a number-based interactive music system



Automata is an interactive software system designed to give individuals without any formal music training the opportunity to compose and perform an original piece of music. It was created by V.J. Manzo. The PHP module that allows for a cell-phone to be used to enter numbers was created by Dan Manzo, though it was not used for this study.

A user enters some meaningful numbers such as their phone number, or birth date, or locker combination by using an on-screen number pad. The system gets the numbers and equates each digit (0 – 9) to one of the scale degrees of a user selected musical scale (1-8, 9 = 2, 0 = 3). By default, the software begins in C Major.

The user can then cause the notes to play back in some manner by using the on-screen graphical controls. The user can impose a rhythm and tempo for which these scale degrees are played back sequentially, change the tonic and key, and build tertian harmony from these scale degrees, as well as control the timbres used to synthesize these numbers. Up to four sets of numbers can be loaded and performed simultaneously. For this study, the four sets of numbers were controlled on four small MIMO touchscreen USB monitors.

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research by

V.J Manzo

© 2010


Funding for this research project was provided through a competitive grant by TI:ME. A modified version of Automata was created specifically for this project.









(2010 TI:ME AR Version)