Kolmogorov Variations

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Algorithmic electroacoustic music by Risto Holopainen.

Source Code

Kolmogorov Variations, also refered to as the Eleven Hard Pieces, are a collection of algorithmic compositions where every aspect of the piece, from sound synthesis to large scale form, has been generated by one single program for each composition. An overarching goal was to write complex music using as little code as possible, which has been met with varying degrees of success.

The source code is available for download. Libsndfile must be installed for the programs to compile, otherwise only standard C and C++ libraries are used. As always there is no guarantee of any kind and the documentation is sparse.

The source code is provided mainly for documentation, study or research purposes. None of the programs are general purpose, although some of the linked header files might contain code of more general interest. Running the programs will just produce an output soundfile. There are no command line parameters to change, the output will always be the same. In fact, the output will be identical or highly similar to the raw (unmixed) versions of my Eleven Hard Pieces, so if you consider using the programs for artistic purposes I suggest modifying them substantially according to your own preferences.

Some of the synthesis techniques used, such as cross-coupled feedback FM systems with up to six oscillators and linear ordinary differential equations with quasiperiodic coefficients, are explained elsewhere.

The Album

An album release of the eleven pieces is planned. The final mixes differ somewhat from the raw output of the programs that anyone can recreate by compiling and running them. All pieces were treated with acoustic processing and some analog filters, spring reverbs, ring modulation and other effects.

The titles are:

  1. Hello World! 1'42
  2. Statement 4'14
  3. Bâtir et Démolir (ZAD) 4'03
  4. Auto-detune 4'52
  5. Megaphone 5'19
  6. La Follia 2'38
  7. Speed of Thought 7'19
  8. The Wastebasket of Timbre 8'08
  9. Origami 3'07
  10. The Quasi-periodic Table 4'42
  11. The Final Countdown 6'38







© Risto Holopainen 2021

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