Patterned Atonality In Music

DJs and Musicians: Many of you may have had experience using Fractal MIDI Generative software, now you can learn more about it and participate in creating or remixing your own mathematical music.

Posted by Michael Bordash on Mon Sep 17, 2001

Many of you may have had experiences using Fractal MIDI Generative software. If you have tried a great program called "Fractal Muse 2000", you may have read some of the very helpful notes discussing the mathematical basis for equations used to generate the music in this program.

I read, somewhere, that trees are thought to grow algorithmically. If a person was to study a tree carefully, and calculate the ratio of limbs to branches, branches to leaves, or other qualities, you might find that many of these qualities are essentially logarithmic and recursive in nature.

Given that this is the case, why not use patterned atonality to write music? A tree, for example, looks aesthetically pleasing regardless of season or particular leaf pattern. There may be something pleasing in the patterned atonality exemplified by a tree or other natural logarithmic or pseudo-logarithmic systems.

I have tried using natural or logarithmic data to generate notes in compositions, using transformations as simple as "a=1, b=2, c=3", etcetera. The result is a pattern or texture that sounds "new" to a listener's ear. The patterns are often "pseudo-musical", that is-- they seem somewhat musical, and can seem more musical after repeated listenings.

Harmonies can also be generated using natural or logarithmic data. I have found that new and exciting harmonies can be generated this way, with very little "tweaking" or editing afterwards. For an example of this kind of composition process, try listening to "Blue Note" (by my band, "AutoCad")-- found here by searching for Autocad (at This song was generated using natural data. It has been reviewed positively, and even reached the top 40 at's Progressive Electronica charts in 2/2001.

I would urge musicians interested in creating new music to try using natural or logarithmic data while composing. Sources for this type of data abound-- libraries, internet databases, etcetera-- and most are free. If any musicians out there want to try this kind of composing process, I would be interested in hearing the results. I might consider placing interesting results on one of my websites, or providing a free remix, or other kinds of promotion.

Contact me at if you have any questions, or if you have a piece of music that might be of interest. If you are interested in this kind of compositional process, but aren't ready to jump right away, then please consider remixing one of my fractal pieces. I will feature successful remixes on my site, and will probably add the remixes to my D.A.M. cd.

More information about this remixing process can be found at:

Or listen to some finished examples by AutoCad right here!

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