Lye: How a Musician Built a Music Box

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 28, 2012 from 4:45 – 5:30pm in B301


Musicians tend to demand specialized tools for computer-aided music generation. Come listen to me dissect a tool I wrote to satisfy my needs.


Lye is a library for generating music by assembling snippets of musical notation into fully-fledged MIDI-based targets, like MIDI files or MIDI synthesizers.

Lye was designed to strange specifications. It can output indefinitely-long sequences of music to live synthsizers, or it can render a fixed-size chunk of notes to a file for later playback. These requirements forced a departure from existing Python-based music libraries and an exploration of the possibilities of musical representation and manipulation.

Components in Lye include complex parsers and lexers, curious data structures, and interaction with arcane libraries. The talk will cover each of the components in moderate detail, explaining how they were designed and how they behave in contrast to other music libraries.

This talk should not require any music theory to be enjoyable, but musicians might get extra enjoyment out of it.

Speaking experience

I have no relevant or notable speaking experience. I have played a lot of music, though. This talk was concieved specially for Open Source Bridge.