Fractal Music

Fractal: a geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.

That seems to be an okay definition. The patterns were created:

Basic units.

Already kind of purty and fractally, I hope. The computer implemented these units at numerous scales of magnitude. And by magnitude, I mean tempo. In musical terms, I think that’s a reasonable translation for size or scale. The beats were subdivided and subdivided exponentially.

I then created color options through specifying a tone row and it’s retrograde. I also added color gradations by letting each tone also specify a key. Additional twists applied through some octave jumps.

I have made a fractal music in the past by manipulating frequencies with the Mandelbrot set, but I wanted to keep tempered pitches in this instance.

I also added some delay that would vary through assorted consonant values. The feedback of the delay enhances the contrapuntal nature of the music and adds some instrumental give and take. I chose a piano sound. Not the greatest, but it’s what I had available, and by manipulating the envelope of the sound, I could create a kind of fiddle voice to play along. Chamber piece for piano and strings. Trying for an acceptable musical equivalent of a fractal image. Here’s one:


That was the most recent attempt.  Due to a particular arrangement of sequencer reset triggers and a more circumspect use of delays, it seems to offer a fairly controlled and dramatic musical organization of the themes.  The ghost in the machine is a touch Romantic, I guess.  Here’s the first attempt with the present tone row:


Not bad.  More adventurous meter permutations.  More appearances by dissonant clusters.  Here’s the second attempt.  I used fewer sequencer resets and so it seems a bit more broad in its lines. Maybe more contemplative?


Some snaps and crackles and pops because of the fussiness of the delays. Sorry. Must keep tinkering.  I am using a nifty audio processing software with a modular interface: Plogue’s Bidule.

A Curiosity

This seems real, because to be a postmodern thing would be too much of a good thing.  Surely there’s something we could do with this.  Dare I propose an Assignment?

(Conversational Phrases seems most promising, but all of them yielded opaque gems.)