Visual Illustrations of Musical Patterns

by Don F. Porter

The downloads visually illustrate musical patterns using common objects such as as colored squares and rectangles.  For example, phrases can be drawn as blocks, colored to show the pattern of repetition and contrast.  Seeing the pattern as well hearing it can be an aid to memory and recognition of the pattern.

The programs use the "building blocks" approach to musical form, showing how patterns can be created, combined and re-combined into different compositions. The programs do this by allowing the user to change the on-screen patterns. For example, the user can change the order of colored blocks, or keep the order the same and change the music associated with them.


Patterns in Music An elaborate program emphasizing aspects of melody, chord progressions and bass lines.
Phrase Length Forms A simpler program emphasizing phrase lengths, comparable to line lengths in poetry.


All programs are free, written in Java and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).


jMusic  -  The programs use jMusic to provide musical structures (eg, notes and phrases) and methods for varying them, to play audio, to add features such as a drumbeat and to show notation.  The tutorials on the jMusic site introduce a wide variety of forms, including but going beyond the binary/ternery kind used here.

Experiments in Musical Intelligence  -  Computers can be programmed to detect patterns and recombine them into new compositions.


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