Ferin Martino: A Small Piano Algorithm and Its Lessons on Creativity, Interaction, and Expression Conference Paper uri icon


  • The process of developing and making music with Ferin Martino, a piano-playing software algorithm has opened up a number of inquiries surrounding modern performance and creativity. Although it is relatively simple program, it is capable of much unique, expressive output that maintains a consistent style. Instead of constructing musical passages note by note, its musical character arises from its structure, independent of content. Recombination of previously-played material ensures that the first randomly generated notes end up yielding musically and stylistically coherent passages without compromising the variety of musical material produced. A flow of pseudorandom numbers is dis- turbed by motion in front of a camera, making the music responsive to its surroundings. Human-machine collaboration with this system has been effective in a variety of applications ranging from background music to computer-aided composition and live performance. A brief explanation of the algorithm is followed by ex- plorations of its resulting character; strengths and challenges; and perspectives it inspires on the relationships between humans and machines and on twenty-first century musicianship.

name of conference

  • AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment

published proceedings

  • Tenth Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Morris, J.

complete list of authors

  • Morris, Jeffrey

publication date

  • January 2014