Common Music is a music composition system that transforms high-level algorithmic representations of musical processes and structure into a variety of control protocols for sound synthesis and display. Its main user application is Grace (Graphical Realtime Algorithmic Composition Environment) a drag-and-drop, cross-platform app implemented in JUCE (C++) and S7 Scheme. In Grace musical algorithms can run in real time, or faster-than-real time when doing file-based composition. Grace provides two coding languages for designing musical algorithms: S7 Scheme, and SAL, an easy-to-learn but expressive algol-like language.


  • March 8, 2014: Version 3.9.0 released. This is a major release containing many enhancements and bug fixes. View change log.
  • April 21, 2012: Version 3.8.0 released. This release contains enhancements and bug fixes. View change log.



Links to some of my music created with Common Music and CLM.


Common Music began in 1989 as a response to the proliferation of different audio hardware, software and computers that resulted from the introduction of low cost computers. As choices increased it became clear that composers would be well served by a portable, powerful and consistent interface to the myriad sound rendering possibilities. Work on Common Music began in 1989 when the author was a guest composer at CCRMA, Stanford University. Much of the system as it exists today was implemented at the Institut für Musik und Akustik at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Germany, where the author worked for five years. Common Music continues to evolve today at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where the author is now an associate professor of music composition. In 1996 Common Music received First Prize in the computer-assisted composition category at the 1er Concours International de Logiciels Musicaux in Bourges, France.


Common Music is open-source software released under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Vizsage Public License, which basically says that non-commercial users may share and modify the code but must also give credit and share improvements. For complete terms please read the text of the full license available here.

For questions, comments and help concerning Grace, Common Music and the other CCRMA Lisp music programs Snd, CLM and CMN, please join the CMDIST mailing list by e-mailing your request to: cmdist-request@ccrma.stanford.edu.

Rick Taube
Associate Professor Composition/Theory
School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1114 W. Nevada Street Urbana, Illinois 61801
Net: taube@illinois.edu
Fax: +1 (217) 355 5780
Vox: +1 (217) 244 2684

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