MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

The patch as an indeterminate music score
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author The patch as an indeterminate music score
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
These surround-LED thingies are indeed very cool (but would be prohibitive to put everywhere, I think). However, I was thinking more or a little digital readout with, say, four digits, to express the voltages. This would also be prohibitive, but we haven't really thought through what a truly performance-based synthesizer would entail. When a composer writes a part for violin or piano, he knows exactly what he is going to get in terms of timbre, attack, sonority, etc. However, not so for a synthesizer. How does a "serious" composer score for a synthesizer in such a way that he can more or less guarantee that he will obtain what he envisages in performance? About the best one can hope for is that the actual model of synthesizer is specified in the score, and then the parameter adjustments can be more or less predictable and repeatable. Alternatively, the composer can record the sounds he wants and the performer can then endeavor to recreate these sounds in performance. This seems like a terrible situation to me, and probably explains why the synthesizer has never really played much of a role in serious composition.
felixer
methinks 'serious composers' just aren't interested in synths. it would ruin their reputation. just like no 'serious conductor' would ever go out in jeans and t-shirt. anyway, why bother to even consider those types? they are in a different world: the corporate lounge with cocktails and champagne.
and are folks like zorn really composers? i saw him once with a piece that entailed signs to the players: quite hilarius as it was pretty clear that nobody really understood what he meant hihi some of the players had that 'what am i doing here' look all over them ... some others went bravely thru the motions and kept their faces straight. later in the papers it was called a 'landmark performance' meh sorry, but i don't need that ... much rather have a freejazzband where it is clear from the beginning that there is no 'official coordination' and no 'boss' as everybody is doing what feels right at the time.
but then i have always been more into collectives the corperations.
i think in retrospect that it is all about money. there is more to be made with corporations, so it pays to present yourself as 'the boss'. easier to talk to those types as well, i guess: they like the 'leader type' even (or esp) if he is incompetent as they often are themselves ...
and easy to blame a failure on 'the help' ...
and why would you want to have anything reproduced exactly? this is what killed the so-called classical music. made it a dead artifact. unfortunatly jazz seems to be going the same way with these neo-bop guys ...
and don't underestimate the resistance in classical cirkles to electricity. do they live by candlelight and send messages off on horseback? no. they all have their digital toys, but if it comes to music it's a big nono ... they live in the past and only parttime ... whenever it suits their agenda ... it's all just another conservative lie ...
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
I'm talking about guys like Boulez (who was so interested in electronic music that he founded IRCAM). He did score for synthesizers occasionally (at least, there is a synthesizer sitting next to the pianist in a performance of Repons on Youtube) but mostly came up with ways for computers to interact with people performing on conventional instruments (again, Repons).

I think that "serious composers" would have been very interested in synthesizers, and having just read a couple of books by Boulez where he talked (in a very long letter to his good friend John Cage) about how he was trying to serialize everything (including timbre), I believe that true Voltage Control would have played into his scheme brilliantly -- he could have used sequencers or even keyboards to control every parameter of sound, attack, and pitch -- the serialist's dream, I would have thought. He also could have realized his quarter-tone compositions quite precisely with voltages (presuming he could find a synthesizer that was stable enough and tracked well enough). He probably just wasn't really aware of the possibilities of analog synthesis, because it was languishing in the ghetto of rock and dance music (or perhaps he was all too aware of its shortcomings).

(As an aside: many "serious composers" and other "serious" musicians remain blissfully unaware of what happens in the world of rock and pop. I am reminded of the time that Bill Bruford (very famous rock drummer) made a record with jazz guitarist/composer Ralph Towner. Towner had no idea who he was and had never heard of Yes or King Crimson. For many of these guys operating on a higher musical plane, popular music is simply irrelevant. Hence, it would come as no surprise if Boulez was simply unaware of what a Moog synthesizer could do, even though he literally founded IRCAM.)

