Date of Award


First Advisor

Paul Shields

Second Advisor

Laurence Wallach

Third Advisor

John Myers


Music has historically been, and is still, considered a uniquely human endeavor. The creative skills necessary to produce “music” as it is generally defined are associated strongly with human creativity, and computer-composed music is looked upon with disdain. Is it possible, then, to write a computer program which can not simply compose music, but actively improvise music in conjunction with an accompanist? To tackle this endeavor, this thesis presents a computer program that, using a combination of various algorithms and random chance, can listen to and play with, in real time, a human pianist, using the MIDI standard. While hardly at the level of Thelonious Monk or Count Basie, the music it produces is tonally coherent and both melodically and rhythmically varied. Greg will not be replacing human musicians any time soon, but as an experiment in automated musical improvisation, it fulfills its purpose.


Ask at the Alumni Library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis.

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