It is generally agreed upon that the Illiac Suite is the first piece of music composed by an electronic computer. The piece, programmed by the computer and performed from notation, in the form of a string quartet, was the result of a collaboration by Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson in 1956. At the time, both composers were Professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The piece consists of four movements, called experiments: the first is about the generation of cantus firmi, the second generates four-voice segments with various rules, the third deals with rhythm, dynamics and playing instructions, and the fourth with various models and probabilities for generative grammars or Markoff chains.
- "The Role of Computer Technology in Music and Musicology", lim.dico.unimi.it.
- Hiller, Lejaren A., and Leonard M. Isaacson. (1959/1979). Experimental Music: Composition With an Electronic Computer,[page needed]. McGraw-Hill, New York. ISBN 978-0-313-22158-3.