Monday, May 4, 2015

How to Write Music by Rolling Dice

Rolling for Music ( No Promises)

Select a Key

1d6 time top number

1d6 time bottom number

1d6 phrase length (in Measures; one measure is the number of beats that was rolled for the top number of the time roll)

Note : flip  a coin; roll 1d10, 1-8 this note is this many notes above/below in the scale from the last note, 9-10 this could be  a thematic note, like the 3rd or 5th ( Or 1/3 half step below last note or anything) of the scale.

one can use 6 different intervals for note, if one only has a d6. One can assign the same interval more than once within a dice, it is all up to taste.

Note length : 1d6 (Any roll will work, this just an example result)

1: 1/8th
2 : 1/4th
3 : Dotted 1/4th
4: Half
5 ; Dotted half
6 : Whole


1: Rest
2: 16th
3 : 1/8th
4 : Dotted 1/8th
5 : 1/4
6 : Dotted 1/4

Roll 1d6 or rest, or pick alternating rest of length (e.g. alternating 1/8th rest every other beat) (Roll a 1 one a 1d6, if success, this note is rest)

Rest length : Can be the same or different than note length

1: 1/8th
2 : 1/4th
3 : Dotted 1/4th
4: Dotted 1/4th
5 ; 1/4th
6 :  1/8th

If one rolls a note that would “break” one’s phrase, or make it longer than it actually is, one does not use this note and rerolls.

Once the phrase is completed. One can roll another phrase. Until one gets the desired number of phrases.

One can select to have more than one instrument, at this point, on rolls a phrase for each instrument, while keeping the instruments in the same key.


Coin Flip or roll a 1 (or 1 or 2) on a 1d6 to change the key

This is like a note roll, but rather than change the note, it changes the key, and the key changes to the key rolled on the scale. If one likes the key for one’s song, one can choose not to change it. One can even limit this two two keys, and say 1d6, 12345 is original key and 6 is the complementary key, complementary key gets a minimum of two phrases in a row.

Accents, one could say, 50% chance to accent each 1st and 3rd beat of a measure. Staccato every 8th note that is followed by an 8th rest that is followed by another 8th note followed by an 8th rest.

Guitar/Piano band

Chord- This is the chord structure of the rhythm guitar/piano

The guitar keeps it’s chords in key, and plays them in a structure. One can set up one’s own structure. With (IV being major 4th, and iv being minor 4th, etc).

A key has a set of chords that defines it. A key can be major or minor. They are listed as roman numerals.
I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII

If one does not know a chord structure, then one can roll with a 1d6, leaving out any part or the 7th chord. And one rolls 1d6 for 1/2/3/4/6/8 times , this chord progression is stretched across 1/2/3/4 phrases, with the length of the chord rolled as the length of a note. This verse (collection of phrases) is repeated 1/2/3/4/x times.

There is a

Common Structures for popular music.
I - IV - V - V
I - I - IV - IV
I - IV - I - IV
IV - V - IV
I -III - IV or iv - VI
I - vi - IV - V
I - vi - ii - V
I - IV - V

Lead - This is rolled like a normal instrument part. The key it is either in is the key that the chord being played is, or otherwise the part would stay in the key that is selected to base the chords being played off of.

Play Key of A ~ { I- IV -IV ~ A  - D - E } ~ then the lead is played in the Key of A

Drums- Rolled like a normal instrument part. The range of a drum set is limited. So the roll for note could be something like this. (But one’s drum could only have snare and rim for all anyone knows.)

1: snare
2: kick / bass drum
3: Hi Hat closed
4: Rim
5: Cowbell
6: Roll 2nd dice

1: Cymbal
2 : Open High Hat
3 : Cowbell
4 : Low Tom
5 : Mid Tom
6 : High Tom / Snare

One can say the bass drum will only occur on beats 1 and 3. A drummer plays 1/2 notes at a time.

This is rolled like a normal note. One can take the 3 shorter note lengths on the 1d6 and have them mirror the 3 longest note lengths.

