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Birdmode is an algorithmic composition project inspired by the iconic saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. Through an analysis of transcribed solos found in the Charlie Parker Omnibook, the completed system will algorithmically produce new rhythm changes solos in the bebop style of Charlie Parker. Ultimately, the newly composed solos will be scored for live performance and incorporated into the functionality of a handmade silicon keyboard.

Solo Analysis

Solos are analyzed with regards to two parameters; harmony and rhythm. Harmony is analyzed on a chord by chord basis. The licks performed by Charlie Parker are encoded to take four characteristics into account:

1.Categorized as either arpeggios, runs, or held notes

2. Initial note of the lick in relation to the root tone of the current chord

3. Harmonic quality of the lick (e.g. major, minor, diminished, etc) including any additional notes (e.g. b9, #11, etc)

4. Direction of the lick; ascending, descending, or wrap-around, where wrap-around refers to licks that include both ascending and descending characteristics.

Each encoded lick is then added to a bin of all other licks played on that specific chord.

For each measure, the rhythm is encoded as a list of numbers. The first number states the number of notes, which are played in that measure. The remainder of the string represents the length of each note in the measure. For example, the number "8" refers to an 8th note, "4" refers to a quarter note, and so on. All numbers of the form "0x" are a rest with length 1/x of the measure.

List of analyzed solos: -Anthropology -Celerity

Algorithmic Composition

--This process is not yet fully completed. Below is a description of the current process --

Solos are generated by randomly selecting 1 rhythmic pattern for each measure, and two potential harmonic patterns for each of the chords within that measure. Rhythmic patterns are chosen based on which of the 32 measures in a rhythm changes chord progression is currently being composed.


Below is a link to my results presented at the 220c final presentations:

Prior Examples of Algorithmic Composition

"Klavierstücke XI" (1956) by Karlheinz Stockhausen

"Illiac Suite" (1957) by Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson

"Computer Cantata" (1963) created using the MUSICOMP software developed by Lejaren Hiller and Robert Baker

"Eonta" (1964) by Iannis Xenakis

"Sonata Movement (After Beethoven)" by David Cope