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From Organs to Computer Music

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  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    From Organs To Computer Music: A Brief Historical Overview

    If we are to agree that Banū Mūsā water organs existed, the possibility to generate music

    mechanically has been with us since the 9th century. There might hae been earlier water organs, in

    the !st century "#ydraulis water organ$, although there seems to be little proof that they were fully

    automated. %arly automatons, such as organs, musical cloc&s, polyphon disc players, or pianola ' to

    name (ust a few ' all used musical sounds based on flutes, bells, pianos or organ pipes. )ome

    machines went as far as creating whole orchestras "*ohann +epomu& Ml-els panharmonicon, built

    in the early !9th century$, whilst others tried to mimic animal ocal effects "those deised by *a/uet

    0ro-, for instance, whose bird watches are still considered masterpieces of their genre$. The

    1omponium of 0ietrich +i&olaus 2in&el, built in the early !344s, has similarities to Ml-els5anharmonicon, with the added feature of aleatoric composition. #oweer, when loo&ing at the

    deelopment of automated musical instruments, what is e/ually interesting is that, although

    mechanical systems hae eoled, there are many similarities between modern day systems or 

    software, and those from preious eras. In his treatise  Musurgia Universalis, 6ircher ! writes about

    the automated musical instruments. These deices used cylinders with precisely placed pins, that

    would trigger an action and generate music. 7t a later stage punched cards replaced cylinders, as

    these were cheaper to produce, and probably easier to sell. In reality, it would be possible to suggest

    that, as early as the fourteenth century, those deices put the idea of storing data in a system into

     practice. In a brief article, Michael 6assler "8niersity of )ydney$ reminds us that, as early as !34,

    7da :oelace, who wor&ed with 1harles Babbage, suggested that an analytical machine ;might act

    upon other things than number, , the computer not haing been inented as such. )upposing, for 

    instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in harmony science and, of musical

    composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose

    elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity ? @.  Athers also saw the

     possibility for computers to generate melodies. .1. 5in&ertons experimental remar&s suggest that

    a computer could compose melodies ;in accordance with stylistic criteriaC?. #e inspired :e(aren

    #iller and :eonard Issacson, who, in !9DE, composed the Illiac Suite for String Quartet in !9DE, on

    the I::I71 computer.

    7lthough we cannot discuss the history beyond the computer, or its debt to the automatsF

    ! George *. B8%:A2. H7thanasius 6ircher.H Grove Music Online.httpJKKwww.oxfordmusiconline.comKsubscriberKarticleKgroeKmusicK!D4L, consultedJ ! May. @4!.

    @ Michael 6 7)):% , ;1omputers and 1omposition?, The Musical Times, Nol. !@!, +o. !C "!934$, p. !C *ohn MA%#%+ and Ian B%+T, ;1omputer 7pplications in Musicology?, The Musical Times, Nol. !@4, +o. !CE

    "!9E9$, p. DC.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    inentors, it is clear that automatons and computers both come from the same lineage. It is

    important to add that it is not only the decoding of data that shares common roots, but also sound

    synthesis. *eanO1laude issets interesting comments suggest that organs were the first information


    ;The organs &eyboard was the first in history, appearing long before the alphanumeric

    &eyboard of typewriters and computers. In fact, the organ &ey may hae been the first

    switch. Pour centuries before Pourier, organ ma&ers implemented Pourier synthesis in

    soOcalled mutation stopsJ timbre was obtained by adding the sound of pipes tuned as

    harmonics of the intended toneD?

    )ince the deelopment of electricity, processes that are used to either record or decode data,

    in forms arying from magnetic tape, inyl or shellac discs to the most recent media of digital data

    hae progressed considerably, paing the way for a whole new area of sound synthesis, music production and composition.


