composer created to hear the Music that he wants to compose. The sound card of the computer converts by means of machine language, the code of the programming language into Music for the speakers or acoustic monitors of the computer, and there the Mathematical Music is heard through the Human ear. The compositions of my Album are based on the following Mathematics: Statistics, Probability, Stochastics and Chaos with Dynamic Systems, in addition to Fractals. [3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23].


This text recreates my Philosophical position before the Music I make, which is “Electroacoustic and Acoustic, but of an Algorithmic type”:

Although we find in Hegel the abstract dialectic of the emergence of ideas and thought, it is clearly seen that the Algorithmic Composition poses a failure for me, partially, in the sense of Jaspers, because his approach is totally rooted in Comte. But we also see a vitalism of Nietzsche’s Super Man in Algorithmic Composition, since you have to be a Musician, Systems Engineer and Mathematician. Algorithmic music shows the influence of Comte’s positivist theories, since improvisation and Sartre’s need to be free do not fit in it. These ideas cause me a certain pessimism towards a pro-Schopenhauer idea. And from the Frankfurt School I am interested in certain ideas such as Habermas’s on possible communication, Popper’s science. Kuhn’s theory of paradigms suggests that Algorithmic Music is proposing a definitive change towards Live-Coding, Improvisation and Chaotic Interfaces, with Microcontrollers. This indicates that the old age of mathematical formalism is ending, which is being replaced by a post-modern conception of unplanned mathematics and unclear musical outcome. This is what I will try to focus on with the new Algorithmic Albums that I will make in the future. It is about finding a new Husserlean phenomenology in mathematical sound ". (This is my personal position on Algorithmic Composition. José Ignacio Quevedo Gómez, 2020). [1; 2; 4; 5; 6; 7; 11; 12; 13; 14; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23].

The Algorithmic Composition that I made in this Album is made with the following softwares, most of them free:

  1. SuperCollider.
  2. ChucK.
  3. JAMin.
  4. Audacity.
  5. SCAMP.

As you can see, some are virtual synthesizers for Mathematical Composition, others are audio file editors, to edit the acoustic waves on the computer, others are software for sound mastering or sound post-production. Others are acoustic music editors in MIDI and Soundfonts, in Python language. [3; 4; 6; 19; 20; 21].

Operating Systems I use: Linux, W10. I don’t use a Mac.


Electroacoustic Composition:

Iannis Zannos (London City University, U.K. // Hamburg University, Germany // Tokyo University, Japan, Post-Doctoral Level.); Ricardo Dal Farra (Concordia University, Canada, PhD.); Federico Reuben (York University, U.K., PhD.); Sergio Luque (Birmingham University, U.K., PhD.); Alexandra Cárdenas (Berlin University of the Arts, Germany, M.A.); Harold Vázquez Castañeda (Geneva Conservatory, Switzerland // Ircam, France, M.A.); Eblis Álvarez (DIEM Danish Electronic Music Institute // Copenhagen Conservatory, Denmark, M.A.); Ana Maria Romano (Andes University, Colombia, B.A.); Rodolfo Acosta (Andes University Colombia // Royamount Foundation // Berklee College of Music, U.S.A., B.A.); Fao Torres (Taiwan // Andes University, Colombia, B.A.).

Acoustic Composition:

Marc Evanstien (CCRMA - Stanford University // California University Santa Barbara, U.S.A., PhD.); Fernando Rincón Estrada (California University Santa Barbara, U.S.A., PhD.); Rodolfo Acosta (Andes University, Colombia // Royamount Foundation // Berklee College of Music, U.S.A., B.A.); José Ignacio Hernandez Sanchez (Florida University, U.S.A., M.A.); Juan Carlos Marulanda (Pontifical Javeriana Univeristy, Colombia, B.A.).


Radostina Petkova (Sofia State Conservatory, Bulgary // Pontifical Javeriana University, Colombia, M.A.); Olga Shishkina (Odessa Conservatory, Ukraine // National University of Colombia // Andes University, Colombia, Post-Doctoral Level.).

