Music Box Toy with Elementary Cellular Automata

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This Demonstration uses a simple and novel mapping of elementary cellular automata (CA) to single-voice musical sequences. The mapping is created by evolving a small CA through all its possible initial conditions for a number of generations, converting the cells to decimals and storing them in a table. This table is visualized using Mathematica's built-in function ArrayPlot with starting conditions assigned vertically and generations evolving horizontally.

Contributed by: David Burraston (January 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



These example sound pieces were tested on a Mac using the internal default sound sample set; the sounds available will depend on your platform. The change in ArrayPlot size depend on the number of cells and generations specified.

Snapshot 1: piano piece with rule 105

Snapshot 2: pizzicato viola piece with rule 110

Snapshot 3: overwound Music Box piece with rule 54

See for more details and research papers on the author's work with generative music and cellular automata.

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