    )tarting from the early !994s, the main adance has been the aailability of des&top and

     portable laptops. 2hich grant artists and the general public access to complex musical processing

    systems, without wor&ing in the confines of a studio or sound laboratory. In addition to the

    computer reolution, the deelopment of the synthesi-er also has to be ta&en into account, as this

    instrument enabled those wor&ing on producing sounds ' often imitating instruments ' to hae at

    their fingertips a wide range of sounds, that could be produced electronically, remoing the need to

    7drian MAA%. H*eanO1laude isset.H Grove Music Online.,

    httpJKKwww.oxfordmusiconline.comKsubscriberKarticleKgroeKmusicK@CD!3L 1onsultedJ ! May. @4!.D *eanO1laude  I))%T, ;)culpting )ounds with 1omputersJ Music, )cience, Technology?, Leonardo, Nol. @E, +o. C,

    7rt and )cience )imilarities, 0ifferences and InteractionsJ )pecial Issue "!99$, p. @DE.


    The possibility to manipulate musical! data has become much easier "ith the development of 

    digital media

  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    hae large pipes, pluc&ed strings and other instruments re/uiring physical actioning. in !9,

    obert Moog produced the first commercial synthesi-er, ma&ing sound synthesis something that

    could be experimented with, and at the same time portable enough to wor& outside studios, although

    one had to wait until the !9E4s for the arrial of the commercial synthesi-er, aailable to only the

    luc&y few with the finances to purchase such an instrumentE

    . #oweer, it is of interest to note that,

    een )tateOofOtheOart technologies hae difficulties reproducing certain sounds, such as that of wind


    )ince the late !9E4s, the possibility to communicate ia midi and digital signal processing

    techni/ues has changed the way we wor& with music3. 2ith recent deelopments in these

    technologies, when combined with the computer and especially that of the laptop, we begin to

    recognise what could be ac&nowledged as modern day automats. 7fter inputting data into a 0729 a

     button on a &eyboard can trigger multiple eents, yet no instruments are isible. 1ould we argue

    that a computer be classified as both an instrument and a media or support. Purthermore, li&e any

    automat, it needs instructions to run and generates sound at a command.

    Data Conversion Software: DAWs

    It goes without saying that computers cannot produce any sound or action without the help

    of a compiled script. There are seeral ways of producing musical sounds ia a computer.

    #ugh 07NI%). Hobert 7. MoogH, Grove Music Online, httpJKKwww.oxfordmusiconline.comKsubscriberKarticleKgroeKmusicK!94DL, consultedJ ! May. @4!.

    E httpJKKwww.factmag.comK@4!K4@K@3KtheO!Osynthesi-ersOthatOshapedOmodernOmusicKL, consultedJ ! May. @4!.3 )terling B%162IT#, HThe 2ellOTempered 1omputerH, Music #ducators $ournal , Nol. @, +o. E "!9E$, pp. C@OC9 DAW Q Digital Audio Wor&station.


    The Moog MiniMoog "as the first fully integrated synthesi%er, ma&ing it 

    one of the most important developments in electronic music' In ()*( its

    original price "as+ (-).

  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    In this paper, we will ta&e a brief loo& at two systems, that can produce sound, either as

    compositional tool, or as a sound manipulator. It is important to highlight that both systems hae

    similarities with automats, in that they need read data to produce sound, with the possibility of finite

    sound control Q olume, pitch, tempo, to name a (ust a few examples.

    The first class of software is the 072, described by educator 0on Muro, as a portable music

    studio. +ot only does it operates as a studio, but it also plays the roles of a synthesi-er, a drum

    machine, an effects deice, and a se/uencer, capable of reading, recording and processing MI0I !4

    data. It is also a sampler, and can control sounds that hae been digitally recorded !!. +owadays,

    there are three types of 072J those wor&ing with 7udio and Midi "5roOTools, for instance$!@, those

    wor&ing only with 7udio "7udacity!C$ and, a third category, that only use Midi, are often found in

    drum machines and small wor&stations, as an example, could be classed as se/uencers !.

    The deelopment of 072s in the !9E4s and !934s was limited, partly because of the cost of storage and slow processing speeds. In !9E3, the first digital audio wor&station "0igital %diting

    )ystem$ was deeloped, by Thomas )toc&ham!D of )oundstream. This bul&y system was a mixture

    of computer and digital tape machine, which could edit sounds and proide effects, such as

    crossfades. By the !934s, computers started handling digital audio editing, when combined with

    some of the earliest systems, such as Macromedias ;)oundedit? or 0igidesigns ;)ound Tools?.

