Algorithmic Jazz

"The soul of the machine is the collection of algorithms that give it life."

The algorithmic music compositions on this page are written in Java and use the Jsyn software engine. The Jsyn engine no longer needs to use a downloaded plugin, but you do need Java installed on your computer. Here is the link to get Java if you don't have it.

In addition to the music on this site I have some graphical Java programs that show how randomness, and algorithms with random input, can be used to create visual art.

I live in Palm Desert, CA and can be reached at johnclavin at Here is some of my humanly composed music at SoundCloud. My autobiography.

Winter is an algorithmic music composition that uses randomness and algorithms to create melodic rhythm patterns. I composed the chords and structure of the composition. A new set of melodic rhythm patterns is generated every 16 measures.

The Bells of Rational Thought are ringing in an era of scientific inquiry and humanist ideals.

SR1r3 is a four instrument combo with percussion, bass, piano, and solo instrument. Each instrument has it's own algorithm, but in this composition the algo players are not musically connected. I need to teach them how to watch and listen to each other.

Arpegg3 starts out by composing 2 measures of chords. It makes the random decision of how many chords per measure there should be and then randomly selects from 12 chords. The 12 chords are the chords naturally found in the key of C with a few extra chords thrown in. Then it composes an arpeggio type of melody that uses the chord notes root, third, fifth, seventh, and sometimes ninth. The melody starts at a random place and then randomly goes up or down. If it reaches the upper or lower limit it reverses direction. The two measures are played and then repeated with a variation in the arpeggio melody. The bass part is created from the root and fifth of each chord except when there is only one chord per measure and then it does a walking bass style. When listening, because it repeats over and over, it is hard to identify the pairs of theme and variation measures, but if you listen for the number of chords per measure that stay the same for each theme and variation pair you can hear it.

Ramona Albert, the algorithmic piano player, taps his foot and plays on endlessly.

Machine #12 is a work in progress.

Albert's Theme is a composition that uses the form of "Ramona" but with a different chord progression algorithm and a different melody algorithm.

Music generated from the computer programs on this page is free to use. September 2012 John F Clavin.