Variations on a Randomly Generated Minuet and Trio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Op. 81

Mr. Stolyarov composes four variations for piano and harpsichord, based on a minuet and trio that were randomly generated – most likely for the first time – using the rules in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game, K. 516f).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the pioneers of algorithmic composition. In 1787 he developed his Musikalisches Würfelspiel (Musical Dice Game, K. 516f), which could generate unique minuets and trios by associating specific measures with rolls of dice (2 6-sided dice for the minuet, 1 6-sided die for the trio). Following Mozart’s table of rules, it is possible to generate (11^16)*(6^16) = 66^16 = 129,629,238,163,050,258,624,287,932,416 unique minuet/trio combinations. This means that any given iteration of the Musikalisches Würfelspiel has most likely never been heard before and, if preserved, adds to the available musical variety derived from Mozart’s compositional technique.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the rules for the Musikalisches Würfelspiel and hear the individual measures in MIDI format here.

Download “Musikalische Würfelspiele” – a free German-language program by Peter Baumann that can generate full MIDI files for compositions created using the musical dice games of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Philipp Kirnberger.

This composition and video may be freely reproduced using the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike International 4.0 License.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

– “Musikalisches Würfelspiel” – Wikipedia
– “Mozart’s Musikalisches Würfelspiel” – Page by John Chuang
Portrait of Gennady Stolyarov II – by Wendy Stolyarov
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About Gennady Stolyarov II

Gennady Stolyarov II is an actuary, science-fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress.

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