Bibliography:AKC Bibliography 0292


Bumgardner, Jim. Kircher’s Mechanical Composer: A Software Implementation. (2009).

Name(s) Bumgardner, Jim
Title Kircher’s Mechanical Composer: A Software Implementation
Place of printing
Year 2009
Language(s) eng
Contained in Bridges Proceedings, 2009
Bibliographic level Paper in conference proceedings
Catalogue description
Key Concept(s)
Keyword(s) Organum mathematicum
Cited in

Abstract [1]

A description of a working software implementation of Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia Mechanics: The algorithm the Jesuit Polymath invented for non-musicians to set hymns to music, in four-part polyphonic arrangements. This algorithm was used in two related inventions of Kircher’s, the Arca Musarithmica, and the Organum Mathematicum. The author has created a software program that incorporates data from both devices. This software produces files in the open-standard ABC notation, through which one can produce printed scores and MIDI recordings of 17th century polyphony in great quantity.


The software developed by the author is available for download at this link.


  1. Copied from the paper.