Melody Generation in Max – On demand

Level: Intermediate

The importance of the melody in traditional musical composition is difficult to understate. Often one of the first components the ear latches onto, being able to write a good melody is something of an artform. Producing basic algorithmically-generated melodies using Max/MSP is quite easy, but in order to produce something more ‘musical’ we must refine the generation process.

In this workshop you will learn some ways of generating more complex melodies in Max. This will involve implementing occasional phrase repeats to balance predictability and surprise, locking in some of the more important rhythmic elements and incorporating planned octave jumps alongside more restricted pitch-based travel.

By the end of the workshop you will have constructed a melody generation patch that can be set to play along with your compositions, with a greater understanding of some of the ways in which we can sculpt melody in Max.


    • Max/MSP
    • Algorithmic Composition
    • Melody


  • You should be comfortable with the general workflow and data formatting in Max.

  • Knowledge of MIDI format and routing to DAWs (Ableton, Logic etc) would be a plus, although Max instruments will be provided.

  • You should have some basic knowledge of music theory: chords, scales, modes etc.

About the workshop leader 

Samuel Pearce-Davies is a composer, performer, music programmer and Max hacker living in Cornwall, UK.

With a classical music background, it was his introduction to Max/MSP during undergraduate studies at Falmouth University that sparked Sam’s passion for music programming and algorithmic composition.

Going on to complete a Research Masters in computer music, Sam is now studying a PhD at Plymouth University in music-focused AI.