If this is a piano band, the piano player will play the chord, and the lead part or the bass part or both, but there could easily be an absence of drums.

Dynamics for rolled music

Roll 1d6 for initial dynamic, feel free to put in empty phrases to give an instrument a solo, just designate the empty or silent phrases before hand.

1 pp
2 p
3 mp
4 mf
5 f
6 ff

Changes in dynamics

Roll 1d6 based on how much dynamic motion one wants

Small motion

1 : Decrescendo to lower dynamic level
2 : Stay at same dynamic level
3 : Stay at same dynamic level
4 : Stay at same dynamic level
5 : Stay at same dynamic level
6 : Crescendo to higher dynamic level

Some Motion
1 : Decrescendo to lower dynamic level
2 : Decrescendo to lower dynamic level
3 : Stay at same dynamic level
4 : Stay at same dynamic level
5 : Crescendo to higher dynamic level
6 : Crescendo to higher dynamic level

Much Motion

1 : Decrescendo two dynamic levels
2 : Decrescendo to lower dynamic level
3 : Stay at same dynamic level
4 : Stay at same dynamic level
5 : Crescendo to higher dynamic level
6 : Crescendo two dynamic levels

If one likes sudden changes of dynamics

1,2 : Crescendo or Decrescendo rolled says
3,4,5,6 ; rather than De/Crescendo, the dynamics are applied instantly at the start of the measure.

One can modify any of these rolls in order to create a style of music that they like.

For alternate styles of music; one can use different types of chords.

Assign :  Major / Minor / 7th / 6th / Suspended / Diminished to a 1d6 or otherwise

1 : Major
2 : Minor
3 : Minor
4 : Minor
5 : 7th
6 : 6th

(I don’t exactly know how this would sound however)

One can also use alternative scales, rather than the strict major/minor scales

these include, feel free to alternate between these , or assign one or more of these to a D6 and roll each phrase for a scale type.

1: Major
2 : Minor
3 : Blues
4 :  Blues
5:  Mixolydian
6 : Mixolydian

Pentatonic Major/Minor

Blues Scales

Natural Minor Scales

Dorian Mode

Mixolydian Mode

If an instrument rolls a letter that is out of it’s range, it will drop the note an octave.

If one has multiple single instruments, then one can make a chord progression that the instruments will attempt to follow, taking the closest note in the chord to the note rolled, rather than the note itself.

A key change from a transition effects all of the instruments playing, unless the instrument is not a tonal instrument, like drums.

One can also limit one’s key changes to a chord progression, if one likes.


  1. One can also assign instruments to be in unison, only rolling a phrase once and applying it to multiple instruments.


  2. if you wanted syncopation, you can have a different 1d6 for each note length, to determine the odds of a note length after that for a phrase.

    Replace any of the numbers in the rolls as you feel like, read up on a bit of music if you’re not sharp, but this is basic.

    1-5 : 8th
    6 : 16th

    1-5 : quarter note (1/4 or 4th note, which is not the same as a 4th, the interval)
    6 : 8th note (1/8 of a beat)

    you can put an odds on a 1d6 after a note to tell what note it would be. e.x.

    Flip for up or down. If going down would cause the scale to break the range of the instrument take

    Roll ; Notes down
    123 ; 0 ; same note,
    4 ; 1 ; one note,
    5 ; 2 two notes
    6; seven notes

    You can have a measure that repeated the last, or rolled again, but took, a repetition roll of two sharps, until this “breaks” the staff, having too many sharps. at which point the sharps turn into flats or return to natural states. This effects the key the instrument was playing in. You have a 50% chance to take only one sharp. You can do this with flats at the same rate. If you don’t like someones music, you can likely break their instrument if you try hard enough.