    They could be used in con(unction with sampling &eyboards and utili-ed as simple two trac& audio

    editors!. These systems were &nown as ;nonOdestructie editing?, which means that when, for 

    instance, an edit is undone or pasted, there is no waiting for the audio file to be rewritten !E?. )oon

    afterwards, with the introduction of 5ro Tools!3, most studios went digital. By !99C, )teinberg

    introduced 1ubase 7udio, which had builtOin digital signal processing, &nown as 0)5 effects, but

    was only an eight trac& audio recordingKplaybac& system. %entually, in !99, 1ubase N)T "irtual

    studio technology$ was released. It was a fully integrated ' no need for external 0)5 effects ' C@

    trac& digital audio studio. This software program had a isual presentation with tapeOli&e interface,

    mixing des& and effects rac&s, mirroring an analog studios layout, that was ery /uic&ly copied and

    updated by all other firms. It is what present models are all based upon.

    There are many examples of digital wor&stations today, amongst which, the most wellO

    !4 MI0I Q Musical Instrument Digital Interface. 7 protocol for communicating and controlling information between

    electronic instruments.!! 0on M8A, ;Technology for TeachingJ The Music 2or&stationJ 7 +ew Tool for Teaching? , Music #ducators

     $ournal , Nol. E, +o. D "!994$, pp. !4O!C!@ 5roduct websiteJ httpJKKwww.aid.comKPKproductsKfamilyK5roOToolsL, consultedJ !E May, @4!.!C 5roduct webpageJ httpJKKaudacity.sourceforge.netKL, consulted, !E May, @4!.! 7 full list of 072s can be found atJ httpJKKwww.synth.t&KdawK L, consultedJ !E May, @4!.!D httpJKKwww.aes.orgKaeshcKdocsKrecording.technology.historyKstoc&ham.htmlL, consulted, !3 May, @4!! 5roducts of Interest, /omputer Music $ournal , Nol. @4, +o. C "!99$, p. !4D.!E  Ibidem'!3 Op'cit' 5ro Tools, cf. n.!@.

  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    &nown are 5roTools "deeloped by %an Broo&s and 5eter Gotcher in !93$, 1ubase "deeloped by

    )teinberg 1ompany in !939$, +uendo and :ogic 5ro "both popular systems deeloped by 1O:ab

     programmers in !99C$, :ogic, designed to be compatible with 7pples Mac A) R platform.

    Interestingly, Garage Band "deeloped in @44 by 0r. Gerhard :engeling$, is preOinstalled on

    7pples Macintosh computers, ma&ing it easily aailable to all those who purchasing 7pple

    computers. 7udacity was launched in May @444, by 0ominic Ma--oni and oger 0annenberg, at

    1arnegie Mellon 8niersity "5ittsburgh$. It is one of the few free programs, but it wor&s only with

    audio. 7nd, more recently eaper !9 has been designed. It offers an adantage as compared to all

    other systemsJ it ma&es it possible to program music with the 5ython programming language.

    %en though these wor&stations hae many similarities, they are often incompatible and data cannot

     be exchanged with other models. :oo&ing at the screen shots aboe, we notice the similarities

     between Garage Band "left$ and :ogic 5ro "right$, both in recording mode. 7lthough a long way

    away from automats such as the )erinette, these systems use irtual organ cylinder or punchedOcard

    technology. Midi information can be passed "input$ ia two ery similar systems &now as 5iano

    oll and #yper %ditor. These isualisations are not so far remoed from the barrelOpinning

     principles first introduced by 6irchner, in Musurgia Universalis but they use the more sophisticated

    dynamics from the eproducing 5iano@4  system. 7lthough musical data can be put in ia a note

    !9 eaper Q  apid !nironment for Audio "roduction, !ngineering, and  ecording@4 Pran& 2. #A::7+0, Heproducing piano.H Grove Music Online,

    httpJKKwww.oxfordmusiconline.comKsubscriberKarticleKgroeKmusicKD@4D3L, consultedJ !3 May. @4!.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    input, pitch, note length, hyper draw "notes, and other eents$ and elocity can be controlled ia the

    5iano ole window. In the #yper %ditor, many parameters can be influenced and controlled,

    including, olume, panning "leftOright positioning$, modulation, pitch bend, channel pressure,

     polyphonic pressure and elocity, amongst many other possibilities.

