Forums > MaxMSP

writing interactive music for ensemble ?

May 10, 2006 | 12:11 am

Hi,
I was wondering if any one has written music for instrumental ensemble, for
example, 5 instruments.
I know there must be a lot of problems regarding microphone setup, audio
analysis using fiddle~, or even the music consideration about the balances
between the role of computer and that of instruments, etc.

For academic purposes, I have to write a piece for 5-instrument ensemble
with Max/MSP. I don’t want to make it sound just like the music for tape and
instruments. However, I know almost all the good interactive piece is for
solo only.

I would appreciate it if you could share with me your experiences which you
think I should know before starting to compose.

Thank you very much.

Alex


May 10, 2006 | 1:46 am

I am planning on organising an ‘organic orchestra’ in max, basically consisting of using my voice to sing notes (which the dry note and wet+FX notes are played) and by doing calculations on the envelopes and styles of instruments in an orchestra (envelope times, volume, etc) add in some slightly random values for time to simulate human error, and have the orchestra set to particular patterns and arp/note-regions and literally have the computer ‘follow along’ my voice with a somewhat half-intelligent orchestral generator.

Well that’s the plan anyhow. ;)

Maybe this might give you some ideas.


May 10, 2006 | 2:02 am

Thanks for sharing the ideas.

But I would like to know some suggestions or experiences about the music
work with max/msp and more than three live, acoustic instruments instead of
virtual instruments.

Thanks.


May 10, 2006 | 2:10 am


May 10, 2006 | 7:40 am

I would appreciate it if you could share with me your experiences which you
think I should know before starting to compose.

before starting to compose, well, just imagine you piece and that’s
it – no secret there.

however about pieces for 4, 5 or more musicians, all using maxmsp in
real time (+ "real" instruments) yes, i have done a few, currently
will premiere a new one on Friday (5 musicians – all playing
instrument&maxmsp)

what do you want to know?? (still, i belive all answers are very
personal, related to the piece…)

- don’t expect long answers before sunday – yes, it’ is quite a lot of work!!!

best

kasper

Kasper T. Toeplitz
noise, composition, bass, computer

http://www.sleazeArt.com


May 10, 2006 | 9:21 am

You will get bleed-over from the microphones no matter what you do, and this will make itself apparent more with fiddle than with most other objects.
The best advice I can give is this: working with Max/MSP in real-time with microphones requires more preparation on stage than a normal concert. It is similar to using video in real-time; alot of time has to be spent finding solutions for the acoustic problems. One of the primary problems will be the placement of the mics in relation to the loudspeakers, and the choice of microphones will play a big role. The use of sound-absorbing screens can help alot, as it does in recording classical music.
Whenever I start a new piece, I begin working directly with the setup I will use at the end, so that I don’t start making decisions which I later have to change or abandon. Basically, the use of the setup becomes an important, formative influence on the music. The difficulty then becomes when I perform the same piece in another space; I have to make sure that I have plenty of time to try things out before the performance; sometimes an entire day (for one piece, there was a three-day buildup time.) I don’t write this to be discouraging; I find this sort of work fascinating and I realize that the work I put into the preparation is an important part of creating something which cannot be had in any other way.

As for the music: I have used a great number of physical switches in some pieces; in this way the musicians have direct control of what signal goes where and the composition can be in a tight, exact format. If I use threshold switches, or fiddle, or bonk, then I have to use the resulting error quota as part of the piece. I can reduce this quota alot by constructing elaborate filters and gates before sending a signal to the object, but the errors remain.

Max/MSP seems like a "well without a bottom" (as a technician once told me) but with a bit of analytical consideration, you can begin to see that the real possibilities become variations of a few basic catagories. For example, what can you do with live instruments? You can sample and loop them, apply distorting filters and effects and analize thier signals to use as switches and controllers for those samples and effects. These three basic directions describe everything I have ever done with live audio. Of course, the results may well be infinite in their scope, but the basic operations you can perform are limited in catagory. For this reason, I have a few standard patches which I use over and over again, and each is constructed in a way in which I try to cover the whole gamut of what should be possible with the basic concept. An example: my sampling patch can sample in real-time, immediately loop what was sampled, cut the sample into parts and also save the sample for later use. I have another patch for threshold triggering, another for switch-triggering, another for sequencing events, etc. With time, I only need to mix and match these patches to get the results I want.

With live instruments, I try to make an audible difference between what is played directly and what is looped, echoed or recorded. Otherwise, it would be just as well to use pure playback and use the instrumentalist as an actor (hey; it works for the pop-music industry…)

Hope this helps.


May 10, 2006 | 6:25 pm

Hi, Dayton and other friends,

Thank you so much. Your suggestions really help a lot. Now I know which
directions I may go
regarding the piece I am going to write.

I guess I will use MIDI pedal to switch qlist, and use automatic triggering
only for effects which do not require precise time match. I might also use
Yamaha Discklavier to send MIDI message to trigger synthsizer inside Max/MSP
instead of fiddle~ (though it would be very hard to have this piece
performed at other place where Yamaha Disckalvier is not available.)

Thanks.

Alex


May 10, 2006 | 6:43 pm


May 10, 2006 | 7:57 pm

Hello,

please feel invited to come to the Random Function
evening on Friday, the 26th of May at the Watershed
Multimedia Centre in Bristol.

Students on the MA in Creative Music Technology of
Bath
Spa University will perform their self-made music with
self-made code (MaxMSP) and/or self-made instruments.

Also performing are musicians interested in varied
forms of experimentations…

Do come along, listen or, if you would like to make
your recent brainchildren sound, perform !!

The entrance is free.

Bye,

Lea


May 10, 2006 | 8:17 pm

>You will get bleed-over from the microphones no matter what you do

unless of course you use contact mics, or pickup-type mics. there are numerous such mics available for a variety of instruments: regular contact mics work well for piano, there are pickups available for harp, special mics for reeded instruments, stringed instruments, etc. these can make your life a lot easier when doing this kind of thing.


May 11, 2006 | 1:12 am

I gave a performance with four trumpets, picked up via dynamic microphone, processed by msp. the patch analyzed the sound, and chose notes for each performer to switch to, which was displayed in quicktime movie boxes and projected on a big screen. players could trigger events by playing certain notes, or resting.


May 11, 2006 | 9:50 pm

Chien-Wen Cheng wrote:
> I guess I will use MIDI pedal to switch qlist, and use automatic
> triggering only for effects which do not require precise time match. I
> might also use Yamaha Discklavier to send MIDI message to trigger
> synthsizer inside Max/MSP instead of fiddle~ (though it would be very
> hard to have this piece performed at other place where Yamaha
> Disckalvier is not available.)

In scored music you can also use filters to trigger just on certain
notes, seems less expensive than fiddle~.
Any good digital piano might be usable instead of a discklavier…
Consider an extra musician who plays the electronic part. A played
switch is as good as a tracked note, but works always without
"fiddeling" around…
Most pieces we do here at the ccmix are for multiple instruments by the way.

Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


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