Alberto Vignani


Torino, Italy


I discovered twentieth-century music at the age of 12, through the works of Messiaen and Stravinsky. I then grew up and became a software engineer; in the meantime I made some experiences in electronic music playing analog synthesizers with Enore Zaffiri in Torino and Josef Anton Riedl in Muenchen.

Software used

Cubase SX, Kontakt, Garritan Personal Orchestra, ISMIDI (custom algorithmic composition and MIDI transformation tool), Poodles and Flan, Improvise


I have of course also written music “by hand”, and then used the computer only to render it; I have uploaded all the material composed between 2001 and 2003 on Rapidshare.

The reason why I started writing my own composers tool (let’s call it algorithmic MIDI processor) was on one hand to experiment with generation and manipulation of musical structures at the software level. On the other hand, I wanted to automate as much as possible the generation of orchestral music by quickly creating lots of raw materials on which to choose/build later. To be fair, using algorithms to compose and samples to perform is not very unconventional today… but one always hope to do things nobody else has already done.

The program ISMIDI is written in C++ and runs under Windows 2000/XP. It is NOT realtime, and knows only MIDI (no audio); it is fast enough to calculate a piece in a matter of minutes (if not seconds), after which it can switch to its internal multi-interface MIDI player (up to 128 channels) to drive the sampler(s).

The program works by extracting several features (melodies, tempos, harmonies) from an existing MIDI or pattern specification file, recombine them in various ways, add decorations and derived variations of precomposed structures (currently mostly at random). It also makes attempts at automatic orchestration and spectral music (e.g. ring-modulated chords or microtonal shifts to match a given scale or spectrum). In Feb.2006 I added an association network (see Cope) and a script language to better control the processes and remove as much as possible of the randomness.

Among other features are an orchestration database, a melody database with data taken from the Essen collection and the Barlow collection, the Clara Empricost composing algorithm and a Lindenmayer Systems generator.

During the first half of 2008 I have extensively rewritten it, and added a LAN-based MIDI player with up to 160 channels. This version is now frozen, while I’m currently working on the analysis section of its successor ISMIDI4 (based on David Cope’s ideas). I hope to make all this stuff available on the net some time in the future, but don’t hold your breath.

License: Creative Commons: Attribution-Sharealike

Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum

Some pieces I sequenced in 2003. You will find these, together with my rendition of the Introitus from Symphonic Variations and some Messiaen, on Rapidshare.

RetroChopitch (2003) 2:07
A well-known Chopin Etude, whose pitches are spelled backwards. With some hand-editing at the end.

Zol-Bach (2003) 5:29
What happened when ISMIDI merged the pitches of a Kodaly song with the rhythms of the 2nd Brandenburg Concerto. The choice of a jazz quartet to render it was almost a natural one.

L'Oiseau de Pierre (2003)
In this idiomatically Messiaen-like piece, most of the work was done using Poodles and Flan, then decorated with ISMIDI. The string drones were done with Improvise.

The following are some examples of what ISMIDI can do when interfaced to a sampler.
They were performed with a basic 96-track orchestral setup using Kontakt 2 and Gigastudio 3 with samples taken from Garritan Personal Orchestra, VSL Kontakt Library, Project SAM, Kirk Hunter Emerald Orchestra and others.
This is unprocessed computer output, the only edits I do after recording a performance are removals of unwanted/uninteresting material, like silences too long or passages too garbled or unbalanced. These pieces have no title - they are still only raw musical materials.
As normally with software.. the later, the better. At least I hope so.

The Infamous One-Note Piece (7/2006) 12:04
One among thousands of possible single-pitch pieces, with the usual microtonal variations and some rhythmic and brassy pepper. This one has a quite dramatic feeling.

pattn_te_92b (7/2006) 7:10
Sweet orchestral piece, with rational tuning (all pitches are rational multiples of a fixed frequency, with a maximum given denominator; in this case, 24.00Hz and 11)

Three-hand Piano Etude (7/2006) 9:52
Ligeti plus Kapustin?

Two Piano Etude with Orchestral Sauce (7/2006) 4:51

pattn_te_60b (4/2006) 8:06
Birdlike woodwind patterns

pattn_te_61c (3/2006) 12:29
Composed by Clara Empricost and auto-orchestrated

pattn_te_23a (11/2005) 7:13 ring-modulated textures

pattn_te_57j (3/2006) 10:30
For piano; composed by Clara Empricost and decorated

pattn_te_62h (4/2006) 5:54
Another pentatonic interference pattern for piano and orchestra

All the best stuff I did with Ismidi from 2005 to 2008 is now also stored on Rapidshare.

tags: artist audio mp3 ismidi poodles_and_flan wivi improvise