Bach Project - Sid Meier
Sid Meier demonstrates his landmark CPU Bach program
to Dr. John Q. Walker and Dr. Anatoly Larkin (Zenph Studios)
One of the reactions that I got when I told people
I was going to write a computer program
to compose in the style of Bach
was that we might ruffle a few feathers
with the idea that computers could create music.
There were certainly a lot of questions at the beginning
of whether this was even possible.
CPU Bach was released in 1994.
CPU Bach came about at an interesting time in my life.
I’d just finished the computer name called Civilization,
which turned out to be quite successful
and was the first really huge game that I created.
And I was looking for what am I going to do next.
The idea of CPU Bach was to create a river of music
and was really intended to be something
you’d put in your living room
and hook up to your television.
We actually programmed the algorithms
so that it could compose just as fast as it played the music.
When I was a kid, I learned the violin
and I played the Bach Double Concerto.
The music was so different and so rich
and deep from anything else I played
that I had to understand who wrote this music
and how did this person create this great music.
I think that really started a lifelong interest in Bach.
We’re coming to more and more accept
a confluence of art and technology
and CPU Bach I think was one of the first steps really
in creating that overlap between technology and art.
This generation has grown up with computers
and interactivity and gaming,
and to use that technology to introduce them to something
like the music of Bach could be really exciting.