Illiac Suite

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

It is generally agreed upon that the Illiac Suite is the first piece of music composed by an electronic computer.[1] 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.[2]


  1. ^ "The Role of Computer Technology in Music and Musicology",
  2. ^ 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.