Generative Music Generator in Memory of Anton Webern
© 2005-2011 by Karlheinz Essl

MacOSX UB   vs. 2.3     NEW
released: 12 Jan 2011

Windows XP   vs. 2.1 beta
released: 10 Sep 2006

"Like all of Karlheinz's shareware, this is extraordinary. Weird interface, strange nomenclature and completely original. On the web radio station I will someday open (www.robotradio.net) this music and the other Essl soundscapes will be the signature sound. Don't put radio on computers -- put the computers on the radio! Thanks, Karlheinz!" (Dennis Willem)

MacMusic - 6 Sep 2006 -

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

On September 15th, 1945 the Austrian composer Anton Webern was accidentially shot dead by an American GI in Mittersill, Salzburg where Webern had escaped from the Russian invasion.

WebernUhrWerk (translated: Webern's Clockwork) was composed as an open-air sound installation for the 60th anniversary of Webern's death which took place on 15 September 2005 on the market place at Mittersill. A loudspeaker placed into the open roof window of the city hall was connected to the audio output of this program. Every quarter of an hour, a short musical phrase with a Carillon sound was played which could be heard all over the city - like the sounds of bells ringing every 15 minutes.

This action will be continued every year on September 15th. If you want to share the memory of Webern with us, you can join us by starting the "WebernUhrWerk" program and play its sound output over a loudspeaker system - at home, during a public event or even in open space.

Compositional Aspects

This realtime composition is based on the twelve-tone row of Anton Webern's last opus which he started in Mittersill and which he was unable to finish due to his unexpected death:

Twelve-tone row of Anton Webern's unfinished op. 32

This series serves as the basic material for a composition algorithm that generates music in real time which never repeats itself. The row is subjected to an algorithm that uses the structure of the series as its own permutation program. The pitch classes are then mapped onto fixed registers of which 6 different models are existing - minor seconds, major seconds, minor thirds, major thirds, a combination of minor and major seconds and finally a sort of all-interval row. Each model is represented by a twelve-tone chord where each pitch class occurs in a fixed register.

For each quarter of an hour, 4 independent rhythmical models have been created. Although their outlines are defined, infinite variants are obtained by utilizing random procedures and aleatoric methods for constructing the rhythmic structure.

Programming Aspects

"WebernUhrWerk" is written in Max/MSP (© 1993-2006 by Cycling74 / IRCAM) using my Real Time Composition Library (RTC-lib), a collection of compositional algorithms and tools which I have been developing since 1992. The programming structure of "WebernUhrWerk" is completely transparent - if you double-click one of the grey boxes, its hidden content would show in a new window. If you are experienced in Max or Pd you can easily understand how the program function.

User interface of WebernUhrwerk 2.3

user interface

System Requirements



The work provided here for download is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work under the following conditions:

Your fair use and other rights are in no way affected by the above.

Freeware Notice

WebernUhrWerk is computer program by Karlheinz Essl which is released *as it is*. It is distributed as freeware and protected by copyright. As far as the entire content of the original distribution is not changed and no money is charged, this program may be spread freely and can also be included in CD-ROMs and Internet archives.


MacOSX UB   WebernUhrWerk 2.3 UB - for Mac (PPC and Intel)    NEW
released 12 Jan 2011: ZIP archive (7.8 MB)

  WebernUhrWerk 2.1 - for Mac (PPC only)
released 4 Sep 2006: Apple disk image (1.2 MB)

Windows XP   WebernUhrWerk 2.1 beta - for Windows XP
released 10 Sep 2006: zip archive (2.1 MB)
compiled for Windows XP / Windows 2000 by Nesa Popov

Softpedia Clean Award

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And even more...

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Updated: 12 Jan 2011