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The Haskell School of Music
From Signals to Symphonies


  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108416757

£ 44.99

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About the Authors
  • This book explores the fundamentals of computer music and functional programming through the Haskell programming language. Functional programming is typically considered difficult to learn. This introduction in the context of creating music will allow students and professionals with a musical inclination to leverage their experience to help understand concepts that might be intimidating in more traditional computer science settings. Conversely, the book opens the door for programmers to interact with music by using a medium that is familiar to them. Readers will learn how to use the Euterpea library for Haskell ( to represent and create their own music with code, without the need for other music software. The book explores common paradigms used in algorithmic music composition, such as stochastic generation, musical grammars, self-similarity, and real-time interactive systems. Other topics covered include the basics of signal-based systems in Haskell, sound synthesis, and virtual instrument design.

    • Teaches functional programming languages through music, an accessible and engaging setting
    • Teaches the Haskell programming languages, a powerful tool for applied mathematics and rapid prototyping
    • Introduces music representation and algorithmic composition
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The selection of material is coherent and satisfying, and the book would be suitable for anyone with an interest in computer music, regardless of programming background.' Henrik Nilsson, University of Nottingham

    'Paul Hudak was both a world-leading functional programmer, and skilled jazz musician. This book brings together his two passions, by using Haskell as a domain-specific language for describing music. The result is a fascinating study in how computer science can illuminate art, and art can illuminate computer science.' Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research

    'This book is a joy. It should be in the library of every Haskell programmer and every musicologist interested in the underlying mathematics of music. Conceived and written by Paul Hudak, it was brought to fruition by Donya Quick. A fitting tribute to Paul and his lifetime's interests in both Haskell and music.' Richard Bird, University of Oxford

    'Programming is the most direct and unrestricted way to tell computers how to behave and what to produce. With this book, the reader will not only learn, step by step, a modern programing language in Haskell, but will also understand how such a language can be tuned towards application in music. This legacy of Paul Hudak is one of the most vibrant and decisive calls for popularizing programming techniques as a new and powerful medium for the arts.' David Janin, University of Bordeaux

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108416757
    • length: 398 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Computer music, Euterpea, and Haskell
    2. Simple music
    3. Polymorphic and higher-order functions
    4. A musical interlude
    5. Syntactic magic
    6. More music
    7. Qualified types and type classes
    8. From music to MIDI
    9. Interpretation and performance
    10. Self-similar music
    11. Proof of induction
    12. An algebra of music
    13. L-Systems and generative grammars
    14. Random numbers … and Markov chains
    15. Basic input/output
    16. Higher-order types and monads
    17. Musical user interfaces
    18. Sound and signals
    19. Euterpea's signal functions
    20. Spectrum analysis
    21. Additive and subtractive synthesis
    22. Amplitude and frequency modulation
    23. Physical modeling.

  • Authors

    Paul Hudak
    Paul Hudak was Professor of Computer Science at Yale University, Connecticut, from 1982 to 2015. He was best known for his contributions to the development of the Haskell programming language. A skilled saxophonist and jazz musician, the combination of his enthusiasm for music and computer science led him to create the Euterpea library for representing music in Haskell.

    Donya Quick, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey
    Donya Quick is Research Assistant Professor of Music and Computation at Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey. Her research explores the intersection of artificial intelligence and computational linguistics with music, and includes working on an automated composition system called Kulitta. In addition, she is also involved in the MUSICA project for interactive improvisation and composition by conversion, which is part of the DAPRA Communicating with Computers program.

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