HMSL - Hierarchical Music Specification Language
HMSL was a popular music language from 1986 to 1996. HMSL was available from Frog Peak Music. The original distribution is out of print. But the source code is available on GitHub and is being ported to modern day Macintosh and Windows.
HMSL is a programming language for experimental music composition and performance. It is an object oriented set of extensions to the Forth language for the Amiga and the Macintosh. HMSL was developed by Phil Burk, Larry Polansky and David Rosenboom at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music.
Click here for an overview of HMSL.
Click here for downloadable examples, fixes, and the HMSL DSP code.
Oct 30, /2015 - The Whitechapel Gallery in London is hosting an exhibit on HMSL curated by Luke Fowler. It contains concert notes, correspondance, documentation, artifacts, videos, and a listenng room. The exhibit runs through Feb 7, 2016.
Call for Contributions
If you are an HMSL programmer and would like to share your software, writings, or HMSL generated General MIDI files on this web site, please contact us here.
External LinksArtifact Records publishes a number of composers who use HMSL in their work including JohnBischoff, Larry Polansky, Chris Brown, and the Hub. They also have a CD of Jim Tenney's work. Jim's theories on music provide the foundation for much of HMSL.
Nick Didkovsky is an active HMSL composer in New York who has written several articles on HMSL including:
- Lottery: Toward a Unified Rational Strategy for Cooperative Music Making
- HMSL - In All Languages. This article was first printed in EAR Magazine in Feb 1990
- COMPUTER-GENERATED COMPOSITION FOR DOCTOR NERVE
Steven Everett has composed extensively with HMSL.