    The role that these programs play in performing and composing music, their aailability and

    ease of use cannot be understated. 7lthough there is little left of the mechanical aspect of automatic

    musical machines, it is li&ely that todayFs digital audio wor&stations are a logical offspring of earlier 

    automats, which, in turn, could be seen as early forerunners of the computer.

    #oweer, other systems hae been deeloped since the midF!934s, to interface with

    computers and wor& in the domain of 0)5, PPT and other areas of sound manipulation. 0uring a

    conference, Max Mathews was as&ed how he got inoled in computer music systems deeloping.

    #e replied that he had played the iolin as a child, but could neer play it ery well, ;so I wanted toma&e an instrument that was easier to play.@!? #is wor& has opened new paths for the music scene

    and enabled the appearance of new systems that are powerful alternaties to synthesi-ers, and are,

    simultaneously, capable of operating in real time, or wor&ing with digital sound files, recording

    sound. Purthermore, random parameters can be introduced. The most popular systems are 1sound@@,

    MaxKM)5@C, )uper1ollider @ and 5ure 0ata@D.

    Musical "rogramming S#stems 

    )ince the !934s, seeral systems hae been deeloped, with a iew to associate the

     potentialities of a synthesi-er, with the processing power of a computer and create music from the

    analog sounds of oscillators, with sine waes, saw waes, noise generators and other 0)5

     possibilities, in realOtime audio synthesis. The history and deelopment of these systems is rather 

    conoluted, as the pace of changes and deelopments has been ery /uic& in recent years. The

    forerunner of these programs was 1ed, deeloped at I17M, by 1urtis 7bbott, in the late !9E4s.

    1ed was made up of a text compiler and conerter which could translate text files into control

    commands, allowing users to control the digital processor in great detail. This early textObased

     program sered as a blueprint for Max Mathews, who transformed the idea and remodelled it into

    @! %ric :SA+, Max M7T#%2), *ames M117T+%S, 0aid I17%::I, Barry N%1A%, Gareth :AS and Miller5816%TT%, ;0artmouth )ymposium on the Puture of 1omputer Music )oftwareJ 7 5anel 0iscussion?, /omputer

     Music $ournal , Nol. @, +o. , :anguages and %nironments for 1omputer Music "@44@$, p. @!@@ 1sounds websiteJ httpJKKwww.csounds.comK@C MaxKM)5 websiteJ httpJKKcyclingE.comKproductsKmaxK@ )upercollider websiteJ httpJKKsupercollider.sourceforge.netK@D 5ure 0ata websiteJ httpJKKpuredata.infoK

  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    his T)6%0 program, written with *oseph 5as/uale, in !93!@, according to Miller 5uc&ette, the

    main source of inspiration for the deelopment of MaxKM)5@E. )eeral deelopments too& place in

    the next few yearsJ in the mid !9E4s, Max Mathews pupil, Barry Nercoe, designed a new

    enironment, named Music !!, wor&ing in realOtime computer systems, that used a graphic interface

     but with text input. 7fter a few modifications, this was to become todays 1sound "!93E$. More

    importantly, Music !! was the first program written for mini computers rather that for main frame


    Miller 5uc&ettes MaxKM)5 was deeloped around !93@, under the NercoeFs tutorage.

    1ombining features from Music !! and T)6%0, it produced a graphical interface that functioned

    with modules. In the course of time, MaxKM)5 was deeloped as a commercial product by

    1yclingE. 5uc&ette made the system into a freeware program called 5ure 0ata, similar ' nearly

    identical ' to Max, een though it introduced newer features, to expand the data structureslimitations of Max. Because of its openOsource status, the program has deeloped at a fast rate,

    additions being regularly made to the original ersion.

    By the !994s, *ames Mc1artneys )uper1ollider brought a new aspect to 0)5. #is program

    updated real time audio synthesis, with a textObased ersion that could wor& with externals and

     build G8Is@3. #is aim was to improe MaxKM)5 and correct its wea&nesses. ;Max, which is a

    different programming language, proides an interesting set of abstractions that enable many people

    to use it without realising they are programming at all. The Max language is also limited in its

    inability to treat its own ob(ects as data, which ma&es for a static ob(ect structure @9?. )ince then, the

    rise in uniersity computer engineering courses has brought forth a wide range of new

    enironments, een though most are rooted in the original programs.

