Resources for learning how to create music?


    Feb 12 2020 | 1:18 pm
    Total beginner here. I'm going through tutorials, taking the Kadenze course, so I've got a handle on basic MAX basics. What I want to do now is start to generate some music. What kind of music? I'm wanting to make something with a beat -- techno, house, hip hop, maybe even some ambient chill type stuff. In other words, I'm not really into musique concrete or experimental.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of some good tutorials, either video or text? TIA!

    • Feb 13 2020 | 12:42 am
      Cycling 74 are in the business of mind augmentation. Max helps you not only create new things, but also, and more importantly, think in new ways. It fits in the tradition of tools that help you think (Alan Kay's SmallTalk programming language is on my mind.) If your goal is to create in a given style, maybe other pieces of software would give you a framework more directly suited to your needs (Ableton Live, Fruity Loops, etc?) Max gives you an excellent level of abstraction when you want to create tools for new media, especially to manipulate audio, video, text, numbers, matrices, and more in the same environment. Now, if I had to create a techno track, I might look for a "create techno track FL" on youtube, which gives you, for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lZGxUJdhOA (the presenter has experience, I'm not sure you can really do what he does if you have absolutely no experience - I'm sure in this case you'll find more basic or more progressive tutorials) Or for a house track with Ableton Live, here is a more detailed one, with a slower pace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsZbgtExATM
    • Feb 13 2020 | 2:09 pm
      Jean-Francois, thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. What you say about MAX giving the ability to not only make new things but think in new ways really resonates with me! And I get the Smalltalk reference, too.
      And that is actually why I want to make music with MAX. I teach computer science, and so I'm always looking for ways to generate things algorithmically. I'm sure that making straight music is easier in a DAW. But I'm looking for "code control", which would allow me to introduce conditionals, loops, randomness, etc. In other words, generative art. And MAX seems made for just such tasks.
      And I welcome the opportunity to think in new MAX-like ways! Thanks again.
    • Feb 13 2020 | 3:44 pm
      Thanks for sharing these thoughts, it makes lots of sense. Reading your reply, I think you would really like Gregory Taylor's book "Step by Step - Adventures in Sequencing with Max/MSP". Patches come with the book. Gregory looks a lot at algorithmic ways of massaging beats - the sounds themselves being made by a MIDI synth, a VST~ instrument, etc. Which is what would fit your goals, I think. Another thing that might be of interest: in the menu Extras -> Examples Overview -> Latest -> look at Looping/Sequencing, starting with "01-X.Generation". That will show you some possibilities of patches using the [transport] object to make rhythmical note generation. These examples are actually a little complex to begin with, and were made before the advent of the [live.step] object: they show possibilities, but if you're starting, Gregory's book might be a more direct option. All best!
    • Feb 13 2020 | 5:02 pm
      Thanks for the suggestions! I will def check them out. And I've already got Taylor's book on order.
    • Feb 13 2020 | 10:09 pm
      Robert Rowe - Machine Musicianship
      https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/machine-musicianship
      When you use software to encode a musical process, you're encoding a theory of music. Rowe's book delves into some deeper theories of how this kind of music might work.
    • Feb 14 2020 | 2:09 pm
      Looks fascinating. Thanks for the reco!