Fractal Music

Fractal Image

By G. Forrest Cook

Fractal music, like the fractal imagery above is based on self similarity of patterns where the minute details resemble the larger structure. I have been working with fractal music since 1982, I originally wrote the software on a Z80 based CP/M system in the C language, the code was ported to DOS and parts of it have been moved to the Linux platform.

In the early 1990s, I attended a speech by Benoit Mandelbrot, the mathematician who brought fractals into the public eye. I asked Mandelbrot what he though about fractals in music, his reply was simply: "Beethoven, Beatles, and Bach".

Fractals Everywhere Volume 1

This compilation was originally for sale on this page as a CD. In September, 2019 the material was made available for free download on under a Creative Commons (CC) license.

The fractal music in my compilation resembles many different styles of music, from classical to jazz to new age, and electronica. Composition of a musical fractal consists of listening to random seed melodies until an interesting pattern is heard, then rendering the seed pattern into a fractal. The results are often quite pleasing.

This first compilation has 26 selections with a wide variety of fractal music, consisting of jazzy, classical, electronic and new age styles. Here is an MP3 sample track (720KB) with 6 excerpts from the compilation. If you like electronic music please take a listen, it is quite unique.

Soundtrack for a Low-Budget Sci-Fi Movie

This collection consists of 14 audio tracks that feature a variety of analog synthesizer and electronic sound effects. Simply put, it's probably some of the weirdest sounding stuff you have probably ever heard. The collection contains a mix of fractals, Orbitar solos, and even short-wave radio sounds. The selections tend to be more ambient and less tekno, it would be difficult to dance to this stuff. The tonal range alone makes this collection worth having, it will exercise any stereo system to the limits.

This collection was also originally for sale on this page as a CD. In January, 2020 the material was made available for free download on under a Creative Commons (CC) license.

A bonus track (track 14, Invisible Box Floating effortlessly through space) was added as a nice final track for this collection. It was a collaborative project made with Hallam P. Weeks and myself. The track was recorded on 1/4 inch analog tape and was rescued from eternal obscurity and digitized in 2020. It features a collage of sounds including keyboard work by Hal, heavily effected bass guitar by myself and a sequencer track made on an Imsai 8080 CP/M computer using a square wave sound synthesizer card.

Also, visit my Analog Music Synthesizers page.