(As a second aside, I thought you were "ignoring" me...?)
notmiserlouagain
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:

(As a second aside, I thought you were "ignoring" me...?)


Stop it, doc! You weren´t thinking that! POW!
I need you both to continue this thread. For my personal pleasure...
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
notmiserlouagain wrote:
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:

(As a second aside, I thought you were "ignoring" me...?)


Stop it, doc! You weren´t thinking that! POW!
I need you both to continue this thread. For my personal pleasure...


Why thanks, notmiserlouagain. Of course, he can ignore me if he likes, but I've made my position on the whole "Ignore button" issue quite clear in other threads. I think it is the most childish thing imaginable, like you can click a button and change reality. Like many others, I'd like to have an ignore button for the whole world right now, but it ain't gonna happen.
felixer
notmiserlouagain wrote:
Stop it, doc!

thanks for your support cool and now that that has been cleared i will continue:
how would a 'normal' audience react if they came to a performance of a standard symphony, just to see a dozen or so synth workstation on the stage?
even if it would sound great (and no doubt it could be done) there would be an outrage. it would be a very couragous thing to do ...
strangely 'orchestra with tape' is well known and accepted. maybe because it is almost invisible: no cables or knobs in sight. even theremins and ondes marteno's are met with suspicion and they have been around for decades. older then most of the audience ...
last year i did an electronic gig and afterwards an older couple came up to me to say how much they enjoyed it: music without violins or flutes or anything like that. they were maybe 60-70 years old. and i was thinking: where have you been? this is the music of your youth! missed the 60ies or what? probably ... possibly slept thru it while listening to mozart and chopin ...
suboptimal
LoFi Junglist wrote:
If every single pot in your system was retrofitted with one of these, you could display the value of every parameter. You could take a photo and know the instantaneous values across the entire system.


The challenge of this approach would always be the issue of phase and periodicity when a system is powered off and on. Ever shut down a system after building an interesting patch and come back to find that it has fallen apart? I suppose you could patch carefully enough to account for resets everywhere that needed them, but it would limit the creative options quite a bit.

I think a patch on a modular isn't a score, but a photo of a patch could be considered one. Without a sequencer, the duration component is left to the performer. The performance could begin at any point as well: with a totally unpatched system, or with the system faithfully patched to match the photo.

A sequencer might alter the duration question by offering a specific beginning and end point, at least provided that the settings of the sequencer are visible in the photo. (A Komplex would work nicely here.)

The difficulty, of course, is that the photo isn't the patch. Neither is a detailed annotation of it. They are a photo and an annotation. The patch itself isn't a representation of a patch: it is a patch.

Interesting thread.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
felixer wrote:
how would a 'normal' audience react if they came to a performance of a standard symphony, just to see a dozen or so synth workstation on the stage?
even if it would sound great (and no doubt it could be done) there would be an outrage. it would be a very couragous thing to do ...

I agree. I was thinking more about something like a "Concerto for Minimoog" or something like what Rick Wakeman did back in the day with "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" only with more serious music. I think that even more conservative audiences (such as symphony subscribers) would warm to that if the sounds were good and the performance had the requisite virtuosity. A ten-minute piece for synthesizer soloist and orchestra slipped in between more conventional fare shouldn't tax anyone's patience too much.

Quote:
strangely 'orchestra with tape' is well known and accepted. maybe because it is almost invisible: no cables or knobs in sight. even theremins and ondes marteno's are met with suspicion and they have been around for decades. older then most of the audience ...

I went to hear Messiaen's "Turangalila-Symphonie" a few years ago at the Seattle Symphony. It has a very prominent part for Ondes Martenot. The audience loved it -- it made a lot of people into Messiaen converts, I think. My only complaint was that the Ondes was not as loud as it should've been.

