Manhattan Generative Music Composition Software
Following the paradigm of spreadsheets, an established model of end-user programming, Manhattan is designed to bridge the gap between traditional music editing methods (such as MIDI sequencing and typesetting) and generative and algorithmic music – seeking both to reduce the learning threshold of programming and support flexible integration of static and dynamic musical elements in a single work. Interaction draws on rudimentary knowledge of mathematics and spreadsheets to augment the sequencer notation with programming concepts such as expressions, built-in functions, variables, pointers and arrays, iteration (for loops), branching (goto), and conditional statements (if-then-else). In contrast to other programming tools, formulas emphasise the visibility of musical data (e.g. notes), rather than code, but also allow composers to interact with notated music from a more abstract perspective of musical processes.
By Chris Nash
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