Early Vocal & Opera Singing:

Raymond Koster (Brussels Conservatory, Belgium // Pedagogic University, Colombia, M.A.); Maria Olga Piñeros Lara (Mannes School of Music // Julliard School of Music, U.S.A. // Pontifical Javeriana University, Colombia, M.A.); Carlos Godoy (Guildhall School of Music & Drama, U.K. // Pontifical Javeriana University, Colombia // Tolima Conservatory, Colombia, B.A.); Andrés Arturo Silva (Scholla Cantorum Basiliensis, Switzerland // Andes University, Colombia, M.A.); Juan David Rojas Mayorga (Texas Christian University, U.S.A. // Juan N. Corpas University, Colombia, M.A.); Maria Manuela Angulo Gómez (Juan N. Corpas University, Colombia, B.A.).

Musical Theory:

Germán Andrés Enciso (Harvard University // California UCI Irvine University, U.S.A., 2 Post-Doctorates); Olga Shishkina (Odessa Conservatory, Ukraine, Post-Doctoral Level); Sergio Luque (Birmingham University, U.K., PhD.); Ricardo Dal Farra (Concordia University, Canada, PhD.). [1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23].

Since Music is being created in Ancient Greece, and before in the East and Africa with the African Polyrhythmies, and the Micro-tonal Scales, and not Diatonic or Modal, of the East, Australia and Paleo-Indians, a Composition has been generated Modal and Rhythmic type, first in Ancient Greece, the Tetrachords are generated that are based on the Greek Modes of the time, these modes were basically like the Diatonic Scales that can start in all the Keys, or Degrees of the C Major Scale, but they have a strict organization (halftone between 3rd and 4th tones, and 7th and 8th grades). The Greek Modal Scales, had different organization of semitones and tone and a half between their degrees. This on the one hand, on the other hand the Greeks were also very virtuous rhythmically.

The Middle Ages is entering with expanded use of these Greek Modes, but basically in their use of Vocal Instrumentation, (Choirs and soloists), in addition to using some string instruments; windy and rhythmic. In the Middle Ages after the Ars Antiqua, which is where more than 2 voices began to be used in the Harmonic Textures, the Ars Nova was entered, where the Contrapuntal Polyphony was born, 4 or more voices at the same time sounding and doing Polyphony Rhythmic and Harmonic.

In the Renaissance, Contrapuntal Techniques are developed to the maximum so that the Chords enter vertically and linearly in an aesthetic way, taking into account the rules of Physical Acoustics.

In the Baroque with Johann Sebastian Bach, more than anything else, the primordial mathematization of the Music is given by generating the tuning of the Diatonic Scales in a Tempered way, that is, he reorganized the Frequencies at which each Tonality should sound. The Baroque, the Classicism and later with the Romanticism are generated little by little from small Chamber Orchestras to the mega Orchestras of Romanticism of more than 40 instruments, it is a step from the Chamber Orchestra to the Symphony gradually.

In Romanticism it is above all where Orchestration is developed (The aesthetic organization of the Timbres of the different Instruments that come to a certain Composition), then we see the extreme Dissonances in Stravinsky in Modernity and later Atonalism, Serialism, Post-Serialism, New York Minimalism, Serial Minimalism by Donatoni and Morton Feldman, and later the primordial development of Algorithmic Composition with Iannis Xenakis, where he begins to use Stochastics, (advanced probability, which generates controlled chaos), and composition through Computers, with Programming Language.

Finally Electroacoustics is given with Pierre Schaeffer and Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, in France the first, in Germany the second, the first uses cuts of prerecorded Magnetic Tapes, and Edited, the second uses simple Analog Synthesizers from the Laboratories found in Acoustic Electronics .

Later, the PC or Personal Computer and the different Systems Engineering Programming Languages ​​are being developed, some musicians with advanced knowledge in Computer Science, are developing Programming Software to compose Algorithmic Electroacoustic and Acoustic Music.

Finally it is seen that in the Theoretical Musical and Sound Structures of Electroacoustics, and Algorithmic Acoustics are given in a Natural way, according to a previous mathematical ordering by the artist, “all” the ways of composing of the previous History of Western and non-Western Music, Contrapuntal structures, Modes, Diatonics, Micro-tonalism , Serialism, Post-serialism, and Minimalism. In addition to very complex Electronic and Acoustic Sounds pre-recorded, etc …

The first attempt at making computer generated algorithmic music was by Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson in 1955-56 at the University of Illinois using the super-fast digital Illiac computer. They generated a material by computer, they iterated it by means of mathematical functions and in the end they selected it from several attempts to select the best musically according to the composers. Then between the 1950′s to 1960′s it was used by Hiller and Robert Baker, in the form of subroutines: Mathematical functions that assembled under very defined rules, with the MUSICOMP computer program; this is how the use of subroutines in algorithmic composition was first generated.