Really, all that's needed is for some noted composer to start incorporating synthesizer timbres into his or her work. Before long, it would be accepted as a standard orchestral instrument. The challenge would be for us makers to figure out how to make the damn things to a standard commensurate with orchestral performance. The Minimoog is the only one I could seriously see being used in that context right now.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Actually, before I started posting tonight, I was just out in my garage playing with my latest creation, a homemade Rubicon, fixing a very elusive solder bridge and then making all sorts of really awesome undulating bell sounds. This got me to thinking again about Boulez and his fixation on serialization. It's one thing to serialize pitches and even the various parameters of timbre, but imagine how crazy he would have become had he started serializing the parameters of FM (or even through-zero FM). To have complete control over all of the parameters of that in a compositional context would be very interesting, I believe, and again it all just boils down to voltages.

Think about all the possibilities of how many different parameters and their interactions there are in FM. Codifying and classifying that would be a very large undertaking. I suppose that John Chowning must have done something similar when he came up with the basic structure of the DX7.
thermionicjunky
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
These surround-LED thingies are indeed very cool (but would be prohibitive to put everywhere, I think). However, I was thinking more or a little digital readout with, say, four digits, to express the voltages. This would also be prohibitive, but we haven't really thought through what a truly performance-based synthesizer would entail. When a composer writes a part for violin or piano, he knows exactly what he is going to get in terms of timbre, attack, sonority, etc. However, not so for a synthesizer. How does a "serious" composer score for a synthesizer in such a way that he can more or less guarantee that he will obtain what he envisages in performance? About the best one can hope for is that the actual model of synthesizer is specified in the score, and then the parameter adjustments can be more or less predictable and repeatable. Alternatively, the composer can record the sounds he wants and the performer can then endeavor to recreate these sounds in performance. This seems like a terrible situation to me, and probably explains why the synthesizer has never really played much of a role in serious composition.


What I love most about analog systems is that they are capable of extremely complex states determined by a manageable number of parameters. Analog systems lend themselves to improvisatory situations, in which a block diagram, some graphic notation, and/or a bit of text can guide a skilled performer to an unrepeatable but coherent result. Though I certainly rely on linear, predictable functional blocks, I have reservations about any live electronic music based on the faithful reproduction of data. Either the data is so limited that we're recreating acoustic music with a synthesizer, or it requires so much automation that we may as well just play a file. What the human being brings to this situation is the ability to handle ambiguity and make intuitive adjustments to the system based on real-time analysis of the system's behavior.

But this is all from a person who got into electronics in order to escape the traditional European concept of the musical work. I consider every score to be an incomplete document that is closely related to (but distinct from) the composition.

Anyway, it's great to hear that you have a Rubicon PCB!
felixer
thermionicjunky wrote:
Analog systems lend themselves to improvisatory situations

that's right. so let's take advantage of that. a modular system is so much more flexible then any acoustic instrument and even with a fairly small setup you can do so much more then a 'classical performer' that it would be a waste to not use those capabilities!
and besides, who wants to dress up like a penguin and be a 'cute person' just to amuse some old farts hihi and money-wise the golden days are over, but there is still some decent cash to be made in the popular music world. the drawback being that only few can do that while over 50 ... so it is like sports: get it while you're young. but as the audiences are getting older too, i see older performers as well. maybe the two will grow old, hand in hand ...

re: messiaen. his turangalila-symphony is quite popular. not surprising since it is very sugary. should appeal to all those chopin fans out there. i've seen performances too and all were very favourably critisized. but i don't think it rates as 'electronic music'. now there are also some ondes quartets (like string quartets). check how many people come to that and what the reviewers are saying ... prob nothing since they weren't there meh
that's another thing: it goes under the radar. most music-mags don't even have a column dedicated to electronic music. let alone a concert-list. or dedicated reviewer who knows something about the subject ...
which is strange since electronic music is pretty much all i hear in the pop-charts ... thousends are doing it in their homes, but the exposure is minimal. as usual all the attention goes to the singers, their clothes and their little scandals ....
i.murray.fraser
suboptimal wrote:
The difficulty, of course, is that the photo isn't the patch. Neither is a detailed annotation of it. They are a photo and an annotation. The patch itself isn't a representation of a patch: it is a patch.


