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Otomata – a generative music application

Otomata – a generative music application

A few weeks ago I came across a simple web application that explores a concept I’ve always been interested in – Generative Music. The basic idea behind generative music is that it is created by a system, constantly changes and is therefore, always different. The application is called Otomata, it’s built in Flash and it’s incredibly simple to use. So even those of you who think you don’t have a musical bone in your body are still expected to go and play around. It won’t take long to create something that might excite or inspire!

The concept behind the application is pretty simple, you are presented with a 9 by 9 grid. Click on the grid and place an ‘alive’ tile down. It will have a an arrow indicating its direction of travel across the grid. Each alive tile can move in four directions: up, down, left and right. When these tiles collide with a wall a sound who’s frequency is based off the location of the collision is played and the tile reverses direction. When a tile collides with another tile in its way it rotates itself clockwise and carries on going. Due to the nature of these tile’s behavior you will end up with a sequence of music that gradually changes and evolves.

If you’re happy with your creation, why not click the “Copy piece link” button and share it with your social network! Have a play around and before you know it, you will be creating generative music! If you’re curious, here’s one I prepared earlier (it only took a minute so I wont be surprised if you all come up with something more elaborate) and don’t be afraid to show us what you’ve come up with!

Click here to listen to my creation or,
Visit the Otomata website and have a go yourself

Yours in procedural generation,

Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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