_derivations is an interactive performance system designed for use in improvisatory musical performance. The system is at the same time a musical work, a performance environment and a collaborative tool for use in improvised electro-acoustic performance. It has been under development over the past two and a half years as a part of my doctoral research at the University of Technology, Sydney. In this time, the system has taken to the stage in performance more than a dozen times, performing initially with myself on saxophone/s, and more recently with a growing number of interested improvising musicians.
_derivations works by recording and analysing the input of an improvising musician throughout a performance, and by making relationships between musical gestures stored in an expanding database and those being currently performed by the improviser. The system uses these recorded gestures as source material to bring back and modify live as its contribution to the improvised dialogue with the musician.
I have just recently launched derivations.net where the software can be downloaded. Check out the incrementally evolving video documentation also, to get an idea about how the software can be used in rehearsal and performance. The website also provides a central hub for all developmental and performance activities associated with _derivations, with links to audio and video examples, writings and a performance calendar.
Lastly, derivations.net is conceived also as a collaborative hub for users of the software. A unique feature of the software is its ability to save, merge and load various performance ‘sessions’ created by the user in both rehearsal and performance. These session files are comprised of the entirety of both the audio and analysis data that the system needs to interact with the musician in real-time, collected throughout an improvisatory performance. It is my hope that derivations.net will provide a tool to take this cumulative approach to interactivity in performance further, by enabling a portal for sharing and collaboratively building rich and diverse session databases, contributed by users of the software.
How did this project use Max?
_derivations was programmed entirely in Max 6, and is available as a library of max abstractions and externals, as well as a standalone piece of software distributed as a dmg. External max libraries and resources used to develop _derivations include: HIRT, Zsa Descriptors, Ejies, CNMAT External Objects, OpenairLib Impulse Responses, IRCAM Forum objects