    If you were hardcore, if your item broke all the way, and broke any more, it was destroyed into pieces, or if you were still more serious, an instrument has health like a unit, because these were fragile. A chair has 500% of the health of a unit, if one wondered, ladders take 200% or are alike to doors in which they can gain vault bonus from the vault if adjacent to the building. if not this, attached with no slack to anchors extending one unit from the building, giving the ladder a space of up to one unit from the building. A door, stairs, basement walls, and the like are always as strong as the building that they compose. If you were hardcore, you do this by cutting down the right trees matching color type for the entirety of the new basement level. At which point, you get a basement level. If you dig out the space before hand, you can put anything you want in that area, so long as it fits, without doing any damage to the structure of the above building, so long as the building was supported by either dirt of walls the same size.if one wanted to dig deeper, one would need to build a column the proper size of the height of the building you were constructing. This could be done by digging a line of tiles to the corners of the building. If the building has 4 3x3 columns, one under each corner, if it is a large building that can only be supported by the support of 3, because the columns will give a 3x3 area of support beyond the column itself, but it only provides 50%/100% of the support a wall does, and must be interlaid with other columns of support, together adding their 50% of support to provide proper support for the 3x3 area adjacent to the top of the column, that does not include any part of the column. This support is provided so long as there is some sort of structure or floor on the column that this is connected to. A 3x3 Column still gives full support in a 5x5 area with the 3x3 column in the center. One could use a pillar for small buildings, if the pillar was small. and all parts matched the color type of the building, matching each part of the blood tag/building tag of the building only one time throughout the supports of the building. This building can still have a basement, the columns functioning as if their edges were pillars., without the need to place any founding walls touching them, but always given the option to place founding walls of the building adjacent to the


  3. Some instruments are magical/multi-tonal and can play more than one note at a time. To play a chord, you would roll a 1d6 for type and a 1d6 for number of cord.

    1-3 major 45 minor 6 pick a type
    12- 3rd ; 3- 6th - 45- 7th - 6- octave with double speed/tempo notes and two note length rolls

    You also roll a rhythm with a chord, and the other players will attempt to stay within key or a chord of keys, so long as they keys make up the notes of a chord, and this is an over-chord.


  4. You can roll two rhythm options on a chord, one is the arpeggio rhythm, and you can pick a number of notes 2 or above and make an arpeggio within the chord, like 3/7/5/6/2/1/0/8/4 th, and the chord rhythm would be one measure say 8 beats/ bottom staff number . In the 4/8 time, it could play the half of the arpeggio sequence, if the arpeggio repeats, but is broken, you can choose where to pick up in the arpeggio, e.g. full even 4 note measure, 2 beat rest, 6 more notes continuing the arpeggio, but starting the 6 notes, 2 backwards in the arpeggio sequence, skipping the arpeggio backwards. One can also skip these forewords if one chooses.

    One can choose a new arpeggio each time one holds a chord, if one desires.


  5. If you wanted articulation
    If last two were Tongue Tongue
    1-5 tongue 6 slur

    If last two were Slur Slur
    1-5 slur 6 tongue

    If last two notes were Tongue Slur or Slur Tongue
    1-3 slur 4-6 tongue

    If one had an instrument that can glissando or slide like a slide guitar, one can take
    1d6 if 1 the slur is a glissando / slide.

    Bending a note. If you want to bend a note. The bend the note to half bent over the course of the note.

    One can choose to do pizzicato, or other techniques by choice or define a roll for them. 1d6 if 6, roll another 1d6, if 456, play pizzicato, the roll to continue the pizzicato is 1-5 continue; 6 break, if break, flip a coin as to y/n break pizzicato. This could also be done for staccato.

    If you want to have a improv spot or something, one can define the improv spot as if if one were creating a song, and when the improv spot comes along, it will play anything within limits and ranges of sets of instruments and rolls that could define what it would play.

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  7. In an arpeggio,the 0 would be the root.

    If you want to be jesus, you can take the 1d10 into half steps with the notes and then establish one’s self in a key with such a rolled note, attempting to resonate well with the ensemble by picking a quality key, one has a choice whether to remain in a key chord with the ensemble, or create a new key chord with the new chord it has found.