Ceci n'est pas un patch.
felixer
very drole ...
i remember when studiing music the teacher would say: 'now here is the music' and pass around some pieces of paper. i'd then put that to my ear and complain i couldn't hear it ... it wasn't appreciated hihi but then a lot of what i said wasn't ...
Yeggman
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:

...all that's needed is some noted composer...

do those even really exist any more? hmmm.....
hihi
waah


actually, depending on what you count as a "noted composer" and what your stance on film scores is, you could say Hans Zimmer is arguably already having this effect with his work. I'm not a fan really, but he's undeniably influential in the current film score world, and he regularly incorporates both synthesizers and strings into his scores, and his scores are frequently copied/emulated for other films.

Junkie XL's score for Fury Road has both orchestral and synthesized elements as well.

Pretty darn far from indeterminate scores and improvised modular pieces, but...
Yeggman
suboptimal wrote:


I think a patch on a modular isn't a score, but a photo of a patch could be considered one. Without a sequencer, the duration component is left to the performer. The performance could begin at any point as well: with a totally unpatched system, or with the system faithfully patched to match the photo.

A sequencer might alter the duration question by offering a specific beginning and end point, at least provided that the settings of the sequencer are visible in the photo. (A Komplex would work nicely here.)

The difficulty, of course, is that the photo isn't the patch. Neither is a detailed annotation of it. They are a photo and an annotation. The patch itself isn't a representation of a patch: it is a patch.

Interesting thread.



Really good points here... obvious even, in retrospect, now that you've mentioned it... and perhaps effectively gets at what the original post was after anyway, because if we're talking about ways for patches to be made communicable (as in a score), then we must be talking about a diagram or photo of a patch anyway.

Also a good point that certain modules / systems will lend themselves more or less to this than others. The design of the system / what modules are included is the "instrumentation", then.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Yeggman wrote:
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:

...all that's needed is some noted composer...

do those even really exist any more? hmmm.....
hihi
waah


Sure. Here is a short, almost random, list of very influential composers working today:

Thomas Ades, Kaija Saariaho, Tristan Murail, Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, John Adams, Arvo Part, Eric Whitacre, Charles Wuorinen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, George Benjamin, Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, ...

There are even a few composers experimenting with electronic music and synthesized sounds, but not very many (and, frankly, many of their efforts are less than inspiring).
notmiserlouagain
Regarding the voltage reading idea, isn´t that just a cumbersome method to achieve what a digital patch recall system does(Buchla has one but could probably be implemented very different)?
Of course you cannot retrofit all modules everybody has in his/her system, but I doubt most people would seriously need this recallability anyway. The voltage reading method with more than just a few modules will probably require hiring a a personal bookkeeper and who could afford that?

Quote:

Sure. Here is a short, almost random, list of very influential composers working today:

Thomas Ades, Kaija Saariaho, Tristan Murail, Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, John Adams, Arvo Part, Eric Whitacre, Charles Wuorinen, Esa-Pekka Salonen, George Benjamin, Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, ...


Thanks. New food. Sorry to say I have only heard of four of them and am only familiar with the work of one, which I love (A.Pärt)!
And I wouldn´t say I´m ignorant about "new music" or what it´s called.
I think the sheer number of composers/musicians is so overwhelming, while the number of listeners to off-music(? or what) has not really grown that much, it´s much more different to stand out and make yourself a name.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Yes, I agree that noting voltages of every control would be cumbersome, and probably a big waste of time. Patch memory is definitely the way to go. However, I think that there must be some way to pass on the intention of a patch without actually passing on the exact patch. Probably, with a recording (performer: please try to sound like "this" for measures 60-84). However, the real beauty of analog synths is the ability to alter and modulate them while playing them, and this would require some sort of notation.

