Digital Windchimes / An Introduction to Generative Music - On demand



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Level: Beginner

Brian Eno once described a set of chimes being blown in the wind as an example of generative music. Adapting this philosophy of music-making to a digital setting, we can create environments where a series of musical elements can be triggered semi-randomly, akin to the blowing of wind.

In this workshop you will learn to create such a system in Max/MSP, building a simple synthesised bell-like sound with variable timbre which will then be ‘played’ by a loose algorithm that you will construct. This will involve learning a form of subtractive synthesis using a bank of resonant filters, applying variable controls to both its generation and post-processing through reverb and delay, and finally using combinations of random number generators to make digital ‘wind’.

This is just one way of approaching generative music, but by the end of the workshop you will have a better understanding of the underlying axioms and be able to go on to apply them to your own systems.


  • Max
  • Generative Music
  • Subtractive Synthesis


  • You should be comfortable with the general workflow and data formatting in Max.

  • Some basic knowledge of frequencies (hz) in relation to music-making would be a plus.

About the workshop leader 

Samuel Pearce-Davies is a composer, performer, music programmer and Max hacker living in Cornwall, UK.

With a classical music background, it was his introduction to Max/MSP during undergraduate studies at Falmouth University that sparked Sam’s passion for music programming and algorithmic composition.

Going on to complete a Research Masters in computer music, Sam is now studying a PhD at Plymouth University in music-focused AI.