  8. Clouds can be seen by the player if they are to scale of a unit. If there is an 8x8 area of clouds that is 8 or 64 distance away from the unit. Th cloud will appear as a 1x1 unit of cloud in the sky. This applies to fractions, if the face of the cloud is not 100% cloud, then whatever % air it is will be transparent. If a unit is 50% water vapor and 50% air,it is 100% cloud.

    If a unit is swimming in a cloud, it can see at half the distance it could if it were swimming. Clouds are opaque other than this, unless they are partial clouds.

    Although the sun is X color, whenever it is at a 0 degree angle or below, the sky will appear as the player color and any darker shades of the player color , 25% darker for each increment of 45 degrees the sun is below the horizon. If the sun is in the air, the color of the sky is averaged with white, with pure white being when the sun is directly overhead, and white being averaged with player color at a 25% rate for each above the horizon it is at. at 45 degrees, it would be 25% white and 75% player color so (( 3(Player RGB) + (White RGB) )/ 4) for 45 degrees above the horizon. the Red , Green , and Blue values are averaged independently.

  9. The clouds would still appear at their distance from the player, but can be seen, regardless of having the vision to view the tile.


  10. Classy Sun- Option- The sun revolves around the planet at a rate of 45 degrees every 7/30 turns. The revolution circle of the Sun rotates at a rate of 45 degrees in any direction every 30/300 turns


  11. The same effect that applies to viewing clouds applies to terrain. Once the unit’s vision has exceeded it’s maximum, tiles start to blur together, at 16 distance, a 2x2 area of tile appears as one tile, and the color of the seen tile is a blur or average of all colors involved. One can still see plants if the tile is within 12 distance, but after this, only plants that are as high as the box, composed of the tiles to be averaged to be seen. So on a true 2x2 size tile, when seen as a 1x1 tile, if there is a plant that is 2x1 or larger, it can be seen as if it were one tile. The same thing also applying to trees, being able to see a 256 high tree as one unit on a tile that is 256x256 true size that is being viewn as one tile. The tree will be a % opaque for the number of trees at least half of it’s size on the 256x256 tile area. This type of indistinct vision is limited by being blocked, rather than an actual limit, or there is a tile count ~128 where the tiles fade into the horizon.

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  13. If one wanted to use triplets when rolling for rhythm, just put “Quarter Triplet” or “Half Triplet” with quarter or half for the length, the quarter triplet occurring in the space of one quarter note.

    One can change the time signature and tempo within a piece if one desires. One can also choose to accelerate or decelerate a part. Changing the tempo is much like a crescendo, but changing the time is something that happens instantly.


  14. If one chooses to use a triplet, one can still roll for the tune/tone of each note in the triplet individually, if you roll the triplet, that has just determined what rhythm is used for the next 3 notes of the piece.

    One can repeat phrases, as much as one pleases, one can repeat just the rhythm of a phrase, and change the notes. Feel free to repeat a phrase as many times as you like.

  15. one can use 6 different intervals for note, if one only has a d6.


  16. If one attempts to write a song in a Chord-Key ( Parts are in multiple keys, the keys between the parts create a chord), one should not put conflicting members of the Chord-Key. If one’s staff is 0 sharps 0 flats, and the second key is 2 sharps, 0 flats. One should not attempt to put a C being played in one part at the same time as a C sharp being played in another part. This would create dissonance, as much as both of the notes do belong to the Chord-key, they cannot be played within the Chord-key at the same time, without conflicting with each other. A C# can follow A natural C, without conflicting nearly as much as when they are played at the same time.


  17. Meaning that if a note is effected by the key signature in some keys and not others, only one form of the note should be played at a time.


  18. This method is not meant to provide perfect pieces of music, this provides an outline of a random piece, that can have sections rerolled, sections modified, and aspects of the piece polished in order to provide a working piece of music. This is a rough idea or a skeleton, or if one has a computer doing this, just an estimate of what a piece would sound like if it were composed by the guidelines the composer has selected.