Lastnight, I was playing with my homemade Rubicon. I was feeding a sine wave from a Dixie into the TZFM input, a sawtooth into the Index input, and a slow triangle LFO into the Symmetry CV input. The frequency and amplitude of these modulation signals could be easily noted. The TZFM and Symmetry pots are basically just voltage dividers between +5 and -5 volts, so their actual wiper voltages could be specified precisely. I was then listening to the sawtooth output of the Rubicon (which looked very interesting on the scope -- like a bunch of dancing parallel sinewaves). This was giving me a very complex and slowly evolving bell-like sound with a lot of harmonic complexity. If I were a composer, I might want to incorporate that sound into a composition. Of course, I could do it with tape or a digltal recording, or even by sampling. However, that to me is boring. I'd much rather have a performer get that sound live, with all the risk that entails.

Of course, this is all pretty stupid, but a guy can dream, can't he?
___tomk
Happy to see everybody weighing in here. I've been checked out for a bit tending to a myriad of to-do's on my last-two-weeks-of-school checklist. Lots of interesting stuff coming up through the discussion.

I want to respond to some things specifically:

First and foremost, while I'm a proponent of open discussion and some seriously awesome stuff is coming up esp. from the builders, my main focus is in exploring some boundaries, and think about what might be coming next. My goal from here on out is not to prove in a term paper that a patch is exactly a score, but rather how aspects of a patch function similarly (maybe in some cases identically) as a score, and also how it differs completely. If the discussion leads to places that might further design, that's awesome. That being said, onto some fun stuff:

thermionicjunky wrote:
Study David Tudor's scores if you haven't already. They are usually patch diagrams of complex feedback systems, sometimes with critical adjustment points highlighted. Gordon Mumma's Hornpipe is a great one. It's an analog computer design and a set of instructions for using the horn to map the acoustical resonance of a space, store resonance data in the computer, play back the resonance, and finally kill the resonance by playing sounds that don't fit the map.


Looking for a source for these, if you have one?


pianoscope wrote:

David Behrmans wave train is another example of feedback.

I have never seen the score, I'm guessing it's a diagram with written instructions. Anyone know?

Feedback is so unpredictable and venue specific, Hard to capture in notation.


Interested!


felixer wrote:
i know brian ferneyhough (another composer of 'black pages') doesn't care much if his scores are played perfectly. what he wants to hear is the struggle of the performer with the material. the intensity ...
i know this from harry sparnaay who played some of his pieces and was always dissappointed that he couldn't get it right. until ferneyhough cleared it with him cool
this obviously presents a problem: are the mistakes part of the score? is it 'fair' to put a performer in a position where he can't possibly fulfull his task? and is it healthy to make a performer practise for months on one piece? at what point should you give up? some are masochists, no doubt, but really ... nevertheless i do like the endresult hihi there indeed is a great intensity to it ...
ps what i mean to suggest is that those scores (and basically all) are inderminate. in so far that you will never ever get the 'correct' endresult. simply because you don't know or can't get it: even with a bach score: the tempo is unnown (the metroneome hadn't been invented then) so it is all a guess ...


Interesting take on Ferneyhough here...I would say that Ferneyhough is interested in the results that happen as a result of a performer attempting his score, and in this way Ferneyhough is actually protecting the idea of humans continuing to play music. When AI becomes capable enough to enact a "perfect" reading of a score, for me at that point it becomes more about the realization of data, and less about the human story.


i.murray.fraser wrote:
The way I see it, a prepared piano is still as lifeless as an unprepared one until someone performs on it. In this sense, a prepared piano still requires a score (or some instructions) for the performer to play. A modular includes much of these "instructions" in the patch, and many modular patches will continue to play themselves until someone intervenes.

I guess I see a prepared piano somewhat like retuning a guitar. It changes the outcome of certain gestures, but doesn't embody the composition in the instrument. The modular patch limits what gestures are available to the performer, but also performs many of those and other gestures itself.


Feelings on player piano reel v.s. patch?


felixer wrote:
methinks 'serious composers' just aren't interested in synths.


