Illiac Suite

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Illiac Suite is a piece of music that is generally agreed to be the first 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, corresponding to four 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 Markov chains.[2]


  1. ^ "The Role of Computer Technology in Music and Musicology",
  2. ^ Lejaren A. Hiller and Leonard M. Isaacson, Experimental Music: Composition With an Electronic Computer, second edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959): 5–7. Reprinted, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. ISBN 978-0-313-22158-3.