The Well-Sequenced Synthesizer


Session Title:

  • Education/Media (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • The Well-Sequenced Synthesizer



  • The Well‑Sequenced Synthesizer is a series of sequencers. Using digital representations of music and interactive technology, each sequencer creates music in collaboration with the user, giving her varying degrees of control over a generative algorithm. The sequencers are physical interfaces, designed for playing with musical rules intuitively rather than rationally.This playful project was inspired by J.S. Bach’s The Well Tempered Clavier, and Wendy Carlos’ 1969 The Well Tempered Synthesizer. In particular, by the way these seem to explore music through the lens of the technology of their time: the well‑tempered tuning system, and the timbres and programming of the analog synthesizer, respectively. The Counterpointer takes a melody input and responds with voices that follow the rules of counterpoint. El Ordenador generates chord progressions applying a set of constraints inspired by the features of tonal music described by Dmitri Tymoczko in A Geometry of Music. Finally, la Mecánica uses a traditional music box mechanism to play back the progressions generated by El Ordenador.The paper will cover the research process (Bach’s The Well‑Tempered Clavier, Wendy Carlos’ The Well‑Tempered Synthesizer, Generative Algorithms, existing sequencer interfaces, motivation for designing interfaces to interact with music theory concepts); the design and production process (aesthetic references, from first sketches to paper prototypes, graphic design, physical design); the design and production process (iterative process: a series of throw‑away transversal prototypes. Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Software Design, Hardware design, User Testing and Feedback), Conclusions and Future Work.