Pattern Machine /// 2004 /// Interactive Sound Installation
/// Ludger Brümmer / Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan / Götz Dipper


How do pieces of music arise? Which compositional methods and stylistic means exist? The interactive sound installation Pattern Machine developed at the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics deals with the formation and variation of basic musical patterns: these so-called patterns are repeatedly formed and varied.
Via a graphics interface, which manages the data on a screen, the visitors can enter a ten-sonous melody and go on to form derivations from this original pattern. A group of technicians, who drew on composers from almost every epoch, are available to you here: you can play the pattern backwards (“Crab”) or mirror the tones horizontally (“Reversion”); you can accumulatively string together single tones or, by means of “phasing” play back two overlapping, temporally shifted patterns and in different tempi such that, through the shifted phases new melodies and rhythm tenors emerge. The viewer becomes a composer, a designer of melodies.
Pattern Machine illustrates those concepts of repetition and variation of small units that not even such composers of minimal music as Steve Reich used. Johann Sebastian Bach already used rhythmic and melodic patterns in his Preludes, and the accompanying figures of classical works touch on the pattern technique, as witnessed in Debussy-and Ravel’s Arabesques.
(Text: Diana Keppler)

Ludger Brümmer (*1958 in Werne) studied composition under Nicolaus A. Huber and Dirk Reith at the Folkwang Academy of Music, Essen. DAAD Scholar at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, California from 1991–1993. Teaching activities at the Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media at the Folkwang Academy of Music, Essen, at Kingston University London, at the Sonic Art Research Centre in Belfast and at the Academy for Fine Arts and Design Karlsruhe. Brümmer is a composer and has been director of the Institute Music and Acoustics at the ZKM | Karlsruhe since 2003. Received numerous awards, among which were the Goldene Nica of ars electronica and the Grand Prix de Bourges. In his works, he uses the computer as a tool for compositional design and for the generation of sound. Questions relating to the intermedial connection of music, video and dance frequently constitute the focus of his works.

Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan (* 1975 in Washington D.C.) studied mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. Mathematics, 1997) and media art at the UC Santa Barbara (M.A. Media Arts and Technology, 2003), where he completed his thesis under Dr. Curtis Roads and Stephen T. Pope. Scholar at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in the dept. of Sound Art from 2003–2004. He has since been working for the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics.


Götz Dipper (*1966 in Stuttgart) studied cello at the Hannover Academy of Music and at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg. He later went on to specialize in computer music and informatics. He has been working as systems administrator at the ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics since 2001.

Photo: Anatole Serexhe

Ludger Brümmer/Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan/Götz Dipper, Pattern Machine, 2004, interactive Sound Installation, ZKM | Institute for Musics and Acoustics