The world of composed music sure is rooted in tradition, isn't it. It's hard enough to program works by current composers in any major orchestral hall, much less any works which utilize any form of electronics. There is undoubtably a connection being made between electronics and toys, so there's that. All that being said (and I do understand your meaning when you say "serious"), Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Cage, are all about as "serious" as it gets, the first three having spent considerable time working with electronic music systems in Berlin in the 60's. Quoting a professor of mine, who is quoting someone else, "Science advances one death at a time" and given the modular Renaissance that is happening, maybe we'll see some composers take to the medium as technology advances and interest continues to grow.


Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
I think that "serious composers" would have been very interested in synthesizers, and having just read a couple of books by Boulez where he talked (in a very long letter to his good friend John Cage) about how he was trying to serialize everything (including timbre), I believe that true Voltage Control would have played into his scheme brilliantly -- he could have used sequencers or even keyboards to control every parameter of sound, attack, and pitch -- the serialist's dream, I would have thought. He also could have realized his quarter-tone compositions quite precisely with voltages (presuming he could find a synthesizer that was stable enough and tracked well enough). He probably just wasn't really aware of the possibilities of analog synthesis, because it was languishing in the ghetto of rock and dance music (or perhaps he was all too aware of its shortcomings).


I'm certain that you're right: Boulez would have had a serialist's wet dream had he come to the realization and had technology been up to snuff.


suboptimal wrote:
I think a patch on a modular isn't a score, but a photo of a patch could be considered one. Without a sequencer, the duration component is left to the performer. The performance could begin at any point as well: with a totally unpatched system, or with the system faithfully patched to match the photo.

A sequencer might alter the duration question by offering a specific beginning and end point, at least provided that the settings of the sequencer are visible in the photo. (A Komplex would work nicely here.)

The difficulty, of course, is that the photo isn't the patch. Neither is a detailed annotation of it. They are a photo and an annotation. The patch itself isn't a representation of a patch: it is a patch.

Interesting thread.


On board for the most part here (I agree that a photo/representation of a patch is probably more like a traditional music score, and could be transferred between people, which is a primary function of documenting music in score format in the first place )and happy you're interested. I posed the idea earlier that a patch might resemble a score in the same way a player piano reel does. I used James Tenney's Spectral Canon for Conlon Nancarrow as an example. Here is a video of the piano in action. What interests me are two things (aside from how awesome this piece is in general): 1) In the first link, you can see at the end of the score that the written score becomes incapable of clearly conveying musical information, and 2) The reel in the video of the piano in action is a physical manifestation of all of the parameters required to tell the piano exactly what to do, and the reel is a physical part of the piano as a system.


Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
Actually, before I started posting tonight, I was just out in my garage playing with my latest creation, a homemade Rubicon, fixing a very elusive solder bridge and then making all sorts of really awesome undulating bell sounds. This got me to thinking again about Boulez and his fixation on serialization. It's one thing to serialize pitches and even the various parameters of timbre, but imagine how crazy he would have become had he started serializing the parameters of FM (or even through-zero FM). To have complete control over all of the parameters of that in a compositional context would be very interesting, I believe, and again it all just boils down to voltages.

Think about all the possibilities of how many different parameters and their interactions there are in FM. Codifying and classifying that would be a very large undertaking. I suppose that John Chowning must have done something similar when he came up with the basic structure of the DX7.


Awesome thoughts here. There are composers who specifically work with difference tones (effectively sidebands) - the high piccolos on Ligeti's Atmospheres are an example. Here is a link to another piece that might mess with some people.


thermionicjunky wrote:

What I love most about analog systems is that they are capable of extremely complex states determined by a manageable number of parameters. Analog systems lend themselves to improvisatory situations, in which a block diagram, some graphic notation, and/or a bit of text can guide a skilled performer to an unrepeatable but coherent result. Though I certainly rely on linear, predictable functional blocks, I have reservations about any live electronic music based on the faithful reproduction of data. Either the data is so limited that we're recreating acoustic music with a synthesizer, or it requires so much automation that we may as well just play a file. What the human being brings to this situation is the ability to handle ambiguity and make intuitive adjustments to the system based on real-time analysis of the system's behavior.

