David Cope

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David Cope (born May 17, 1941, in San Francisco, California) is an American author, composer, scientist, and Dickerson Emeriti Professor of Music at UC Santa Cruz. His primary area of research involves artificial intelligence and music; he writes programs and algorithms that can analyze existing music and create new compositions in the style of the original input music. He taught the groundbreaking summer workshop in Workshop in Algorithmic Computer Music (WACM) that was open to the public as well as a general education course entitled Artificial Intelligence and Music for enrolled UCSC students. Cope is also co-founder and CTO Emeritus of Recombinant Inc., a music technology company.[1]


Cope is the inventor of US Patent #7696426 "Recombinant music composition algorithm and method of using the same," which he filed in 2006.[2]


His EMI (Experiments in Musical Intelligence) software has produced works in the style of various composers, some of which have been commercially recorded[3]—ranging from short pieces to full-length operas.[citation needed]

His subsequent Emily Howell program models musical creativity based on the types of creativity outlined by Margaret Boden in her book The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms.[citation needed]

As a composer, Cope's own work has encompassed a variety of styles—from the traditional to the avant-garde—and techniques, such as unconventional manners of playing, experimental musical instrument, and microtonal scales, including a 33-note system of just intonation he developed himself.[3] Most recently, all of his original compositions have been written in collaboration with the computer—based on the input of his earlier works. He seeks synergy between composer creativity and computer algorithm as his principal creative direction.


Cope has published a wide range of books, which are often used as textbooks. New Directions in Music, first published in 1971, is currently in its 7th edition and is the standard text for contemporary music.[4] In 2009, Cope was interviewed by the media in anticipation of the release of a CD containing music composed collaboratively by Cope and Emily Howell, a computer program.[citation needed]

Cope has also published a series of detective novels under a pseudonym.[5]

In 2022, Cope published the book Ethics of Computer-Assisted Music. Cope argues that just as there are differences in the application of ethics and morals among diverse cultures across society, there are similar ethical complexities that exist within the field of computer music.[6]


  • Cope, David (1991). Computers and Musical Style. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions.
  • —— (1996). Experiments in Musical Intelligence. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions.
  • —— (1997). Techniques of the Contemporary Composer. New York City: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-864737-8.
  • —— (2000). New Directions in Music, 7th ed. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press. ISBN 1-57766-108-7.
  • —— (2000). The Algorithmic Composer. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions.
  • —— (2001). Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-53261-1.
  • —— (2006). Computer Models of Musical Creativity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • —— (2008). Hidden Structure: Music Analysis Using Computers. Madison, Wisconsin: A-R Editions. ISBN 978-0-89579-640-0.
  • —— (2012). A Musicianship Primer San Francisco. Epoc Books. ISBN 978-1-4776-8786-4.
  • —— (2022). Cope, David (March 19, 2022). Ethics of Computer-Assisted Music. Coppell, Texas: Self-published. ISBN 979-8-4304-3236-2.


  • 1992. "A Computer Model of Music Composition." In Machine Models of Music, Stephan Schwanauer and David Levitt, eds.: MIT Press.
  • 1992. "On the Algorithmic Representation of Musical Style." In Musical Intelligence, M. Balaban, K. Ebcioglu, and O. Laske, eds. : AAAI Press.
  • 1998. "Signatures and Earmarks: Computer Recognition of Patterns in Music." In Melodic Similarity, Concepts, Procedures, and Applications. Walter B. Hewlett and Eleanor Selfridge-Field (eds.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.


  • 1987. "Experiments in Music Intelligence." In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, San Francisco: Computer Music Association.
  • 1987. "An Expert System for Computer-Assisted Music Composition." Computer Music Journal 11,4 (Winter): 30–46.
  • 1988. "Music and LISP." AI Expert 3,3 (March): 26–34.
  • 1988. "Music: The Universal Language." In Proceedings of the First Workshop on AI and Music. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: AAAI: 87–98.
  • 1989. "Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI): Non-Linear Linguistic-based Composition." Interface, vol. 18: 117–139.
  • 1990. "Pattern Matching as an Engine for the Computer Simulation of Musical Style." In Proceedings of the 1990 ICMC. San Fran Computer Music Association
  • 1991. "Recombinant Music." COMPUTER. (July).
  • 1991. "Computer Simulations of Musical Style." Computers in Music Research, The Queens University of Belfast, 7–10 (April): 15–17.
  • 1992. "Computer Modeling of Musical Intelligence in Experiments in Musical Intelligence." Computer Music Journal 16,2 (Summer): 69–83.
  • 1993. "Virtual Music." Electronic Musician, 9:5 (May): 80–85.
  • 1996. "Mimesis du style et de la structure musicale." Symposium on Composition, Modelisation et Ordinateur. IRCAM, Paris: 21–23.
  • 1997. "Composer's Underscoring Environment." In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference. San Fran: Computer Music Association.
  • 1997. "The Composer's Underscoring Environment: CUE." Computer Music Journal 21/3 (Fall).
  • 1999. "One Approach to Musical Intelligence." IEEE Intelligent Systems. Los Alamitos, California: IEEE Computer Society (14/3, May/June).
  • 2000. "Facing the Music: Perspectives on Machine Composed Music." Leonardo Music Journal 9: 79–87.
  • 2002. "Computer Analysis and Composition Using Atonal Voice-Leading Techniques." Perspectives of New Music 40/1 (Winter): 121–146.
  • 2003. "Computer Analysis of Musical Allusions." Computer Music Journal 27/1: 11–28.
  • 2004. "A Musical Learning Algorithm." Computer Music Journal 28/3: 12–27.
  • 2006. "The Vivaldi Code" Wired, issue 14. September 9, 2006.


  • 1982. The Way. Opus One Records. Number 82.
  • 1993. Bach by Design. Centaur Records. CRC 2184
  • 1997. Classical Music Composed by Computer. Centaur Records. CRC 2329
  • 1997. Virtual Mozart. Centaur Records. CRC 2452
  • 1999. Towers. Vienna Modern Masters. VMM 2024
  • 2003. Virtual Bach. Centaur Records. CRC 2619
  • 2009. From Darkness, Light (Emily Howell). Centaur Records. CRC 3023
  • 2011. Symphony No. 4. Epoc. B008J5IK78
  • 2012. Symphony No. 5. Epoc. B008J5IFD2
  • 2012. Symphony No. 9 "(Martin Luther King, Jr.)" Epoc. B008J5IGCW
  • 2012. String Quartets 5 and 6. Epoc. B008O9RZTS
  • 2012. Violin Concerto/Viola Concerto. Epoc. B008J5IGRC
  • 2012. Cello Concerto/Octet for Strings. Epoc. B008K8VJM2
  • 2012. Piano Concerto/Re-Birth/Transcendence. Epoc. B008PYPDUK

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Recombinant Website". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  2. ^ US Patent #7696426
  3. ^ a b Cockrell 2001.
  4. ^ de la Vega, Aurelio (1984). "Review of New Directions in Music". American Music. 2 (2): 98–100. doi:10.2307/3051670. ISSN 0734-4392. JSTOR 3051670.
  5. ^ Cope n.d.
  6. ^ Cope, David (March 19, 2022). Ethics of Computer-Assisted Music. Coppell, Texas: Self-published. p. 9. ISBN 979-8-4304-3236-2.


Further reading[edit]

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