Some favorite examples (click an icon for the midi):
[hogeweg.mid] [lsys02b.mid] [spiral3m.mid] [lsys00b.mid] [cjvdm.mid] [airhorss.mid] [s.mid] [lsys07bm.mid] [pythn.mid]
Edna Dornblazer Institute of Mad Secretarial Sciences and Theoretical Cosmetology

A Java version of LMUSe (latest update 06/22/01)

LMUSe [beckera.gif]

interprets 3-d Lindenmayer L-systems as MIDI files, or MIDI generated sound. L-systems recursively tranform a string of symbols according to a set of rules. The resulting string of symbols is then interpreted as a sequence of commands to move and turn a 'turtle' (a la the LOGO programming language) which draws (or writes music) as it moves. Originally designed by Aristid Lindenmayer and others to model the development of living organisms, L-systems are a fascinating tool for generating fractal forms.

In order to interpret the L-system as music, LMUSe maps any of the turtle's 3-d movement, orientation directions (forward, up, and left), its drawing line length, and thickness into musical pitches, note durations, and volume. The color is interpreted as the intrument or timbre. Parallel/polyphonic lines are built by using the turtle's push and pop commands. The transformation rules can be stochastic as well as context-sensitive. LMUSe can mutate the transformation rules so that generating variations is easy.

[tree06p.gif]LMUSe is designed to run the "LS" files that Laurens Lapre's LParser program uses, and virtually the same symbol alphabet is used (though LMUSe's interpretation is musical rather than graphical). I highly recommend anyone with an interest in L-systems to download a copy of Lparser from Laurens Lapre's web page, which also contains many examples and links to valuable L-system tutorials.

System Requirements:
For DOS version: 386/486/Pentium, MS-DOS, 640x480 256 color graphics, mouse, midi capable sound card or midi interface, speakers (or headphones).

For DOS commandline version: 386/486/Pentium, MS-DOS. (The source code has been successfully compiled under LINUX and UNIX using gcc.)

For the Java version: Requires a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) with javax.sound (Java 1.3, for example)

License and Distribution:
LMUSE is a free program without any guarantees. However, please link to this page rather than redistribute LMUSe from somewhere else. To redistribute please contact me at, and promise that your redistribution is for the purpose of glorifying The GaLactic IndustriaL StrutGeAr.

Download the Java version of LMUSe 06/22/01 (approximately 300 kB)

Download LMUSe (DOS) v0.7b, 12/24/98 (approximately 650 kbytes). Latest changes

Here is a purely command line version of LMUSe (12/03/98, 80k). (MSDOS, gcc) It takes the name of an L-system file and, optionally, a map file name as command line parameters and dumps a midi file at the end. (No graphics or sound output). If you are interested in modifying, extending, or porting LMUSe, you should probably start with this. It is also almost sure to run on any 386+ PC. But if you get the command line version, I recommend you to also download one of the 'GUI' versions above, because the command line package doesn't contain any examples and the documentation is less complete.

More Examples:
All MIDI file examples on this page are straight from LMUSe. That is, no editing was done to prettify them or to get them to make sense (not necessarily true for outside links). The links to '.LS', '.LM', and '.L' files show what transformation rules were used. The pictures are examples of LMUSe's rather sad drawing abilities.

[L graphic]
(adapted from CJ van der Mark)
[alfonsec graphic]

(adapted from, LJ Lapre)
(adapted from bush.l, Adrian Mariano)
Circular.mid Circula2.mid Circula3.mid
(adapted from C.J.van der Mark)
(LJ Lapre)
(adapted from by LJ Lapre)
(adapted from LJ Lapre)

Cantor dust


dragon.mid generated from dragon.l

2-d dragon curve


twisted dragon curve [dragon2.gif]

A couple of amazing (and long!) pieces by Viejo Vilva are here

? 1001001 ?

I would like to show more LMUSe examples. Please send to If possible, include a MIDI file together with a rules file (.l, .ls, .lm), and other relevant information, or just a URL to link to.


Download the Java version of LMUSe 01/05/01 (approximately 300 kB)

The LMUSe Readme file (DOS version)

The LMUSe Documentation (DOS version)
(The Readme, Documentation, and this page are included in the LMUSe package).

Download LMUSe v0.7b (DOS version) (approximately 650 kbytes) Latest changes

Download DOS command line version.

comments, questions, suggestions, etc, whatever:


Some related links:

C van der Mark's excellent tutorial for LParser.
Fractal Music Software
CALResCo: The Complexity & Artificial Life Research Concept for Self-Organizing Systems has an astounding collection of complexity, artificial life, and fractal type resources.
A list of L-systems software for various OS's (this link often doesn't work)
The Spanky Fractal Database has loads of fractal related materials, including many 2-d L-system rules for Fractint
Guenter Nagler's MIDI utilities.


Special thanks to:

D J Delorie et al for DJGPP v2
DJGPP web site

Shawn Hargreaves for Allegro v3.0
The game programming library

Laurens Lapre for LParser.

Tim Thompson and Michael Czeiszperger for the midi file in/out routines in midifile.c
Tim Thompson page

(counter)visits since 8/29/98