Bach: Automated Composer’s Helper

Andrea Agostini will be leading one of nine community-driven workshops at Expo ’74 in Brooklyn this October. Read on for more information about his workshop and some history of his work.


Bach: Automated Composer’s Helper

This workshop will focus “bach: automated composer’s helper”, a freely downloadable library of Max patches and externals for music notation, sequencing and computer-aided composition in the real-time world. Students will learn how to use bach’s musical notation editors for generating and displaying scores in real time; and how to take advantage of bach’s powerful list processing tools for operating algorithmically on symbolic musical data. The workshop will not focus on music theory or algorithmic composition in itself, and participants will not need to be experts in music formalization or analysis. The approach will be very hands-on, as the aim of the workshop is to provide a practical introduction to this extremely versatile set of tools.

To participate in this workshop, you will need a laptop (Mac or Windows) with Max and, if possible, bach installed. No need for MSP or Jitter.

A Short Interview with Andrea Agostini

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a composer mostly based in Italy and France, with a strong preference for carefully planned music (whether it is rock’n'roll, western classical and contemporary music or Balinese gamelan). I have been fiddling with computers since my childhood, and at some point it was quite obvious for me to start doing computer music and music- and art-related computer programming. I have been a student, and later a composer in research, at IRCAM, mainly focusing on sound synthesis. My latest work is a new, completely electronic music for the 1925 movie “Wunder der Schöpfung”, a commission from Cinemathèque du Louvre that will be premiered on September 19 in Paris.

When and why did you start using Max?

I started in 2004 under the guidance of my former composition teacher, because he thought it was a too powerful tool for me to ignore it. Shortly after, I was offered a job by a theatre company who was looking for a computer musician, and I did a lot of Max programming for them – which helped me boost my Max skills at a very fast pace.

What technology or person’s work intrigues you most right now?

About technology, I am crazy about advanced additive synthesis as it can be found in Pianoteq or Synful, and I dream of a synthesis engine of this kind, but more flexible. I’m pretty sure that when this will happen we will experience a new, great leap in sound synthesis.

And then, I’m extremely fascinated by generative music systems, such as improptu and David Cope’s work. This is a world I don’t know much about – which I want to fix very soon !

What is the most exciting part of attending Expo ’74?

Seeing other people’s work. Definitely.

Learn More About Andrea

Bach: Automated Composer’s Helper

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