    The systems ' or enironments ' hae seeral adantages oer the analog synthesi-erJ not

    only are they portable, but they are also ery powerful programs, able to process much more than a

    synthesi-er from the !934s. They can wor& with externals, and so can be connected to a &eyboard or 

    midi controller, ma&ing them practicable systems, with an enormous potential for experimentation.

    Purthermore, being codeObased enironments, they are able to read data in arious formats, tac&ling

    oice synthesis, MI C4 and sonification, as well as musical functions. In this section, I will briefly

    describe the enironments that hae been deeloped and the difference between the systems, one

     being modular, the other textObased. Then, as an example, I will outline some of the basic

    @ Miller 5816%TT%, ;Max at )eenteen?, /omputer Music $ournal , Nol. @, +o. , :anguages and %nironments for1omputer Music "@44@$, p. C!.

    @E  Ibidem'@3 G8I $ %raphical &ser Interfaces@9 *ames M117T+%S, ;ethin&ing the 1omputer Music :anguageJ )uper 1ollider?, /omputer Music $ournal , Nol.

    @, +o. , :anguages and %nironments for 1omputer Music "@44@$, p. !.C4 MI Q Music Information  etrieal


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    functionalities of a 5ure 0ata program, that I wrote, with a iew to create a simple dataOdrien


    The arious systems mentioned aboe can be diided into two basic categories, graphic and

    textObased, both haing adantages and disadantages, that we wonFt hae space here to detail. The

    graphicalObased systems areJ MaxKM5), 5ure 0ata and, more recently, )ensomusicO8sineC!


    Integra :ieC@"an interesting modular system deeloped at Birmingham 8niersity, in @44E$.

    Graphical systems wor& by placing ob(ectsKmodules on a canas, to create data flow charts, in these

    cases with a musical ob(ectie.

    7boe, we see two examples of modular enironmentsJ MaxKM)5 "left$ and Integra :ie "right$.

    Both systems wor& more or less in the same way, een though MaxKM)5 "li&e 5ure 0ata$ is a little

    more s&eletal. Integra :ie has tried to simplify the process, so that non computer musicians can

    easily understand the uses of modules, which can be connected and ad(usted without any, or little

    understanding of 0)5.

    The other systems are textObased. %xamples of these are 1sound, )uper1ollider and, more

    recently, 1huc6 CC, deeloped by Ge 2ang and 5erry 1oo& "5rincetown 8niersity, @44@$. These

    enironments use language to compile their code and all hae similar interfaces. 8nli&e modular 

    systems, one has to be able to write and understand basic code in a ariety of languages from 1U to

    *aa. )ome users claim that writing code is easier and /uic&er than building a patchC. 0eclaring

    ariables can be done easily, but a modular system has the adantage of being a physical image with

    sliders and &nobs, similar to that of an analog studio, with cables and sound modules.

    C! Afficial webpageJ httpJKKwww.sensomusic.orgKusineKC@ Afficial websiteJ httpJKKwww.integralie.orgKCC Afficial webpageJ httpJKKchuc&.cs.princeton.eduKC 5atch is a term used in modular systems to describe the canas "page$ where you place modules in graphical



  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music



    The two screenshots show us that )upercollider "left$ and 1huc6 "right$ hae few differences. Both

    systems are operated by lines of code. Both hae terminal windows which update automatically,

    telling the user what is happening at any gien moment. )upercollider combines its serer window

    to show that the compiled code is wor&ing, whereas 1huc6 has a separate window than&s to whichany patch of code that is running can be switched off, or ta&en out, without stopping others.

    A 'rief e(ample using "ure Data

    To demonstrate how a graphic enironment wor&s, I hae chosen to ta&e a closer loo& at

    5ure 0ata. It might be easier to explain how such a programming enironment wor&s, by writing

    and explaining a simple program. 7lthough not the perfect programming language, 5ure 0ata has

    interesting abstractions which enable people to use it without realising they are programming, as

    *ames Mc1artney points outCD. 7long with its hands on feel, con(ured up by the use of the

    graphical enironment, modules and cablesKlines can connect to each ob(ect, almost as if in an

    analog studio. 5ure 0ata began as an extension from Max, in the words of 5uc&ette ; an attempt

    to ma&e a screenObased patching language that could imitate the modalities of a patchable analog

    synthesi-er C?.