But this is all from a person who got into electronics in order to escape the traditional European concept of the musical work. I consider every score to be an incomplete document that is closely related to (but distinct from) the composition.

Anyway, it's great to hear that you have a Rubicon PCB!


I'd be interested to know more about your relationship with both composed and electronic musical worlds. Currently existing somewhere in the overlap of the two.


Yeggman wrote:
suboptimal wrote:


I think a patch on a modular isn't a score, but a photo of a patch could be considered one. Without a sequencer, the duration component is left to the performer. The performance could begin at any point as well: with a totally unpatched system, or with the system faithfully patched to match the photo.

A sequencer might alter the duration question by offering a specific beginning and end point, at least provided that the settings of the sequencer are visible in the photo. (A Komplex would work nicely here.)

The difficulty, of course, is that the photo isn't the patch. Neither is a detailed annotation of it. They are a photo and an annotation. The patch itself isn't a representation of a patch: it is a patch.

Interesting thread.



Really good points here... obvious even, in retrospect, now that you've mentioned it... and perhaps effectively gets at what the original post was after anyway, because if we're talking about ways for patches to be made communicable (as in a score), then we must be talking about a diagram or photo of a patch anyway.

Also a good point that certain modules / systems will lend themselves more or less to this than others. The design of the system / what modules are included is the "instrumentation", then.


Yep. Modules are instruments with capabilities, patch cables are directions for electricity.


Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
Yes, I agree that noting voltages of every control would be cumbersome, and probably a big waste of time. Patch memory is definitely the way to go. However, I think that there must be some way to pass on the intention of a patch without actually passing on the exact patch. Probably, with a recording (performer: please try to sound like "this" for measures 60-84). However, the real beauty of analog synths is the ability to alter and modulate them while playing them, and this would require some sort of notation.

Lastnight, I was playing with my homemade Rubicon. I was feeding a sine wave from a Dixie into the TZFM input, a sawtooth into the Index input, and a slow triangle LFO into the Symmetry CV input. The frequency and amplitude of these modulation signals could be easily noted. The TZFM and Symmetry pots are basically just voltage dividers between +5 and -5 volts, so their actual wiper voltages could be specified precisely. I was then listening to the sawtooth output of the Rubicon (which looked very interesting on the scope -- like a bunch of dancing parallel sinewaves). This was giving me a very complex and slowly evolving bell-like sound with a lot of harmonic complexity. If I were a composer, I might want to incorporate that sound into a composition. Of course, I could do it with tape or a digltal recording, or even by sampling. However, that to me is boring. I'd much rather have a performer get that sound live, with all the risk that entails.

Of course, this is all pretty stupid, but a guy can dream, can't he?


There definitely are some things that a patch does not tell us about a modular performance, and performer interface with knob settings is one of those things. Also, your point about wanting to replicate a synthesized sound with a synthesizer made me remember that essentially the Spectralists were synthesizing electronic and/or recorded sounds based on spectral data. While not a spectralist, Ligeti's Atmospheres comes up again here as an example of synthesizing electronic sounds, using orchestra as the performance medium. That was a piece about filtering.
felixer
___tomk wrote:
Ligeti, Stockhausen, Boulez, Cage, are all about as "serious" as it gets, the first three having spent considerable time working with electronic music systems in Berlin in the 60's.


stockhausen (and ligeti) ware based in cologne. backed by the wdr. although that sounds more grand then it was: just a leftover cellar room with some old gear. it took awhile before they invested in an ems synthi100.
that whole 'berlin school' was more about klaus schulze, tangerine dream etc ... those were the 'pop guys' ...

