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Computer Music Blog Posts

Fundamentals of Synthesis by Moog Foundation

The Moog Foundation just released a nice set of posters that cover the basics of synthesis.

This is great, and I applaud any new learning materials relating to technology and electronic music. But there is definitely a clash between the way I talk and think about synthesis, as someone who learned on digital systems, and the way people who learned on analog systems talk about synthesis. Certain concepts and terms from one don’t really have a place in the other. I wish people worked more toward a middle ground sometimes.

Among Fireflies by Elainie Lillios

Among Fireflies (2010) for alto flute and live, interactive electroacoustics takes its inspiration from a haiku by poet Wally Swist, who generously granted permission to use it for the piece.

Dense with fireflies

The field flickers

Through the fog

Swist’s imagery inspired me to consider texture and perspective, which became two focal aspects of the piece. The piece’s opening gestures place the performer in a field surrounded by a multitude of fireflies – perhaps the performer is a person, or perhaps the performer is a firefly him/herself. The piece’s progression slowly separates the performer (and listeners) from the masses of fireflies, the increasing distance changing our perspective on their activity and brilliance. By the piece’s end, we view the fireflies through the fog from a great distance, where only the smallest, blurred flickers persist, but the memory of their presence remains. Among Fireflies was commissioned by the Lipa Festival of Contemporary Music at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Laurie Spiegel’s Music Mouse

While reading Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner’s book on women in electroacoustic music, I was reminded of Laurie Spiegel’s Music Mouse program. This is a mouse-driven generative music interface that Spiegel created all the way back in 1981. Spiegel used it to create a lot of her well-known pieces, including Appalachian Grove. Music mouse works basically by mapping the X and Y axes of the mouse position to diatonically-constrained pitches and harmonies.

Here’s a demo from YouTube. The fun stuff starts at 31 seconds.

Musyc from Fingerlab

Fingerlab just released a new music app for apple devices called Musyc. It looks like a fun physics-based simulation that is somewhat reminiscent of Reactable.

The Sound of Sorting

In this video, a youtube user sonifies various sorting algorithms which are often used in computer programs.

This particular audibilization is just one of many ways to generate sound from running sorting algorithms. Here on every comparison of two numbers (elements) I play (mixing) sin waves with frequencies modulated by values of these numbers. There are quite a few parameters that may drastically change resulting sound – I just chose parameteres that imo felt best. [1]