Generative Music

Rocketboom Tech’s Ellie Rountree talks about generative music and interviews “laptop musician” Luke DuBois about his work in this medium. Story links: Generative Art, Luke DuBois Assets: Mozart, Golan Levin.

This episode was created in collaboration with Intel!

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Posted to Rocketbom Tech
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November 17, 2009 • 12:59 pm | Permalink


  • Vallinen92 says:


  • defect530 says:

    I love music!!!!

    except country and rap @:D

  • Enoch001 says:

    fun fun

  • kajoong says:

    This was quite interesting!

  • SNaRF66666666 says:

    max looks like a weak language.

  • VicarOpusDei says:

    has any one ever told this chick she is amazingly beautiful. I mean she is one really pretty girl, the fact that she is smart is just and addition to the many qualities that complement her. any way great info. Love the channel guys! now you guys have one more humble subscriber.

  • chrisquick123451966 says:

    cool as always RB

  • Rooney10Nani17 says:

    Shes Hawt

  • LivingForLOL says:

    That smile in the end was funny!!

  • enjoydotcom says:

    I'm happy I subscribed to Rocketboom, learn something new with every video. :d

  • JBTheAnimator says:

    But isn't that fast forward play with that clip he just made?
    Thats actually pretty simple -_-
    Or i just don't get it ^_^;;

  • Underdogz says:

    Damn, she IS pretty!

  • ZZLe4Ni says:

    I agree.

    I like to build software synths with synth edit, it's a pretty cool little free package, but it's a fucking beast to learn.

  • TomHendricksMusea says:

    I've suggested that you set music to PI. Transform 3.14159.. to a set of 9 notes. This is truly a song of nature.

  • PureRebelM1ko says:

    ..or microsia for pc.

  • banido says:

    She's the future mother of my children, all 12 of them.

  • TBVnBIX says:

    can't focus to what she's saying :< anyone has this problem? :D

  • drywater2k says:

    wow i thought she was gonna do that guy the entire time...gotta stop watching porno

  • ThisguyQuake says:

    She's no Molly :(

  • HollyTheFireNinja says:

    She reminds me of Morena Baccarin. Reminds, not look like.

  • jimirounders says:

    Boy, she's got the most beautifull nose i've ever seen!

  • seed419 says:

    How about I fuck the shit out of you, then we scan the soundwaves of your moans and make some sweet generative music.

  • mickek77 says:

    random atonal crap is going to the top five hits 2009

  • Nirdjha says:

    Ok - NO idea what I just watched - but she sure is cute! She maybe a little Irish? Irish with some Asian thrown in somewhere?

  • fandanstan says:

    I swear she looks like that elf chick from LOTR.

  • fandanstan says:

    And after reading most of the comments, I've noticed they had nothing to do with Generative Music, but they were about Ellie's epic hotness. LOL

  • eerockk111 says:

    What a complete and total waste of time! But she does appear to be somewhat do-able.

  • TaoOfPhilosophy says:

    This is awesome; science meets art.

  • 0YuriS0 says:


  • T1carus says:

    music cannot be made wiith a computer...

  • ostrorawr says:

    That's quite an eloquent point you make there.

  • ThisIsCleverUsername says:

    i don't understand what he did at 1:25, somebody tell me pls

  • sn3ar says:

    thats cool

  • PlayGenSeriousGames says:

    really boring! bring back Molly!

  • ksandom40 says:

    JBTheAnimator, I noticed that too. What he described wouldn't sound anything like that. I wonder if he was wanting to keep something for later...?

  • RufftaMan says:

    as she said right afterwards.
    he didn't actually create a recording of her voice, but used the microphone input to generate the 3d-spectrogram, which when played back sounds (of course) exactly like her voice again.
    however, i don't really get what the big advantage of this method compared to just making a recording is.

  • goodman854 says:


  • matkakashi says:

    @PlayGenSeriousGames Molly is still there, this is just a different series.

  • matkakashi says:

    Looking good Ellie!

  • Syntox says:

    Ellie, oh, She is so cute. I wanna take her to Dairy Queen for milkshakes and tell her stories of the high seas.

