Evolving Four-Part Harmony Using Genetic Algorithms

  • Patrick Donnelly
  • John Sheppard
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6625)


This paper presents a genetic algorithm that evolves a four-part musical composition–melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically. Unlike similar attempts in the literature, our composition evolves from a single musical chord without human intervention or initial musical material. The mutation rules and fitness evaluation are based on common rules from music theory. The genetic operators and individual mutation rules are selected from probability distributions that evolve alongside the musical material.


Genetic Algorithm Evolutionary Programming Melody Harmony Rhythm Music Composition 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Donnelly
    • 1
  • John Sheppard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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