Spoils of War: Chance Music Experimentation Results

After spending some time moving, I've been able to get back to experimenting with the chance music piece I started preparing for a week ago.  The results are quite interesting:  something that sounds kind of neat and quite tonal overall.

Here's what it sounds like:


Not necessarily great, but I think it turned out quite interesting.

Here's my methodology for creating this piece.

First of all, I played a game of chess against the computer (and lost:  I'm not great at chess). I recorded all of the moves that were made and using a chess board pitch chart I'd created earlier, I found out what pitches corresponded to what moves.


My pitch charts were based on 2 major things:  1) As I was reading about chess, it was mentioned that the center of the board is the most important place.  The pitches I felt would be most important to establish the tonality were placed in the center of the board so that they would more likely be fell on. 2) Whether the section using the move/pitches was a transition or a theme, I changed the pitches to help establish the new tonality better, with center pitches being those most likely to establish the new key.

Theme 1 Rhythms
I then created different rhythm sets for different sections to give contrasts to themes.  The first theme I made with only half, quarter, and eighth notes.  As the probability to role a 7 is highest,8 8th notes in the 7 rhythms.The probability to role a 2 (snake eyes) or double sixes is lowest, so I put slower rhythms for those.  The rest of the rhythms I also tried to base on probability.
Transition Rhythms




Theme 2 used a lot of triplet figures using the same principles as Theme 1.  The Transition Rhythms used rhythms from both sets to help give the rhythmic feel from the old and the new sections.


Theme 2 Rhythms









Right Hand Dice Role Simulation

I used Microsoft Excel to create a spreadsheet with a random function to create a simulation of throwing dice for all 102 measures of the piece.  This way, I could utilize the copy and paste functions of Excel and not have to throw a pair of dice 102 times and carefully record every single throw.

It also allowed me to do some specific things that I wanted to do with the rhythms to create binary forms and other super-neat things for Sonata Allegro form.  I had Excell automatically input previous dice throws in certain spots so that the same rhythms would be used again.  For example, measures 9-12 use the same rhythm sets as measure 1-4 so that I could have the form be 'abac.'  In the development, there will be rhythm sets brought from the exposition to help "develop" ideas from the exposition.

Left Hand Dice Role Simulation




While it was a fun experiment, I think I may not finish this whole piece, and maybe just finish up the 1st movement and call that good.  It was interesting to hear the possibilities from chance music, but I don't think that the results were as satisfactory as sitting down and writing a piece based on what I feel would help make it sound great.

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