Forums > MaxMSP

Harmonic table instrument…

October 6, 2008 | 10:16 pm

I ran across this link http://www.c-thru-music.com/cgi/?page=home

The AXiS-64 is a keyboard based on the harmonic table key mapping.
I was wondering if anyone out there has interface or has tried
it. I have always been drawn to this keep mapping because I feel
like it would be a great tool for a composer. It makes exploring
chord spaces very easy. What you do you guys think?


October 7, 2008 | 2:53 am

I ran across this link http://www.c-thru-music.com/cgi/?page=home

The AXiS-64 is a keyboard based on the harmonic table key mapping.
I was wondering if anyone out there has this interface or has tried
it. I have always been drawn to this key mapping because I feel
like it would be a great tool for a composer. It makes exploring
chord spaces very easy. What you do you guys think?


October 7, 2008 | 3:13 am

There’s also the Opal Chameleon which is a very similar concept. I think they must be related.

http://www.theshapeofmusic.com/



jg
October 7, 2008 | 8:18 am

Quote: Anthony Palomba wrote on Mon, 06 October 2008 20:53
—————————————————-
> I ran across this link http://www.c-thru-music.com/cgi/?page=home
>
> The AXiS-64 is a keyboard based on the harmonic table key mapping.
> I was wondering if anyone out there has this interface or has tried
> it. I have always been drawn to this key mapping because I feel
> like it would be a great tool for a composer. It makes exploring
> chord spaces very easy. What you do you guys think?
—————————————————-

It’s an interesting idea, but I’d suggest it would be extremely restrictive rather than a great tool for composition.

1/ It is built on diatonic chord shapes — but does not take into account their relationships within key structures. It encourages ‘guitar-harmony’ thinking – parallelisms, restricted no. of chord types, little consideration for voice leading or harmonic colour. It’s built on the same restrictive premises that are often used to teach harmony (or, to be more accurate, chords) in schools. Compositionally and educationally this is highly problematic.

2/ It is built on diatonic chord shapes — the built-in premise immediately distorts compositional possibilities in favour of one – very old-fashioned – way of thinking.

3/ It is built on diatonic chord shapes — with the presumption that all keys are equal. But the truth is they aren’t: as soon as an acoustic instrument is employed, with all their built-in biases towards particular keys, every key takes on its own characteristic colour, emotional nuance and technical demands (which in turn influence how a musician interprets in that key). Granted, electronic instruments are less influenced by this consideration, but there is barely a style in which acoustic instruments are entirely absent.

The web-site confesses that this is an instrument for people who don’t understand musical theory ("You don’t really need to understand anything about sharps and flats") – this is its advantage but also a severe disadvantage: it has more potential for restriction than acting as a tool.


October 7, 2008 | 9:37 am

in software: http://www.chordspace.com

oli


October 7, 2008 | 4:24 pm

Quote: johngodfrey wrote on Tue, 07 October 2008 01:18
—————————————————-
>
> It’s an interesting idea, but I’d suggest it would be extremely restrictive rather than a great tool for composition.
>

You make some good arguments, but I’d also argue that the traditional keyboard layout has similar downsides. It tends to lead towards certain ways of traditional harmonic thinking. But maybe that’s just me and the way I was educated.

I don’t think anyone could claim that the AXiS-64 is superior to a normal keyboard and should replace a normal keyboard. However, having the option to use one or the other (or both together!) depending on how I’m feeling would be a good thing. The hexagonal layout is intriguing and may help anyone who mostly uses a traditional keyboard to break out of their usual patterns and do something different. If nothing else, the AXiS gives you many more keys than a standard keyboard, and it’s easier to play notes many octaves apart with one hand. That seems worth something.

And there’s no reason you can’t use Max with any of these instruments to remap the pitch space however you want. I suspect a hexagonal layout could have some really interesting possibilities for microtonal work.

I hope I can get one of these eventually, but it’s too pricey now.



jg
October 7, 2008 | 11:52 pm

> You make some good arguments, but I’d also argue that the traditional keyboard layout has similar downsides. It tends to lead towards certain ways of traditional harmonic thinking. But maybe that’s just me and the way I was educated.
No – no disagreements there. But at least the old-fashioned keyboard arrangement recognises that one key is not identical to another.
>
> I don’t think anyone could claim that the AXiS-64 is superior to a normal keyboard and should replace a normal keyboard. However, having the option to use one or the other (or both together!) depending on how I’m feeling would be a good thing.
Quite possibly. But the original poster was asking whether this would be a good ‘composition tool’, which it isn’t. It’s just an alternative that might suggest other ways of thinking (as long as you use it in ways that are different to the way it’s designed! See below…)
>
> And there’s no reason you can’t use Max with any of these instruments to remap the pitch space however you want. I suspect a hexagonal layout could have some really interesting possibilities for microtonal work.
Yes, I agree. But when you start to talk about remapping a keyboard to do something different, then you’re opening up a whole realm of possibilities that have little to do with the design of the original system. The issue here is the restrictive layout of the original system.
>
> I hope I can get one of these eventually, but it’s too pricey now.
Certainly too pricey for a keyboard that offers no useful alternatives to what’s currently, and cheaply, available!


May 19, 2011 | 12:47 pm

Hey guys, what do you think about that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVoSY961hjM Thats so cool :-) Maybe we should try to implement that harmonic table for free for all…


May 26, 2011 | 5:48 pm

If you’re interested in using two-dimensional note layouts for compositional purposes, you may be interested in Hex – a MIDI sequencer designed for microtonal tunings (built in Max) – which is available here:

http://www.dynamictonality.com

Andy Milne


May 26, 2011 | 6:27 pm

"It’s an interesting idea, but I’d suggest it would be extremely restrictive rather than a great tool for composition."

100% agree.

but why dont we go and create something better?

the hexagonal interface is fun, and it should be not too difficult to build an interface
with [lcd] where yu can have overlapping hexagons or circles functioning as buttons.

and instead of the silly 12 tone tuning of the original, one could just allow the user to
create his own chords.


May 26, 2011 | 8:38 pm

RE: new interfaces for music.
It is perhaps instructive to recall the DVORAK keyboard.
Demonstratively superior to QWERTY for most natural language users, esp. English .

BUT now:
A mostly forgotten idea…
as humans we tend to want to practice any difficult skill in the way we first learned it. And few if any first learn Dvorak.
No one first learns these new keyboards.
To dirve the use of new interfaces, we need to increase the *need* for it:
to this end , the use of interfaces that map cleaner into existing practices (Contimuum keyboard is my example here), yet allow mapping into newer musical thoughts.. so the interest and demand for such abilities becomes higher: then new designs of musical keyboard would have the societal ‘ummph’/desire to develop their own advanced practicum.
We lose *way* too much in music when the interface must be simplified to provide a more immediate learning curve:
That’s why Dan Trueman’s bass and Miller Puckett’s violin were some of the best new music interfaces I’ve every heard…along with Lippold’s brilliant keyboard invention.
just my tuppence, ymmv,pax,
charlieb aka j2k


May 26, 2011 | 9:29 pm

continuum is a good example. and it is something which can also be built as software, for
use with the mouse.

my continuum patch for maxmsp actually saved me a lot of $$. or kronur or whatever they
have there. of course it is monophonic (also known as mouseophonic)

for more you would need a iPad and C++.

there is still a lot of stuff left to explore in the area between mouse input, traditional notation,
and random algos.


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