Iannis Xenakis as he explained in his book “Formalized Music” (1963), developed a computer program that calculated probabilistic densities in a random way thus creating stochastic musical density forms for use in acoustic scores. Stochastics are randomly chosen sequences of probability density events.

William Shottstaedt, enlarged and progressed in generative grammars based on subroutine rules, developed software that used the laws of counterpoint of Johann Joseph Fux:

"The program is built around almost 75 rules, such as ‘Parallel fifths are not allowed’ and ‘Avoid tritons near the cadence in lydian mode.’ Schottstaedt assigned a series of ‘penalties’ for breaking the rules. These penalties are weighted based on the fact that Fux indicated that there were some rules that could never be broken, but others did not have to be adhered to as vehemently. As penalties accumulate, the program abandons its current branch of rules and backtracks to find a new solution "(Maurer IV, 1999).

Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI): From David Cope simulates the development of generative grammar rules, which tend to make the computer based on a database of many compositional rules learn by itself and generate its own grammars.

Genetic programming:

"[Genetic programming] is a method which actually uses a process of artificially-created natural selection to evolve simple computer programs. In order to perfrom this process, one uses a small set of functions and terminals, or constants, to describe the domain one wishes an evolved program to operate in. For example, if the human programmer wishes to evolve a program which can generate or modify music, one would give it functions which manipulate music, doing things such as transposition, note generations, stretching or shrinking of time values, etc. Once the functions have been decided on, the genetic programming system will create a population of programs which have been randomly generated from the provided function set. Then, a fitness measure is determined for each program. This is a number describing how well the program performs in the given problem domain. Since the initial programs are randomly generated, their performance will be very poor — however, a few programs are likely to do slightly better than the rest. These will be selected in pairs, proportionate to their fitness measure, and then a new population of programs will be created from these individuals, and the whole process will be repeated, until a solution is reached (in the form of a program which satisfies the critic), or a set of number of iterations has passed. Operations which may be performed in generating this new population include reproduction (passing an individual program on into the next generation unchanged), crossover (swapping pieces of code between two ‘parent’ programs in order to create two unique ‘children’), mutation, permutation, and others "(Maurer IV, 1999).

Automatic listening, is that of Jonathan Berger and Dan Gang, who have created computational models of perception and cognition of music using AI approaches, properties inherent in listening and, furthermore, to the process of creativity itself. These new techniques potentially improve algorithmic composition, in much improvement from their insights into how humans listen to music: the computer could, then, better judge itself as to the quality of its output. [6; 24].

Finally, in the 20th and 21st centuries, with the arrival of Contemporary Mathematics, musicians are developing more intricate Computational Algorithms, such as Neural Networks, Generative Grammars, Evolutionary Genetic Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, etc., these types of Algorithms I did not use them in my Album, because the idea was to limit myself to Fractals, Chaos and Stochastics. [1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23].

From the point of view already basically of Digital Sound and Electronic Analogue, my Album is practically based on Digital Sound, and on a very strong emphasis on Pure Synthesis that predominates over Signal Processing. [3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 10; 19; 20; 21; 23].


The Music that I do has a Regional importance in my Country since it exhorts people to cultivate the ear in new Vanguard tendencies, in Colombia. In Latin America too, And worldwide it also generates an auditory knowledge that goes somehow in my Music growing little by little to reach “the level” of the greatest Electroacoustic Composers in the World and Algorithmic as well.


