My project does not deal with rhythm as directly. I want to create an exploratory tool, but one that is within the confines of a DAW. As we saw in class the DAW handles the time signature and BPM. I want to trigger midi and metadata for certain parameters of built in instruments/effects. Last week I was testing the automation of pitch using the plug-in Alterboy by Soundtoys. Something I discovered was that any pitch alteration beyond around .2 semitones starts to sound off, especially in an arpeggiator. Therefore I want my tool to constrain wobble effects to smaller amounts. I also discovered that slides sound really nice but have to be done quickly.
Create a movement interaction for wobble
Create a movement interaction for slides
I’m really inspired by the work with the accelerometer in this project by Amanda Ghassaei.
Further developing the idea/imagining it in different scales.
Currently I want to make a midi controller that illuminates the relationship between pitches and water. In practical terms this will look be a device for adjusting and exploring the entire pitch spectrum. I want to do it in a way that can still be used in the music production pipeline, so I will be locking scale/key into the process.
Two big inspirations are the Roli Seaboard and the RC-20 plugin. The Roli seaboard gives access to all of the pitches outside of the traditional piano structure. When playing a note the user can move up and down to explore the pitches in between notes. This video also demonstrates how that sounds when playing a chord. I want to explore similar principles, but away from the piano. I want the sounds to feel like an ocean, explored through controlled movement.
The RC-20 plugin also demonstrates how exact pitches have their time and place, but often times our ear associates slight wobble, with a vintage texture. This is because analog devices like tape and vinyl have texture to them like a pitch wobble and added noise.
The things I want to experiment with most:
—Pitch modulation as exploration
–Added noise for texture
–Locking melodic scale while allowing for interesting/unique compositions
–Getting the wah effect of a guitar string
Practical interfaces I can utilize:
I’m really inspired by this project from Amanda Ghassaei where she uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to change notes.
Why not ride the audio wave with a surfboard? What if that surfboard had an accelerometer and gyro attached?
Let’s imagine the project in three scales/formats
The controller is a literal surfboard where the user modulates pitch with their movement and angle. There are hand controllers to change notes.
If audio that has been printed on tape is suspended in the air, the user can pull it to adjust the sound. There is a direct link to the hardware and audio. This isn’t music creation as much as it is performance. How can one manipulate their movements to achieve what they want from the tape. Pulling it will adjust pitch and speed. The more it is stretched and used, the harsher it will sound, adding even more noise and texture. Eventually it will completely degrade, which emphasizes the physical nature of the medium.
Can digital audio degrade naturally? Can there be a link between real physical degradation and digital audio degradation/distortion.
Online Audio Manipulator
If this project was online as a tool, you could drop an audio file into the program. There will be an advanced audio visualizer that also lets you edit. I am inspired by the spectral display function in Adobe Audition where it shows you a heat map of frequencies and let’s you manipulate it. This is mainly used to erase spikes in the frequency spectrum cause by unexpected things while recording audio.
Week 4 In Class
During class I’m going to set up an Arduino Nano with some push buttons to start prototyping the accelerometer feature/sending midi information to the computer.
To start experimenting with user paths I honed in my idea on an expressive tool for pitch modulation. This tool must also be locked into scale to make it more interesting. An artist named Blankfor.ms in using the Roli Seaboard said “There’s an ocean between Db and Eb.” This always inspired me to see what else is possible. I wanted to take this concept further and develop a responsive board to ride the ocean pitch wave.
One of the most popular plugins in modern producing is called RetroColor. A defining feature of RetroColor is its “wobble effect module” that rides the pitch like a tape or vinyl would. I believe that giving the user more expressibility in this function would be of benefit.
In the video I show the setup for my device. I want to use pads instead of notes to get away from the standard piano. Instead of the automation I want to use an accelerometer and gyroscope to respond to pitch changes while notes/chords are being played.
I have been keeping an open mind for my project and I’ve found a few things interest me most. One being circular representation of sequencing, as well as simple ways to create organic and new sounds.
Example 1: Orbit by LDM Design
This is a really interesting project because it is all done in the code/design which I find really clever. This is beneficial because the hardware system is already really robust. The placing of the buttons on the perimeter of the circle in the grid is another great design choice, despite the issue of making a circular module in a grid system.
Example 2: Pocket Operators by Teenage Engineering
Teenage Engineering have somewhat of a cult following in the music hardware space. They produced the OP-1 which is one of the most popular modern hardware synths, and it is known for its small form factor with surprisingly powerful sounds. There is a really strong learning curve to that device but once mastered it is pretty intuitive. I wanted to design something more simple and easy to play around with. That’s when I stumbled upon the Pocket Operators they produce. I love the playfulness of the design and how easy it looks to start playing around.
Example 3: Circuit Mono Station by Novation
I really enjoy this device’s design because it has a nice mix of pads to buttons. There is a 4×8 grid of pads with some simple/standard synthesizer controls on top, all in a pretty small form factor.
Example 4: Seaboard Block- Roli
The seaboard block by Roli is also really interesting to me when it comes to creating unique sound because it lets you bend between the pitches of the notes effortlessly. Seeing one of these played well really makes the case for always having that sort of flexibility on the keys but does require quite a bit of practice to master.
Who is it for?
I want my project to be used by anyone looking to create unique sonic textures for use in music production. It has to be intuitive and I don’t want to use a piano as the input. Therefore music skills are not necessarily required. I am definitely a part of the group this is intended for and can help test it myself.
I want to find a new way for musical/sonic expression through the use of analog and digital technologies. I will reverse engineer multiple old devices and use their strengths to bring character & nuance to the digital world. It will be a device lacking a piano or traditional acoustic sound and instead come from electronic devices.
My vision is a novel instrument that creates sound like no other device. It will be a tabletop instrument with a tape recorder and various buttons/parts from other devices.
For my final I built upon some of the work I’ve made this semester. I made a randomized sound looper, that changing uses the alphabet and a 10print operation to display whats currently playing.
When you press a key, a 9 second sound file I created will be triggered. In order to keep the sounds together, they do not play until the looper restarts. This is something I will improve on in further versions as it can be time consuming to always wait 9 seconds to hear changes to what is going on.
I built on my LetterToNum class and object definitions to attach letters to music files I imported.
I made all of the sounds in Presonus Studio One, at 107bpm. There are wurlitzer, drum, guitar, jazz organ, and bass tracks.