Schillinger System for the Layman

The Schillinger System has fallen into disuse. Many musicians thoroughly trained in advanced contemporary music theory scoff at the technique, or else are scared off by the mathematical terminology. Many don’t know what it has to offer them.

The vast strides in musical software development during the last thirty years have yet to integrate the benefits of a system which had already systematized many of the musical processes that composers spend much of their time with.

The Schillinger system uses a graphical notation nearly identical with that of MIDI sequences, yet Schillinger didn’t have the advantage of a computer to implement his system, and most sequencer programmers don’t know what benefits it could offer them.

Theorists who discuss the system often are so intellectually entranced by analyses of classical works that they fail to consider its potential implementation in a contemporary setting.

I hope to begin to consider some of the potential uses of the system, and to see how the mathematical language could be made transparent to a musician.

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?

CHI for the Musician

I’ve been frustrated that issues of Computer Human Interaction, or CHI, are almost completely ignored by the people teaching digital audio programming. So here begins an investigation into the issues in the field.