  • Tanikaze2 says:


  • skoddyboy says:

    Wow! Great show today! Generative music is super interesting. Haha he used the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of the Hallelujah Chorus. That's awesome. Thanks Rocketboom.

  • MustRunFaster says:


  • GrimReaperGamer says:

    I'd just like to give her a "milkshake".

  • yugisr2 says:

    i want to cum on her face

  • andharvey8 says:

    Ellie is hot, hot, hot.....

  • yoshypoo says:

    shes hot...but needs to get a better top

  • Feilongy says:

    God damn shes hot

  • newbalancerun04 says:

    Ellie is gorgeous!!! :)

  • WERTY1112 says:

    had me at oral

  • Probewitch says:

    Programs to play with sound; does it still classify as music, or I should think, fall into the catagory of performance art.

  • mattblack77nz says:

    @newbalancerun04 Yup, she could sell uranium tablets and I'd buy 100!

  • jinkies121 says:

    nice =P

  • httprover says:

    What happens if you mix generative grammar with media lab?

  • demonslayer55555585 says:

    I know I should write down something more "Intellectual" but damn is this girl hot I mean she could make a man's head spin around!

  • joejumps4fun says:

    I love how they don't give web addresses for the software they mention.

  • Tibotot says:

    hahaha!! I kinda had the same thought.

  • Ryguy1450 says:

    What software is that? Hook it up!

  • csmceo says:

    Ellie moves like she has some kind of disorder. I'm going to crusade for a cure for it...who's with me!

  • ModeLTU says:

    Ellie seems to be one of those genuine "nerd" girls.
    Most girls as hot as Ellie would be trying to show their assets as much as possible trying to attract more viewers, but she seems to truly care about this stuff.

  • Z14LDO says:

    ohh wooww! =D

  • Theshayeman says:

    assets... tehee

  • TheLonelyImmortal says:

    She would be so hot if she got rid of her makeup!

  • lpasepok says:

    I hate how my ideas never are unique :(

  • BigAndTall666 says:

    Damn, you´re gorgeous Ellie! ;-P

  • NakedJKid says:

    stay still woman. always twitching!!!

  • Scarfaced111 says:


  • sumgui says:

    @csmceo nope, looks like its just you... tell me how that goes aye?

  • csmceo says:

    You got it!

  • csmceo says:

    I admire her acting talent as well, ModeLTU.

  • AKACalh00n says:

    she reminds me of an older miranda cosgrove

  • wildboy92004 says:

    I would take Ellie's voice and make it say naughty words back at

  • soccermafia89 says:

    Maybe she's all twitchy because she's nervous.

    I wonder what the Mandelbrot set would sound like. Though instead of using a high-tech software program, I might just try weed.

    And what is the point of expressing sound as a 3-D image...Any one who understands Fourier series, knows that there are simpler ways to express music as a summation of sine waves.

  • ruagamer says:

    Hearing a song that didn't sound completely dissonant would have been nice... and I don't get why all that tech was necessary to play Messiah in Fast Forward...

  • JJloveKiwi says:

    she looks like an older miranda cossgrove xD

  • mickey mouse says:


  • partykrew666 says:

    holy crap

  • UltimateRuler3 says:

    She really does look like Miranda Cossgrove

  • partykrew666 says:

    shes just expressive or animated. i wouldnt call it twitchy

  • Ook says:

    That'll scrape off some tubers for the day.

  • s4101012 says:

    Why are people calling her twitchy? She's being animated and expressive in her presentation...

  • SevereRepugnance says:

    Elle's hot and interesting clip.

  • Leonardo says:

    Generative music is the auto-tune for egg-heads. And I don't mean it in a derogative way, except when the auto-tune is used to prop up untalented celebrities and deceive people.

    And who says that a computer is a worse composer than a human mind (who can take the credit of designing the algorithms?)

    We're so accustomed to associate music to human artistic performance to forget that music is meant to the ear and not to the eye. Chances are that real instruments and real voice will fade away along with the capability of computers to emulate their timbres and tones. Up to the point that the listeners won't care any more about the timbres and the tones of the tradition and will look for new sounds (maybe sampled from the real world). It's already happening.

    In a sense it's sad (and I will keep playing my guitar no matter what), but when the primitive man invented music to accompany tribal dances he used drums because he had nothing better. Probably he would have been happy to have computer generated podcasts going through powerfull woofers and tweeters, and operate rituals like the rave parties of today.

