Composition Techniques (Procedural/Conditional)
May 29 2020 | 1:28 pm
So despite using Max extensively for about 3 years now, I have never made any actual music using it, and a major goal that I have had is to dive into procedural/algorithmic composition. My overarching idea is that I can lay out a set of rules and conditionals to compose instead of inputting everything by hand in a DAW. I don’t think of this as generative as such because I don’t want to be driving everything off of random number generators, instead I’d rather use the logic to dictate the flow of the composition in a predetermined way.
This where I get stuck - as I am so used to timeline based composition in DAWs (and even traditional notation!), Max’s open ended timeline tools have always freaked me out as it seems that composing in the traditional sense is not an option here.
I have been doing research to see what others have done in this regard, and one of the the most interesting reads was an interview with Autechre, where they seemingly mention in passing that they have (at least have in the past) programmed individual motifs and sequences, using a lot of conditionals, and then combine them into a larger patch to create the music. Other than that I can’t find many examples that demonstrate that sort of procedural workflow (one exception is a YouTube channel called fendoap). This brings me here, does anyone have experience in composing using Max, in a predetermined/procedural way? I hope I’ve been clear in how I’ve described my goals haha I’d really appreciate anyone’s insight into this!