    CD Op' cit . Mc1artney.C Miller 5816%TT%, H5ure data.H 0roceedings of the International /omputer Music /onference, )an PranciscoJ

    International 1omputer Music 7ssociation, "!99E$, p. CO.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    The program is made up of two windowsJ the main window, a terminal window which prints out

    information and error messages and a canas or program patch, where the program is written. An

    the preious page "left$, we see the terminal window, and on the right, the blan& canas or program

    window where the patches are built. The term VpatchF is the name gien to a program written on the

    canas. To understand the connection between 5ure 0ata, a computer and an automat, I built a small

     patch, using some of the random elements found in 2in&els 1omponium and cylinder of an organ,

    such as a )erinette. 7lthough /uite simplistic in sound and built, this program illustrates some of the

    ways 5ure 0ata controls and processes data as any automatic machine would.

    T)e Main "atc)

    The Main window of the patch is

    diided in three &ey areas. !$ The first areacontrols the tempo, but to follow the idea of 

    introducing random aspects, the tempo is a

    random number between 4 and !444. I hae

    lin&ed the tempo with the computer &eyboard

    so that eeryOtime the letter B is pressed

    another numberKtempo will be called. @$ This

    area controls the sound which is found inside a

    subOpatch called ;pd musicWbox?. C$ The third

    area is where the signal is conerted from

    digital to audio, hence the ob(ect dacX,

    meaning digital to audio conerter. 7ll ob(ects

    dealing with audio signals are followed by a tilde "X$. )ome examples to be found on the main

    canas are send X which sends audio signals to the dacX. 7nother example is found in freeverbX

    which is an audio reerb unit.

    T)e Su'*"atc)

    7 subOpatch is a program within a program. 5ure 0ata

    uses this system toJ

    a+ Ma&e a program easier to read, or simply ma&e the patch tidy.

    '+  duplicate and alter without affecting other parts of a patch,

    saing on the computers buffering power, or 158.

    It is important to note that the subOpatch has inlets "top$ and


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    outlets "bottom$, than&s to which the rest of the canasKprogram can be connected to these

    indiidual units. The outlets allow for the sending of data "notes in this case$ from the subOpatch.

    Inlets and outlets can either communicate data without a tilde X, or audio using the tilde, example

    outlet X.

    T)e Su' "atc) Win,ow

    In this programme, the sound subOpatchs main

    areas consist of the sound generators.

    7t the top of the patch "!$ we find four inlets,

    stopKstart, speed or tempo, olume control and

    enelope speed. In this case, the enelope is a simple

    onKoff switch.  7 metronome ob(ect "@$ metro  isattached to the tempo inlet. It is set at 44 "tenths of a

    second$, but the tempo can be controlled by changing

    the slider on the main window.  The metronome

    actiates the shuffle 12 *2 ob(ect "C$. Shuffle randomly

    selects numbers between 4 and E4, but neer repeats

    any number until all digits hae been used. These are

    sent to the mtof X ob(ect "D$, which conerts midi

    numbers to fre/uency in #-. These are passed immediately to the oscX ob(ect "sine wae oscillator$.

    7 #an window enelope "$ helps to stop clic&s. 7 sine wae passes constantly between ! and O!

    and if a signal is switched on whilst the sine wae is not at -ero, we will hear a clic&, as if we were

    switching on an amplifier, after  a 10 has started, causing a surge in olume. 7 simple enelope "E$

    is actiated ia the inlet at the top of the canas, setting the decay time. The enelope is actiated by

    the metronome "@$ which sends a message from s bang34 to r bang344* ' This, in turn, opens a gate

    and sends the sound to "3$- which transfers the message bac& to the main patch.

    Final stage

    7t the final stage, sound from

    the subOpatch is pic&ed up on the main

    window by r5sound  W! "@ or C$. It is

    sent to the dacX passing ia an effects

    ob(ect freeverbX, which simply adds a

    CE ) and Q send and receie.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    reerb, to change the colour of the notes from short marimba sounds to long metallic chimes. There

    is also a small recording patch for recording the program.

