How It Works:

The Eternity String Quartet music server is a project that creates indeterminate minimalist pieces automatically and places them on-line for direct streaming to listeners via browser. A perfomable .pdf score for each part is also created for download. The overall goal is to have a system that accepts just the creative element from the composer – and then arranges, realizes and posts a new piece directly on the Internet, ready for listening, download and performing. Once configured, a new variation will be automatically generated every few hours, using the same creative material. The Eternity server is named for the fact that it can produce millions of unique variations automatically – enough to last an eternity.

The Eternity String Quartet server accepts the notated creative element of a composition – and then does everything else needed to deliver the music to the listener and performer. This multiplies the productivity of the composer by orders of magnitude over conventional methods. The Eternity server also produces musical works that are unique on each new realization and thus avoids the devaluation and commodification of the single digital audio file.

The Eternity server generates minimalist music, similar in construction and process to the classic In C by Terry Riley. The composer creates and notates 32 different 4-bar cells as the creative input to Eternity. The notated cells are subsequently exported as four separate audio .ogg files – one file for each instrumental voice – with each written by the composer to the appropriate register. The notated score is also parsed as an image and each set of cells are assembled by the server as the downloadable .pdf. These are individually arranged for each variation of the piece that the server creates. This is the total creative effort required by the composer, and it usually takes between one and two hours.

Once the score is finished, each staff .jpg image and .ogg audio file is exported for each of the four parts and uploaded to the Eternity server. The individual cells are parsed out, repeated, concatenated, randomized and ultimately mixed into the final .mp3 file on the Eternity Project player web page. The score .jpg images are assembled to match the order of the audio files as selected by the program for each variation.


The notation software is Musescore on a laptop. The requirements for notating a piece for Eternity are very minimal, so almost any notation software that can generate .ogg audio files will probably work. MuseScore is free software and very powerful. MuseScore can also accept different sound font files for audio export. MuseScore can easily create four separate .ogg audio files from the notated score that comprise the music source files for the server.

To create the .pdf score, the cells notated in MuseScore are copied to a MuseScore template and exported as .pdf images where a screenshot program is used to isolate each of the 32 cells into separate .png files. These are converted in the server software to ,jpg and assembled into a downloadable score using image majick.

A program called Filezilla – more freeware – is used to upload the audio and score image files from the laptop to the Eternity server. Putty Telnet is used to log into the Eternity server to start or configure the Eternity Server processes as needed.

Linux OS:

Ubuntu Linux makes it easy to install all the needed software, which is available for free. Here is what the Eternity String Quartet system includes:

Apache Web Server

vsftpd File Server



Lame Codec

SOX Audio Toolbox

image majick

The Ubuntu Linux operating system and all of the software used to run the Eternity Server are open source and free for download.


The Apache web server and supporting programs run in the background 24X7 on a fanless PC.

The only other hardware needed is a standard network router and modem with an Internet connection.