Contour Composer Assistant


Contour Composer Assistant is an auxiliary tool for contour-based composition.

Its main objective is to implement contours such as < + + - > in musical segments such as < C3 E3 A3 E3 >. See a brief description of contour operations at Contour calculator documentation.

Object classes

This tool comprises four classes of objects:

  1. Contours in linear representation, called here adjacent series (e.g. < + + - >, < - - - + >, etc.).
  2. Contours in combinatorial representation, called here simply contour (e.g. < 0 2 1 >, < 1 3 0 2 >, etc.).
  3. Ordered musical spaces (for example, notes like C3 D3 E3, tempos like andante allegro presto, time signatures like 3/8 5/8 7/8 4/4, etc.).
  4. Musical segments (e.g. < D3 E3 D3 E3 > or < allegro presto allegro andante >).

This tool aims to allow a quick connection between these objects to implement an adjacent series, such as < + + - >, to a musical space of notes, such as C3 D3 E3 G3 A3 Dó4 and obtain a musical segment, such as < C3 E3 La3 Mi3 >.


The quickest way to implement an adjacent series into a musical segment is:

  1. Inserting the adjacent series into its field.
  2. Inserting the ordered musical space into its field.
  3. Clicking on "Make contour."
  4. Clicking on "Make Musical Segment."


This tool contains:

  1. Output board.
  2. Set of buttons with operations between different classes.
  3. Combined for each class of objects, each with:
    1. Data entry area and save, remove, and multi-insert buttons.
    2. Memory for multiple class objects.
    3. Button for multiple insertions of objects.
    4. Buttons with class operations.
  4. Graph of the contour combinatorial representation.


For more information about musical contours and their compositional applications, see the bibliography below:

  1. Bor, Mustafa. 2009. "Contour Reduction Algorithms: A Theory of Pitch and Duration Hierarchies for Post-Tonal Music." University of British Columbia.
  2. Friedmann, Michael L. 1985. "A Methodology for the Discussion of Contour: Its Application to Schoenberg's Music." Journal of Music Theory 29 (2): 223--48.
  3. Marvin, Elizabeth West. 1988. "A Generalized Theory of Musical Contour: Its Application to Melodic and Rhythmic Analysis of Non-Tonal Music and Its Perceptual and Pedagogical Implications." University of Rochester.
  4. Moreira, Daniel. Composing with Textures : A Proposal for Formalization of Textural Spaces. MusMat - Brazilian Journal of Music and Mathematics, 3(1): 19--48. 2019.
  5. Moreira, Daniel. Perspectivas para a análise textural a partir da mediação entre a Teoria dos Contornos e a Análise Particional. Masters Thesis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 2015.
  6. Moreira, Daniel. Textural design: A Compositional Theory for the Organization of Musical Texture. Ph.D. Dissertation, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 2019.
  7. Morris, Robert Daniel. 1987. Composition with Pitch-Classes: A Theory of Compositional Design. Yale University Press.
  8. Morris, Robert Daniel. 1993. "New Directions in the Theory and Analysis of Musical Contour." Music Theory Spectrum 15 (2): 205--28.
  9. Polansky, Larry and Bassein, Richard. 1992. "Possible and Impossible Melody: some Formal Aspects of Contour." Journal of Music Theory 36 (2): 259--84.
  10. Sampaio, Marcos da Silva and Kroger, Pedro. 2016. "Contour Algorithms Review." MusMat - Brazilian Journal of Music and Mathematics 1 (1): 72--85.
  11. Sampaio, Marcos da Silva and Pochat, Alex. Aplicação de Contornos na Composição Musical. In Schwebel, H. K. N.; and Brandão, J. M. V., editor(s), Perspectivas de interpretação, teoria e composição musical, 1, pages 11--24. EDUFBA, Salvador, BA, 2016.
  12. Sampaio, Marcos da Silva. 2012. "A Teoria de Relações de Contornos Musicais: Inconsistências, Soluções e Ferramentas." Tese de Doutorado. Universidade Federal da Bahia.
  13. Sampaio, Marcos da Silva. 2017. "A Teoria de Relações de Contornos no Brasil." In Teoria e Análise Musical Em Perspectiva Didática, 123--38. Salvador, BA: EDUFBA.
  14. Sampaio, Marcos da Silva. 2018. "Contour Similarity Algorithms." MusMat Brazilian Journal of Music and Mathematics 2 (2): 58--78.
  15. Schmuckler, Mark A. 2010. "Melodic Contour Similarity Using Folk Melodies." Music Perception 28 (2): 169--194.
  16. Schultz, Rob D. 2016. "Normalizing Musical Contour Theory." Journal of Music Theory 60 (1): 23--50.