Algorithmic Strings

Controlled randomness applied to the practice of the viola, violin and cello

Juan Ayuso Jiménez


This project explores the relationship between the use of a new instrumental methodology based on the generation of studies using randomness and the technical development in the viola.

For this purpose, we have started from an already established methodology, such as that of violinist and pedagogue Ivan Galamian, and his concepts of attention of mind and body. With the help of Music21 library and the Python programming language, we check the viability of developing applications capable of generating non-deterministic technical studies, appling randomness to different instrumental parameters. Assuming that, in this way, we are able to maintain the level of attention, while we control the level of difficulty or variation to improve the correlation.

In the development of this method, specific applications have been generated for: three octave scales; Kreutzer study No. 1; and excerpts on Ligeti's sonata for solo viola. These are based on a modular design similar to that adopted by Galamian, which establishes different patterns of pitch, rythms and slurs or articulations. Likewise, a random study, inspired by Mozart's dice game, has been implemented for the developement of natural and artificial harmonic's technique in the viola.

Both the design of the applications and its efficiency have been subjected to a double assessment through questionnaires. On the one hand, to gather the subjective perception of a group of students from the advanced degree of viola about the use of one of the applications and the evolution of their technical development. On the other hand, a parallel questionnaire addressed to a group of violin and viola experts.

The results obtained have been very favourable concerning the method and applications, for this reason we think that they could constitute the germ of a future research.

Keywords: Viola, string pedagogy, algorithmic composition, aleatoric composition, Music21, Kreutzer, Ligeti viola sonata.

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