[1]. „Historia de la Filosofía Occidental“. Bertrand Russell. Simon and Schuster Inc. Rockefeller Center. (1945). New York.
[2]. „Antropología Filosófica“. Ernst Cassirer. Fondo de Cultura Económica. (??) Ciudad Federal de México.
[3]. „The Computer Music Tutorial“. Curtis Roads. MIT Press. (2000). London.
[4]. „The SuperCollider Book“. Scott Wilson; David Cottle y Nick Collins. MIT Press. (2011). London.
[5]. „A History of Western Music“. Donal Jay Grout y Claude V. Palisca. Norton & Company. (1996). London and New York.
[6]. „Algorithmic Composition“. Gerhard Nierhaus. Springer Verlag. (2009). Germany.
[7]. „Formalized Music“. Iannis Xenakis. Pendragon Press. (1992). New York.
[8]. „Twentieth Century Harmony“. Vincent Persichetti. Norton & Company. (1961). London and New York.
[9]. „Counterpoint“. Hugo Kauder. Da Capo Press. (1979). New York.
[10]. „La Estética Musical desde la Antigüedad hasta el Siglo XX“. Enrico Fubini. Alianza Música. (1988). Madrid.
[11]. „Historia Oxford del Siglo XX“. Michael Howard y W. Roger Louis. Editorial Planeta. (1999). Barcelona.
[12]. „Historia de las Matemáticas“. E. T. Bell. Fondo de Cultura Económica. (2014). Ciudad Federal de México.
[13]. „Probabilidad y Estadística para Ingeniería y Ciencias“. Piotr Wisniewski y Gabriel Velasco. International Thomson Editores. (2001). Ciudad Federal de México.
[14]. „Markov Chains“ David Freedman. Springer Verlag. (1982). Berlin.
[15]. „The Bantam New College Spanish & English Dictionary“. Edwin B. Williams. Bantam Books Inc. (1968). New York.
[16]. „Algebra de Baldor“. Aurelio Baldor. NovoaGrafic. Cia. Ltda. (??). Medellín.
[17]. „Calculo y Geometría Analítica“. Vol 1 y 2. Larson; Hostetler y Edwards. McGraw-Hill (1995). Madrid.
[18]. „Álgebra Lineal“. Bernard Kolman y David R. Hill. Pearson – Prentice Hall. (2006). Ciudad Federal de México.
[19]. „The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music“. Nick Collins, Julio d’Escrivan. Cambridge University Press. (2017). Cambridge.
[20]. „Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists, Creating Music with ChucK“. Ge Wang; Ajay Kapur, Perry Cook y Spencer Salazar. Manning Publications. (2015). Palo Alto.
[21]. „The Csound Book: Perspectives in Software Synthesis, Sound Design, Signal Processing, and Programming“. Richard Boulanger. MIT Press. (2000). London.
[22]. „Fractals and Chaos: an Illustrated Course“. Paul S. Addison. Institute of Physics Publishing. (1997). (??).
[23]. „The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music“. Nicholas Cook y Anthony Pople. Cambridge University Press. (2004). Cambridge.
[24]. „A Brief History of Algorithmic Composition”. John A. Maurer IV. CCRMA. Stanford University. (1999). Palo Alto.

Some Books are not 4 years from now because no relevant material on this topic has been published later in other authors. That is why they are duly cited, there is no other relevant material.


José Ignacio Quevedo Gómez, has a Corporate Degree in Electroacoustic Music Composition from Atlantic International University_Honolulu_Hawaii_U.S.A. He is Homologating his Atlantic I-U Degree at UNAD [National Open and at Distance University] _Colombia_Latin America, for an accredited Degree in Music for the Public sector. (UNAD Degree is in Music Theory / Composition and Production). He has a partial finished musical certificate in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design from Berklee College of Music_Boston_Massachusetts_U.S.A. Jose Ignacio Quevedo Gómez is attending to CCRMA, Stanford University Music Workshops (1st one finished: SCAMP (Suite for Composing Algorithmic Music in Python), teacher: Marc Evanstein, (CCRMA - Stanford University // California University Santa Barbara, USA, PhD.). He is plannig to attend to CCRMA Music Workshops each year for the next 15 years.

José Ignacio Quevedo Gómez is making an Undergraduate in progress at Areandina University Foundation_Colombia_Latin America, in Computer Science, Computer Security with Focus in Computer Forensics. As well he is making another Undergraduate in Progress in Electronic Engineering at UNAD [National Open and at Distance University] _Colombia_Latin America. He studies a self-taught Undergraduate in Mathematics, and another one as a self-taught in Philosophy and Sci-Fi Creative Writing. He has a Corporate M.Eng / M.Sci. in Theoretical Nano-biotechnology and Astrobiology from Atlantic International University_Honolulu_Hawaii_U.S.A.

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