Published April 18, 2023 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Ziffers - Numbered Musical Notation for Live Coding and Algorithmic Composition

  • 1. Department of Computer Science. Aalto University, Finland
  • 2. ECLLA. Université Jean Monnet, France


Ziffers is an algorithmic number based musical notation for live coding. It offers concise syntax to support composition
and improvisation with complex melodies and rhythms. Ziffers is the result of experiments in unifying several types
of musical notation centred around the use of symbols and numbers. It is inspired by the older numbered musical
notations (Ziffersystem, Jianpu), contemporary music theory (pitch-class sets, post-tonal music analysis, serialism) and
shorthand notations used in live-coding. Ziffers aims for a balance between fixed media music notation and generative
notations for live coding performance. In this article, we propose an implementation agnostic numbered notation for
algorithmic composition and live coding. As a proof of concept, this article will also present a live-coding framework for
Ziffers notation and an export plugin for a general purpose scorewriter. In doing so, we hope to highlight the versatility
of our approach in using unified syntax for different contexts of execution and interpretation.



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