[chuck-users] [livecode] granular music recommendations?

Mike McGonagle mjmogo at gmail.com
Mon May 19 19:54:07 EDT 2008

Just curious, Kassen, you used the word "Mapping" so much that is seems to
have lost some sort of context. Might you give a description of what you
mean, and maybe an example of what you do with it?


On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 5:59 PM, Kassen <signal.automatique at gmail.com>

> 2008/5/20 Peter Todd <chuck at xinaesthetic.net>:
>> Hello,
> Hi!
>> I'll add my voice to the chorus (cloud? swarm?) recommending Roads'
>> Microsound.  Although I must admit that I've never really managed to
>> properly listen to and enjoy any of his compositions, finding them a bit on
>> the cold academic side, but that may reflect a lack of time and effort on my
>> part more than anything.  Hey, who said music had to be about 'feeling',
>> anyway? ;-)
> To be clear; I too recommended Microsound last evening (my time) in
> response to Algo mentioning Gabor (off list). Road's compositions are indeed
> very abstract but I love the book in how it adresses many of the issues I
> had with grains in how they were commonly used and the book is pleasantly
> personal, I feel.
>> Also, Tim Blackwell has done some good work with swarms / flocking
>> behaviour simulations mapped to granular synthesis:
>> http://www.timblackwell.com/
>> Actually, I've done some similar things too FWIW, but nothing online etc
>> at the moment.  I think it's an interesting approach as one has lots of data
>> that might otherwise be generated randomly / stochastically that can be
>> mapped quite naturally to granular synthesis.  At the same time, it is
>> possible to interact with the system quite intuitively using a device with a
>> few degrees of freedom (like analysis of a normal acoustic instrument, in
>> Tim's case).  To me, that kind of interaction is more interesting than total
>> 'control'; that may be getting off-topic in a way, but given the sheer
>> volume of numbers that are required to drive granular synthesis, the mapping
>> and interaction tends to be particularly important.
> Yes, I agree. I used to work a lot with "chorus" type sounds, not the
> popular effect but the way a actual chorus (of people) works; I'd use a few
> paralel tone generators to build up a single sound. At the start of a not
> they'd play at the set pitch + some random offset and over the cource of the
> note the scaling of that offset would decrease, leading to a single pitch,
> like singers tuning to eachother. Here it's quite natural to map the amount
> of randomness at the start to the note's velocity as real instruments tend
> to be harder to controll at higher volumes. These particular tones probably
> wouldn't be called "granular" but that's one example of how I look at
> randomness and controller mappings where some randomness makes a lot of
> sense.
> What really changed the way I look at mappings and what I'd recomend in
> adition to Road's notes on controller mappings for grains is Stephen Beck's
> article "Designing Acoustically Viable Instruments in Csound" which can be
> found in the Csound Handbook. This article contains some examples in Csound
> but it's very readable for ChucKists that may not read Csound. Recomended.
>> Even straight randomness can be have its place, though and often,
>> 'randomness' is stochastic in a way that is informed by physics equations
>> etc; I think that was the case with Riverrun, for example.  I suppose that
>> may be where one starts getting into chin-stroking territory...
> Yes, of course. Sounds like rain or the ocean can be beautiful and indeed
> touch one emotionally without any need for a composer to get involved... and
> those are purely random (at least for practical purposes).
> I also have to say that concepts are great, but what gets to me is pieces
> where the concept seems to have been turned into sound directly without the
> composer keeping a ear on the end result (some schools of composition
> actively encourage that at times) or without relating it back to a listener.
> I still go to concerts like this at times and while these pieces are often
> interesting on a technical level they tend not to touch me emotionally
> which, to return to your point above, I would dare say is a nice property
> for art to have. Call me old-fashioned but all of my favourite works of art
> (some of which are *also* quite abstract) touch me emotionally.
> I don't feel this is a inherent issue of grains but more one of mappings
> which just happen to be very hard to do well for grains.
> On a entirely personal note; I used to spend most of my time for a given
> piece on sound-design yet lately I've been most happy with relatively simple
> sounds with very carefull mappings. Right now I'm working on a instrument
> that sound-wise is (at the moment) just a PulseOsc with a LPF, ADSR and a
> (custom) overdrive. Extremely simple stuff yet with good mappings (I'm using
> a tilt-sensing joypad) even something simple like that can be very evocative
> as a instrument. I plan to develop the sound generating bits further later
> but first I want to get my mappings right.
>> p.s. there is another list called microsound; might be of interest.
>> http://microsound.org/
> Yes, I used to be on it years ago. I had to unsubscribe when it became
> swamped with politics and increasingly abstract language. IMHO grains are
> already hard enough to controll without using language seemingly meant to
> obfuscate what's actually being said. I thought I'd leave those debates to
> those who enjoy them and try to have fun with music on my own instead (Which
> is not to say there weren't people sharing interesting ideas as well and in
> the time since it may have changed!).
> Yours,
> Kas
> PS; IMHO, IMHO & IMHO. No offence intended at all to others with different
> tastes and experiences.
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