and yeah, they did some stuff with electronics, but what about since then? obviously there are movie people interested, but that is more on an economic scale. orchestra's are expensive. and directors/producers want a clear picture of what they are going to get, so you must present a 'mock up'. then print the score from that and it is easy to line 'm up and have both the acoustic and the electronic. to fatten it up. make it bigger&more sensational. because that is what it's all about in hollywood ...
i don't hear many purely electronic scores in movies. the first terminator movie was nice cool
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
felixer wrote:
i don't hear many purely electronic scores in movies. the first terminator movie was nice cool


I believe that Vangelis really set the bar for this, with Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner. Vangelis works with digital systems now, more or less exclusively. He has an amazing system which allows him to orchestrate on the fly by using his feet. Check out this crazy video:

___tomk
felixer wrote:
stockhausen (and ligeti) ware based in cologne. backed by the wdr. although that sounds more grand then it was: just a leftover cellar room with some old gear. it took awhile before they invested in an ems synthi100.
that whole 'berlin school' was more about klaus schulze, tangerine dream etc ... those were the 'pop guys' ...

and yeah, they did some stuff with electronics, but what about since then? obviously there are movie people interested, but that is more on an economic scale. orchestra's are expensive. and directors/producers want a clear picture of what they are going to get, so you must present a 'mock up'. then print the score from that and it is easy to line 'm up and have both the acoustic and the electronic. to fatten it up. make it bigger&more sensational. because that is what it's all about in hollywood ...
i don't hear many purely electronic scores in movies. the first terminator movie was nice cool


Finally able to log in and respond. Yep - Cologne is right. Clerical error on my part - next time I won't respond to so many posts all at once. As far as what is happening with electronics in composed music currently, contemporary new music is all over that one, albeit primarily in addition to acoustic instrumentation, using Max.
___tomk
i'd like to post some notes/thoughts about where i'm headed with this, and see how people take to it:

- notation has historically been a way to document musical information as a means of communicating that information to other people, in order to perform the notated musical ideals in a way that accurately represents the ideas of the composer.

- traditional notation has limitations, and has evolved to suit the will of the music/composer in a multitude of ways, over generations. cage, zorn, braxton, applebaum, saariaho, tenney, ferneyhough are a handful of examples of this. happy to state specifically per composer if anyone has questions on that.

- at the most elemental level, notation is an agreed upon format of exchanging musical ideas using extra-musical objects, be it symbolic or physical object

- the patch is an extension of the circuitry of the modules themselves. tudor might argue the circuit is a score.

- while a patch doesn't explicitly instruct the performer how to act over time, it does explicitly instruct/dictate the flow of electricity through the system.

- notation is *not* music, rather a representation of musical potential which is to be realized. we might say that modular grid is a library of modular scores.

- a couple connections i like: the piano reel of tenney's spectral canon for conlon nancarrow is a lot like a patch, in that it is a form of notation, and physically instructs the player piano how to operate (bonus points that the traditionally-notated score becomes illegible); and Mark Applebaum's Metaphysics of Notation comes with no instructions by design: however you interpret the visual elements, whether it be in a linear or non-linear fashion, is an accurate interpretation of the score.

- some things i also like but may have nothing to do with score similarity: comparing voltage and module function to every acoustic sound parameter.
___tomk
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
I'm talking about guys like Boulez (who was so interested in electronic music that he founded IRCAM). He did score for synthesizers occasionally (at least, there is a synthesizer sitting next to the pianist in a performance of Repons on Youtube) but mostly came up with ways for computers to interact with people performing on conventional instruments (again, Repons).


Your mention of Repons reminded me I have the score - low and behold a DX7:

felixer
i saw reponse live. and was shocked by the amount of very expensive gear. seems they like to do things the hard way, down at ircam. obviously that was some years ago so maybe it was impossible to do that with standard gear but still it seemed the team was not at all looking for practicle solutions ....
i wonder how much of all that research has gone back to the industry?
are the guys from arturia using that? other then max i see no major offsprings ....
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Page 3 of 4
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group