Schillinger On The Computer: A Starting Point

Considerations of how to implement the Schillinger Technique lead to many questions.

What input and outputs relate to the materials of each chapter in his books?

How can the mathematical jargon be hidden from the musician, making it accessible to someone with traditional musical training? Are his uses of mathematical terms misleading or even incorrect?

Can his transformational processes be integrated into existing sequencers or music notation programs like Digital Performer, Cubase,  Logic, Finale, and Sibelius?

Can they be applied to digital sound file DSP transformations, or only MIDI streams?
Can they be offered as Open Source software? Or will proprietary implementations be necessary?

What elements of a computer or musical interface would best serve the implementation of each process?

What aspects of computer interface design are most important in the development of such a system?

4 thoughts on “Schillinger On The Computer: A Starting Point

  1. Hi,

    I’m a music synthesis student at Berklee College of Music. I started getting into the Schillinger System about 4 months ago and am interested in writing software based on it. I already started writing code with a friend from MIT and would like to help in the development of your idea.
    Please contact me.
    Thanks,
    Mario

    • Hello Mario

      in 1973 an engineering friend at Hughes in El Secoundo, CA made dodecaphonic permutations, arrangements of Schillinger’s numbers 1 – 12, of the chromatic scale, using a fortran program. The results were numerical, not bad for rhythms.

      11 + 1 = 12 through 1 + 11 =12
      10 + 1 + 1 = 12 through 1 + 1 + 10 = 12 through the end

      1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 = 12

      Since then there has been a belief that a person like Mario and associates would come up with permutations of an alphabetical chromatic scale i. e. in C, or all keys, useful in melodic applications. i. e.:

      a + b
      b +a

      a + b + c
      a + c + b
      b + c + a
      b + a + c
      c + a + b
      c + b + a

      abcd
      abdc
      acdb
      acbd
      adbc
      adcb

      There are probably algorhythms available for permutations of chromatic scales but I’m not into math to handle them.

      Stanford J. Carter, Retired Band Director
      860 William Still Road
      De Quincy, LA 70633
      (337) 786-3945

  2. Hi,

    I’ve written one iteration of a Schillinger tech. I called it StrataSynch. I roughly corresponds to what Schillinger calls “distributed rhythm”

    What input and outputs relate to the materials of each chapter in his books?

    How can the mathematical jargon be hidden from the musician, making it accessible to someone with traditional musical training? Are his uses of mathematical terms misleading or even incorrect?

    Answer: I don’t know but I doubt you can remove it all. Schillinger is ultimately math based. Some of the math to me is sloppy. Specifically the way he uses(squares/cubes) polynomial number sequences in the rhythm books is inconsistent. I agree strongly though about your sentiment about removing the jargon as much as possible.

    Can his transformational processes be integrated into existing sequencers or music notation programs like Digital Performer, Cubase, Logic, Finale, and Sibelius?
    Answer: They can but when you look at all the techniques in those 10lbs of books do you really want to write Schillinger toolboxes for each of those systems? If you don’t you’re forcing people into a particular system.

    Can they be applied to digital sound file DSP transformations, or only MIDI streams?
    Answer:
    Probably, his rhythm graphs greatly resemble digital switching diagrams. May not wanna listen to it very long.

    Can they be offered as Open Source software? Or will proprietary implementations be necessary?
    Answer: I’ve leaning towards propietary at least in part. 2 reasons. 1. I know of no one who has done this work except I vaguely remember something written for the Atari ST and I think that was just for generating rhythms.

    What elements of a computer or musical interface would best serve the implementation of each process?
    Answer: Still thinking about it. One thing to bear in mind. Schillinger is a lot of techniques which for all their power to generate new, interesting stuff can generate tons of crap. The other often ignored part is his discussions on music composition itself.

    What aspects of computer interface design are most important in the development of such a system?
    Answer: Even though I think the math is necessary, I also think a smart gui/widget/”you can draw it”/”and hear it instantly” will go a long ways.

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, February

  3. Hi,

    I wrote a computer science dissertation on this topic recently which you might find interesting. I implemented the majority of the procedures present in books I to IV, and cobbled this into a system for generating block harmonic passages and monophonic melodies.

    Some of the results from this automated system were surprisingly entertaining; although it is quite obvious that Schillinger’s procedures cannot compose music on their own, and I generally agree with David’s comments. The paper is here: http://mrankin.net/docs/Thesis%20-%20Automated%20Schillinger%20System%20(2012).pdf, it contains links to audio samples.

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