Generative Music Tools: Turing Machine – LIVE Session

Level: Intermediate

There are a broad array of techniques musicians can use to generate music in Max. One such process involves taking inspiration from Alan Turing’s early work on proto-computers, in particular the notion of a tape with data being displayed on it.

This workshop will provide you with the information to construct such a generative device, a ‘Turing Machine’, to supplement your compositional practice.

Session Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of a Turing Machine in a musical context.

  • Patch together a generative process using randomisation and counters.

  • Build a functional UI to tweak different aspects of the generative process in real time.

  • Use the finished device to both generate music through MIDI and control broader parameters of software instruments.

Session Study Topics

  • Turing machines, generative music.

  • Random processes: drunken walks and probability.

  • Visual design in Max

  • Composition through MIDI and software instrument manipulation.


  • A computer and internet connection
  • Access to a copy of Max 7 or 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

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.

Arcologies: a workshop for Monome norns & grid / On-demand

For Monome norns and grid, arcologies is a 21st century instrument for musical composition and discovery. Built by Tyler as a “2020 pandemic sanity project” and released in September it has already attracted passionate following.

Through a series of “breakout-room” team challenges you will learn how to build and sculpt evolving sound compositions with Arcologies.

We’ll cover signal flow, melodies, chords, and evolving systems with modulation, euclidean rhythms, and Turing machines.


  • Electronic music composition techniques.
  • Generative music.
  • monome norns
  • monome grid


About the workshop leader

Tyler Etters is a polymath-artist currently residing in Los Angeles. His uniquely 21st century practice encompasses a range of mediums including music, film, analog photography, and software design. He is Vice President at Highland and received his BFA in Graphic Design from Columbia College Chicago.