    PS. I assume that "atonal crap" is Schoenberg's.

    PPS. Mrs Rountree has to change her nail varnish.

  • b-man says:

    Sound & Vision (hold onto your ears)

  • MrFluffay says:

    you just read the mind of every person watching this video

    • b-man says:


      • Ook says:

        These digital meditation aids serve a real purpose.

        While racing through a day of earning a living without thought to the unnatural pace of things, some technological help is useful. Fight fire with fire.

        Take a spiritually oriented inventory anywhere it is possible to get a break from the forces of a digitally driven schedule that has one motoring at 65+ mph.

        Drop ones blood pressure by up to 20 points.

        Realize how wankered one's interior is getting before accidentally jumping down someone's throat.

        Keep a busy day from becoming too empty and meaningless.

  • MrFluffay says:

    I assume this reply is a hotdog.

  • Falcon1499 says:

    Ellie's a "10" !!

  • Llitsor says:

    How predictable. Put a woman within a mile of the internet, and a million school boys wet themselves.

    So, generative music anyone!?

  • b-man says:

    If you're into s-o-U-n-D you might also want to
    learn about Supercollider. Ya gotta love those algorithmic compositions.

    SuperCollider is an environment and programming language originally released in 1996 by James McCartney for real-time audio synthesis and algorithmic composition.

    Since then it has been evolving into a system used and further developed by both scientists and artists working with sound. It is an efficient and expressive dynamic programming language which makes it an interesting framework for acoustic research, algorithmic music and interactive programming.

  • r0ck0ut16 says:

    This is the coolest thing ever.

  • wallmunky503 says:

    My weiner, her mouth. Good times.

  • m0r1arty says:

    I know Ellie will have done some research before going to the interview and so her grasping the concept of the image of her voice was a bit understated in terms of audience comprehension- but a little vote of who knows what that means would be nice to substantiate this.

    And in keeping with the theme of 'Ellie is hot' the number of babies you would have with her can be added to your vote.

    So for me it's Yes (I understood the voice image ) and 2 (babies - a boy and a girl, or 2 hermaphrodites).

  • roboimp says:

    that is really cool

  • mickey mouse says:

    degenerative music !!!!

  • mike_dixon says:

    hey that was a great show!

    i want to try, sometime, scanning my stubbly whiskers as a three dimensional plot to see what they'd sound like! but, alas, mr dubois' program probably doesn't read sonograms that contain gray lines or areas.

  • 1x800xPOCKETS says:

    Is that the Fancy Pants Adventure song?

  • minuteforce says:

    so, that's like an X-Y pad, basically ...

  • roidroid says:

    People in the P5 Glove community (a cheap virtual reality glove) seem to use MAX to do live performances using the glove.
    But the audio/visual thing isn't really my scene, so this video was enlightening. I'd never really seen MAX in action before.
    I liked that visual programming thing he's using at 3:10. Is that what MAX is based around? I like it, very simple and intuitive. Reminds me a lot of the "Juice" robot simulator by NateW.

  • bmacked says:

    THis is why I love Rocketboom. Not only is it bamf information, but the exposure to artists, expressive forms, and in such a user friendly way, it's unbelievably exciting. I look forward to rocketboom's broadcasts daily. Kudos from Seattle!

  • MrBloodyknee says:

    Woo I knew she would eventually mention electroplankton, its the coolest game for DS

  • CBrook5 says:

    1:46 ...someone looks like a serial killer.

  • 96dnibrats says:

    when she said 'oral' i was thinking 'yea.. i'd like some from ya'

    yessssssss 8]

  • RobSellsTacos says:



    ellie looks good

  • MrCaltec says:

    As with any sound manipulation, to what ever extreme its taken, the most important part is the source of that sound, and degree the manipulator decides to put himself in it. I would not call it music. At least not in this case. Nice programs though.

  • RichoRosai says:

    "I didn't actually record your voice, I just plotted it."

    That means you recorded it you pretentious moron.

  • wildboy92004 says:

    Well, if she was moving wierd it's only because I was 'with' her the night before.

