The Computer Polyrhythmicon
a compositional instrument/toolbox for polyrhythmic development

Matthew Burtner

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The Polyrhythmicon

Selected Works

Resources / Contact


SOME RELATED INTERNET RESOURCES David Mooney's Virtual Rhythmicon home page. A great project realized on the Kyma system, exploring Cowell's rhythmicon ideas with the power of a computer. a page dedicated to Cowell's rhythmicon (don't believe everything you read on the net but this page contains many fun "facts". A good overview of the Theremin/Cowell rhythmicon. Unfortunate address, but... Kyle Gann's home page. Gann wrote the book on Nancarrow and has composed some amazingly thoughtful music using his own ideas of extended polyrhythmic techniqes. Surprisingly little by way of a Henry Cowell home page, but this site gives a complete list of works and a terse biography. A very good home page dedicated to the music of Conlon Nancarrow. MPR'S Nancarrow feature including Real audio files.


Armirkanian, Charles. 1981. Conlon Nancarrow. from Studies for Player Piano, Vol. 1 & II. Mainz, Germany: Wergo.
Attali, Jacques. 1985. Noise: The Political Economy of Music. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota University Press.
Burtner, Matthew. 1996. Rhythm in American Orchestral Music up to and Including Charles Ives. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.
Burtner, Matthew. 1997. Rhythm, Noise, and Space: Portfolio of Compositions. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.
Burtner, Matthew. 1997. The American Rhythmicists. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University.
Carlsen, Philip. 1988. The Player-Piano Music of Conlon Nancarrow: An Analysis of Selected Studies. ISAM Monographes: Number 26. Brooklyn, NY: Institute for the Studies in American Music.
Cowell, Henry. 1930. New Musical Resources. New York: Alfred A Knopf, Inc.
Cowell, Henry, ed. 1961. American Composers on American Music. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. Inc.
Cowell, Henry. 1978. Introductory Notes: Quartet Romantic. New York: New World Records.
Gann, Kyle. 1995. The Music of Conlon Nancarrow. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ives, Charles E. 1972. Memos. Ed. John Kirkpatrick. New York: W. W. Norton, Inc.
Karkoshka, Erhard. 1993. Some Aspects of Time-Composition. in From Idea to Sound: Proceedings of the International Musicological Symposium held at Castle Nieborow in Poland. Warsaw: Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw.
McAdams, S. and Kaija Saariaho. 1985. Qualities and functions of musical timbre. Proceedings of the 1985 International computer Music Conference, Vancouver. Computer Music Association, Berkeley. 36774.
McAdams, S., and A. Bregman. 1979. Hearing Musical Streams. Computer Music Journal 3(4):26-41. Reprinted in C. Roads and J. Strawn, eds. 1985. Foundations of Computer Music. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, pp. 65898.
Moore, F. Richard. 1990. Elements of Computer Music. Elglewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Roads, Curtis. 1996. The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Saariaho, Kaija. 1987. Timbre and Harmony: Interpolations of Timbral Structures. Contemporary Music Review. 21:93133.
Saariaho, Kaija. 1985. Shaping a compositional network with computer. Proceedings of the 1984 International Computer Music Conference, Paris. Computer Music Association, Berkeley. 1636.
Stockhausen, Karlheinz. 1961. Electronic and Instrumental Music. Die Reihe 5:59.
Tenney, James C. 1988. Conlon Nancarrow: General Introduction. from Conlon Nancarrow: Studies for Player Piano, Vol III & IV. Mainz, West Germany: Wergo.
Xenakis, Iannis. 1991. Formalized Music. New York: Pendragon Press.
Xenakis, Iannis. 1991. More Thorough Stochastic Music. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, Montreal, 51720.


For more information or for concert or lecture bookings please visit Matthew Burtner's website at



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