Saturday, 20 September 2008

mtf - week 08 - my favourite erasehead

my favourite part of the film was the few minutes directly after - there was general silence. i think that i was not the only one slightly bemused by the experience.

one of my favourite movie watching techniques is to miss the opening section. by missing out on the character development and even major plot developments, you can then get a sense of wonder as nothing makes sense.

without missing the opening section, eraserhead gave me a similar situation. the movie, whilst never being clear, at least began to take recognisable form over time. but still there were incessantly weird bits i had no idea what was happening or what there relevance was..... eg it was not til after reading the blerb at wikipedia, i realised that the funny cheeked woman was "the woman in the radiator", also other symbolic imagery such as the cloud of eraser dust surrounding the hero as featured in the cover image...

i found myself walking outside soon after, and i felt most appreciative of the beautiful day that was revealed to my then current mind space.

Eraserhead. Dir. David Lynch. DVD. Libra Films.

David Harris. Music Technology Forum - Semester 2, Week 8 - My Favourite Things Lecture. University of Adelaide, South Australia, 18/09/2008.

Eraserhead. (viewed 20/09/2008)


Sunday, 14 September 2008

forum - week 7 - presentations and sine tones

I didnt mean to spend so much time playing with the graphics,,, honest !!

This week featured a number of student presentations, and I presented my work from 1st semester with the amazing and descriptive title, Parabolic function as iterated through colour and melodic transforms. This featured as a sound component, 12 simultaneous melodic lines using sine tones generated from an iterative function describing the shape of a parabola.

Here follows a somewhat lengthy discourse (for a blog) on sine tones and their use in this particular piece. The quintessential element has been paraphrased in the linked comment which you could peruse instead and save yourself possible minutes of life. Otherwise, you could continue reading ....

After the playing of my piece there was a comment from
David Dowling afterwards something along the line of "Did you think of putting some sort of modulation on ? Sine waves get a bit old after a couple of minutes !". This has gotten me thinking ....

why do i like sine tones ? This has two aspects. (1) from a melodic aspect, I like their timbre (or lack of :), the way they actually sound when used in a melodic context. (2) From a harmonic aspect, they can be used in such a variety of ways with little concern for clash of timbral colours - their lack of overtones gives them such ease of combination.

More widely speaking when dealing with wide frequency/ pitch choices, the choice of timbre becomes very important. Generally speaking, a timbre that sounds good at one pitch will not sound good 3 octaves above or 3 octaves below - this requires then a pitch based modulation upon the timbre to shape the sound as appropriate. Or, one could treat frequency along a similiar line to which John Delaney has in his piece BinHex_25-06. Here there was distinct frequency based timbral delineation - not unlike an ensemble of actual instruments, where there own unique characteristics create possible frequency/pitch bands. Hence one could create a number of timbres with attached frequency limits, and divide a broad frequency output into its appropriate voice.

Or, use a sine tone.

The harmonic aspect has particular importance when considered in the light of "computer music" (I use the term here to denote the style of music associated with both computer aided composition and creation - an obvious example is using a mathematical equation to describe the entire melodic and harmonic output). I feel that in this aspect, my use of formulaeic derived methodology to replace the overt human aesthetics (eg pitch/rhythmic choices), requires the use of simpler, purer tonality to represent the audio output. The inclusion of richer timbres creates denser levels of complexity through the interaction of their extended harmonic components - this is what I consider undesirable (although not necessarily strictly so - indeed these denser complexities have their own desirability). In my particular work, I desired the purity of sine tones to help reveal the inner working of the mathematical process, their interactions were desired as a particular mental abstraction overlayed onto what I conceived as a continually morphing spatial panorama where overtones would only create muddy patterns.

That said, with the retrospective awareness of my piece and the cogitation/analysis engendered by its presentation. I feel I could extend it further -

At the present, the patch generates 12 independent tones. These tones are given a duration, constant amplitude and pitch (the pitch is given a start and end value with a constant rate of change).
In the simplest way the shape of these generated tones needs to be modified along the lines of the following ;
duration (the minimum possible could be shortened), amplitude (an envelope over time - rather than constant amplitude), pitch (an envelope of changing pitch inclinations, rather than constant change).
The tones are also given a stereo value, where one of the stereo channels is delayed by an amount. This could be modified with with the delay being also based on phase position, hence more importance on the frequency value related to stereo.

hmmmm, apart from that SINE TONES ROCK !!!!

or something :P

Various students. Student presentations. Level 5 Schulz building, Adelaide University. 11 September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

cc2 - week 06 - music and signal processing

i thought it would be fun to create a melodic synth using variable length buffer playback.

so using the groove~ object, and converting midi pitch to milli seconds to control loop end point, bob's your uncle.

issues this time were, needint to set up the groove~ to loop continuously. and setting up the modulation via the receive~ #2, it took a bit of magic to get max to recognise. I actually had to create a second receive~ with the real name, before the argumentative one would work... the first time I've actually caught Max out with such a blatant suddenly it works manouevure !!

i would have liked to use the note on to trigger the loop from the start, this would have made longer loops potentially more interesting, however it did not eventuate.

zip file at:

Haines, Christian. 2008. 6. Sampling (1) - CC2 - Music and Signal Processing.pdf

Cycling'74. 2006, MSP Tutorials and Topics.


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

mtf - w33k 05 - negativland sez favourite things

rationale of satire.

sometimes people are so wrapped in their own truths their is no point in mentioning your perspective of the inadequecies of their argument (should you be of the mind to do so).

one way to respond is to take the piss.___

is this offensive ? possibly.
is this funny ? possibly.
is this worthwhile ? possibly.
is this dangerous ? possibly.

usefullness of satire.

we live in a world of abstractions. these abstractions are defined by ourselves. we make these definitions based on our current state of ego. our ego is attached to the world and is influenced by the world. the world may influence us through many ways.

education is the process of deliberate enlightenment. the external use of education requires that you have control over the times of others. school is one example, television is another.

satire must be a form of education, otherwise it is acting superior and laughing at others - this is potentially opening yourself to claims of ethical inappropriateness.


according to the wikipedia article "negativland", the band themselves created the link between "religion is stupid" and the axe murder. They apparently did this to get out of touring.

"negativland". viewed 30 August 2008.

Whittington, Stephen. Forum presenting Negativland's Our Favourite Things. University of Adelaide 28 August 2008.