ICLC 2023 Catalogue

Ziffers: Numbered Notation for Algorithmic Composition

Miika Alonen, Raphaël Maurice Forment

Was presented at:

Live Stream Recording (YouTube)

Publication: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7841945


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.