HMSL - Hierarchical Music Specification Language
HMSL was a popular music language from 1986 to 1996. HMSL was available from Frog
Peak Music but is now out of print.
HMSL is a programming language for experimental music composition and performance.
It is an object oriented set of extensions to the Forth language that for the Amiga and the Macintosh. HMSL was developed by Phil
, Larry Polansky
and David Rosenboom
Mills College Center
for Contemporary Music
and is distributed by Frog
Click here for more details on
Click here for downloadable examples,
fixes, and the HMSL DSP code. Also check out Tom Erbe's HMSL
Last updated 1/25/06.
Call for Contributions
If you are an HMSL programmer and would like to share your software, writings,
or HMSL generated General MIDI files on this web site, please contact us here
Listen to Some Pieces
HMSL is normally used for live interactive MIDI performance but you can
hear some pieces that have been captured in a MIDIFile. They are targetted
to General MIDI and are designed to be heard using the QuickTime (or other)
MIDI Plug In.
Plague by Nick Didkovsky for Dr. Nerve.
SUBDIV was composed by gamelan composer
and electronic music pioneer Phil Corner and programmed by Phil Burk.
REL_TUNING explores relative dynamic
Hear various composers on the CD HALLWAYS:
11 Musicians and HMSL. Here's a review,
search for "HMSL".
1990 - Nick Didkovsky video of "Lottery" at Mills College with Larry Polansky, Robert Marsanyi and Phil Burk
HMSL Related Links
publishes a number
of composers who use HMSL in their work including JohnBischoff
, Chris Brown, and the Hub
They also have a CD of Jim
's work. Jim's theories on music provide the foundation for much
Nick Didkovsky is an active HMSL composer in New York who has written
several articles on HMSL including:
for Performers and Live Interactive Computer"
Simple Harmonic Motion
Han-earl Park is an active HMSL constructor from Cal Arts. Check out his
"io" web site
. Han imagines
that "if io could describe its cognitive insides, io would describe it
as running on the HMSL engine. However, io cannot describe anything."
Nick Peck's thesis "Expressive
Electronics: User Interface Design and Timbral Manipulation in the Music
of Nick Peck"
Everett has composed extensively with HMSL.
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