I have been fascinated with stochastic composition methods for a long time, there are some wonderful ideas and theories that I have seen or thought up over the years and it appears I am not alone. This comes from an article entitled Math Trek: Mozart’s Melody Machine by Ivars Peterson at Science News Online
The short version goes like this (but do read the article, it’s a ripper).
In the late 18th century in Europe Music Publishers vied with one another to print the works of the latest “hot” composer. One of the tricks of the trade to get the punters in was to publish systems that would allow any amateur to compose music without having to know anything about composition.
The London music publisher Welcker, for example, issued a “Tabular System whereby the Art of Composing Minuets is made so easy that any person, without the least Knowledge of Musick, may compose ten thousand, all different, and in the most pleasing and correct Manner.”
This is so cool. It seems that Mozart, Bach and others have all invented these musical dice games. And with New York getting ready for the 250th Anniversary “Mostly Mozart” Festival it seems like it might be a good time to have a look at Mozart’s games.