Notes for my talk 'The Origins Of Computer Music'

January 26, 2015

The Origins Of Computer Music

At the 1st Web Audio Conference held at IRCAM in Paris in January 2015, I gave a talk on the Origins of Computer Music.

Here are some notes to accompany that talk.

MUSIC implementation in JavaScript

With the help of Tom Stuart, I developed a compiler for a subset of the MUSIC V language described by Max Mathews in his 1969 book “The Technology of Computer Music” (MIT Press). This compiler barely does enough to generate the first score in the tutorial given by Mathews in his book but it is flexible enough to be extended to do more if I, or any of you reading this, have the time and inclination to do so. We wrote a parser for the language using peg.js and it should be straightforward to extend that to support the missing unit generators. The implementation of the unit generators themselves is described in the book.

Further Reading

In writing the talk I found the following resources very useful:

Thank you

David, James, Sam, Seb and Tom provided fantastic feedback on an early version of this talk. I’m also very grateful to Samuel for inviting me to talk at IRCAM, an institution I’ve wanted to visit since I first started learning about electronic music as a teenager.