  • beb4x says:

    he just ment that he didn't record it in the traditional fation, rather than recording the voice, he recorded the data

  • b-man says:

    And now for some REAL music. Algorithmic sounds/noise put my neurons on edge.

  • peterbriers says:

    it's kinda the same actually. When you record something digitally, it always will "plot" the data.

  • b-man says:

    This guy will blow your mind. Listen to the whole thing as it gets pretty wild 1/2 way thru.

    • Ook says:


      Did you see how many comments on the Weird Al episode?


      Almost beat the combined Sesame Street episodes.


      Coming that close is a serious butt kicking in tuber world!

      • b-man says:

        Damn you Weird Al Yank My Dick for surpassing the David Blaine Central Park episode which has held first spot on YT for the past year. As you may recall, (hint, hint, hint) I composed the music for that wonderful episode. Watch out Yank My Dick cause I've got something in the works that'll blow your scraggly hair right out of the pores in your head.

  • diamonddragoniori says:

    ok this guy is weird.....seriously.....

  • 1trip711 says:

    hipster scum

  • hollowneck says:


    It seems he's not really sure about anything?
    Everything he says goes up at the end?
    Like it's a question?
    Even when it's a statement?
    Anyway, he's not really doing anything that sounds any different to what has been done before?
    Seems he's using a "new" method of making sounds that anyone could have made on a regular computer & readily available software10+ years ago?

    That's my opinion?

    Sorry, I get really annoyed by the question inflection?

  • mbonnar says:

    Great episode!

  • Stewart Champion says:

    Hopefully you folks are aware that since last week all your shows encoded for Tivo downloads have a persistent, extremely annoying, audio gargle effect going on. Whatever you changed recently on your Tivo uploads needs to be looked at again.

  • sonyfucker says:


  • jeffero80 says:

    i'd so like to bone Ellie!

  • LuckyViolinist says:

    How come when you speed something up, the pitch also rises-- why can't we speed something up without increasing the pitch?

  • demonology1 says:

    you can do that, if youre good with software

  • csmceo says:

    Well I hope you took care of whatever it is that you gave her while you were "with" her.

  • wildboy92004 says:

    No, ppl didn't get the joke. She's moving weird cuz I wore her out. :)

  • Arachidon99 says:

    @ LuckyViolinist

    When you speed something up, you compress sound waves so you can play them in a shorter period of time. This means you decrease the length of the wave, but when you do that, you also increase the frequency (as they are inversely proportional). And when the frequency goes up, you have a higher pitch.

    And you can in fact change the speed without changing the pitch. Try open-source Audacity for example. But there is lots of other software.

  • godshiva says:

    You can - you can change the pitch or the tempo in just about any software package. But if you try to modify it too much, it won't sound right. But 25% of either without the other is fine generally.

  • himerius2007 says:

    this was pretty unimpressive.

  • dzikiewicz says:

    we can do that, there are programs that change the tempo of things, kind of like changing the speed, but it wont raise the pitch

  • egg9man says:


  • mundoexchange says:

    I just want to say you are right.

  • fusionrock666 says:

    she is beatiful!

  • maikobot says:

    I Love Electroplankton! So glad you know about that.

  • GERdeathstar says:

    Ellie > Molly

  • faceoffkang says:


  • GERdeathstar says:


  • atkinsda26 says:

    check out my channel

  • sslinux says:

    Please donate one dollar!!

  • sagiras says:

    one big comerciall.... -.-"

  • Gregorz says:

    when she talks it looks like she's fucking dancing around

  • gernak00 says:

    Okay, all of that just went right over my head. Very interesting, though

  • artlthepolarbear says:

    yes her tits are very interesting

  • gernak00 says:

    Oh, um, okay..? I hadn't really noticed... *now cant help but stare*

  • artlthepolarbear says:


  • SexiiAmmberr says:

    sexi girl looking for a sexi guy^^ .. Or girl hihi

  • erdal0 says:

    does anyone listen to what shes saying?

  • JosephCheetah says:

    She said 'Oral' a lot.

  • Uktrayf says:


  • sufoodse says:

    degenerate music

  • 1888junkteam says:

    excellent work!

  • Martin vaillancourt says:

    Nodal is a very simple to use generative music software.

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