    The possibility to mix tempos, random notes and simple sound synthesis gies an idea of 

    how with few elements it is possible to create a programmable machine that produces simplistic

    stochastic compositions built on repetitie lines. It would be possible to deelop more control oer 

    each element and feed data, such as financial figures, or statistics, by means of graphs and arrays.


    I hae included a selection of recordings from the patch, demonstrating the arious elements

    and ariations possible by changing simple parameters, such as random speed, reerbKdecay or 

    room si-e. The results created, although always simplistic, seem to hae elements that encompass

    the process music of )tee eich, stochastic music of Rana&is, or facets of #arry 5artch een.

    Music Bo(

    !$ musicWbox!.wa "!D sec.$

    7n extract using (ust one sound.

    @$ [email protected] "@4 sec.$

    7n example of running two sounds together. +otice the interesting rhythmic changes created by the two separate patterns.

    C$ musicWboxC.wa "@4 sec.$

    )ame idea as Y@ except running the three different modules. In the section The Main 0atch

    "page !4$ you will notice three main sound producing modules. %ach one diides or 

    multiplies the tempo differently ' one diiding the tempo Z @, one multiplies tempo [ @, and

    the last tempo [ C.

    $ musicWbox.wa "@4 sec.$

    )ame idea as YC but with changes in decay times. In the section The Main 0atch "page !4$

    you will notice the two sliders, orange and purple. These are changed slightly whilst

     pressing the B on the computer &eyboard to produce random changes in tempo.

    D$ musicWboxD.wa "@4 sec.$

    )ame idea as Y running the three different modules. This ersion is with subtle changes in

    roomOsi-e, dry sound and reerbKdecay. The results gie a steel sound, somewhere between a

    gamalan orchestra and the repetitie music of )tee eich.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


    DI or Sonification using "ure Data

    I include fie short examples of )onification using a programming enironment. 7lthough I

    haent included the patch details, ' due to space ' I thought it interesting to show some examples

    using a similar type of patch, but in this case read text files into a graph. I hae used one wee&s

    weather data "temp.$, morning, midday and eening, from four ma(or towns ' Brussels, 0elhi,

    7ddis 7baba and Brasilia. These are placed into four different graphsKarrays and read by a phasor 

    "saw wae$. The sounds are modified slightly to gie different timbres.

    !$ sonification!.wa


    @$ [email protected] U 7ddis 7baba

    C$ sonificationC.wa

    Brussels, 7ddis 7baba U Brasilia

    $ sonification.wa

    Brussels, 7ddis 7baba, Brasilia U 0elhi

    D$ sonificationD.wa

    7ll four towns, but with added random elements such as tempo actiated by the speed of the

     phasor "which is reading the files$, and pitch which is triggered by multiplying or 

    diminishing the fre/uencies read on the graphs.

    These short extracts from both the Music Box and the aboe sonification examples, gie an idea of 

     possibilities for using a program such as 5ure 0ata. These examples could hae been easily

    achieed using the other systems such as )uper1ollider, MaxKM)5 or 1sound, also.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music



    In my research it became apparent that automats were, to a certain extent, early relations to

    the computer. This in turn gies us an intriguing iewpoint on music technology, deeloped both

    due to the computer and inspired in part by the musical automatons of earlier periods. 2hat ma&es

    this most interesting is that when wor&ing with recent software, such as 5ure 0ata or )uper1ollider,

    we are still connected to past technology of these automatic machines such as the )erinette,

    5ianolas or een the musical cloc&s of *a/uet 0ro-.

    Purthermore, the resulting deelopment of these technologies has enabled access to many,

    who, whilst programming a computer, een using a graphicalObased enironment, are also wor&ing

    in an area originally exclusie to the inentor or isionary, such as *ohann +epomu& Ml-el. 2ith

    these new programs we are able to ma&e the sound of many instruments, and control their  parameters, all within the space of a small room. If so, the eolution of the automat could hae had

    a more farOreaching effect on the deelopment of modern composition techni/ues than might at first

     be thought.


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


  • 8/15/2019 From Organs to Computer Music


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