Machine Musicianship

Machine Musicianship

By Robert Rowe





Musicians begin formal training by acquiring a body of musical concepts commonly known as musicianship. These concepts underlie the musical skills of listening, performance, and composition. Like humans, computer music programs can benefit from a systematic foundation of musical knowledge. This book explores the technology of implementing musical processes such as segmentation, pattern processing, and interactive improvisation in computer programs. It shows how the resulting applications can be used to accomplish tasks ranging from the solution of simple musical problems to the live performance of interactive compositions and the design of musically responsive installations and Web sites. Machine Musicianship is both a programming tutorial and an exploration of the foundational concepts of musical analysis, performance, and composition. The theoretical foundations are derived from the fields of music theory, computer music, music cognition, and artificial intelligence. The book will be of interest to practitioners of those fields, as well as to performers and composers.The concepts are programmed using C++ and Max. The accompanying CD-ROM includes working versions of the examples, as well as source code and a hypertext document showing how the code leads to the program's musical functionality.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262182065 411 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 169 illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262681490 411 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 169 illus.


  • What makes this book a great success is that Rowe's original concepts remain sharply in focus while he draws deeply from the disparate fields of music cognition, music theory, artificial intelligence, computer science, performance and music composition. Rowe's experience creating interactive music and multimedia brings another dimension of insight. His excellent descriptions of creative work, creative processes, and their technical implementations make this an invaluable resource for composers.

    Todd Winkler

    Department of Music, Brown University

  • The scholarship here is excellent. I believe Machine Musicianship will be not only a significant contribution to interactive music performance system research but also a valuable active review of much of the literature and research in music cognition and computer music.

    Leigh Smith

    Senior Research Engineer, tomandandy music inc.

  • Robert Rowe shows convincingly that true musicianship is as much about listening as about playing. In this exciting book he demonstrates how to build listening machines, skillfully explaining the relevant theories in music cognition on the way.

    Peter Desain and Henkjan Honing

    “Music, Mind, Machine” Group, Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information (NICI), Nijmegen University

  • Cutting across the boundaries of psychology, music theory, and artificial intelligence, this book captures the state of the art of music listening and performance by computer. This very practical and readable guide is an essential reference.

    Roger B. Dannenberg

    Senior Research Computer Scientist and Artist, Carnegie Mellon University