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Topic: Algorithmic JABB

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  1. #1

    Algorithmic JABB

    I recently received a request from Gunther/germancomponist to post this, after I'd played a preview in a chat a few weeks back...

    Surprise! More Math-Jazz!
    http://www.markleford.com/music/files/07_04_markleford_surprise.mp3


    This piece was generated by a suite of algorithmic composition tools that I've developed, using a provided handful of (non-jazz) MIDI clips as a seed for the KVR Audio monthly contest for April (theme: MIDI Madness)

    I'll save some time here by quoting my usual "press release" text that I've used on my Ruccas.org site entry:

    A large part of my music relies upon algorithmic, generative, and gestural techniques. To this end, I have developed an extensive suite of MFX plug-ins (under the label of TenCrazy.com) representing numerous semi-atomic functions on MIDI data streams that are intended to be chained together in a modular fashion. These chains are generative, often creating the entirety of the piece by following the rules provided in parametric form, without human hands ever touching a keyboard instrument. Moreover, gestural control can be exerted over the system by drawing MIDI envelopes in the sequencer to describe the “contour” of the performance without specifying the notes themselves.

    I often refer to these chains of plugins as “players” or “improvisers”, suggesting an almost intelligent autonomy to their role. In fact, I often play live instruments along with their generative output, creating a sort of hybrid computer-human band. However, while I respect their creations as a “fellow artist”, I also reserve the right to edit their performance as the director of our musical collaboration. As such, I’m able to capture an improvised performance and edit it in hindsight if I particularly like a momentary inspiration or otherwise need to reign in some of the randomness, arranging by cut and paste after the fact.

    Finally, I do take care to design my sample-sets to bring out a realistic “human” preformance in my automated improvisers. Due to having multi-instrumental talent, I’m experienced enough to be able to collect and model the sounds of a sampler to approximate the idioms of the instrument in question, even to the extent of playing the instrument myself and “slicing” the audio data into individual notes for algorithmic resequencing. This goes far in helping the generative system realise a convincing performance.
    So in this piece, I'm using JABB to render all the instruments, and letting them improvise upon rhythmic and intervalic templates that have been provided by someone else, casting them in the role of a small jazz combo in a club.

    As stands now, there are obvious instances where lines fail to resolve intelligently or naturally; this can be overcome with more careful parameter control or after-the-fact editing... but that takes more time! However, most often my goal with such work is to create something "close enough", to provide more of a "vibe" or "feel" than to craft a timeless tune. In context of actual work, I've used this sort of composition style in films as incidental music, where attention remains moreso on the action and dialog, such that detail in the score is non-essential.

    At any rate, this one is mostly for Gunther, but other people may find it compelling... or at least spark debate in some way or other!

    Enjoy,
    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

  2. #2
    Senior Member rayzalaf's Avatar
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    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    Thank God for musicians

    Ray

  3. #3

    Wink Re: Algorithmic JABB

    Marvelously!

    I am absolutely inspired by this work!

    Markleford, it is sooooo cool what you have done here with JABB! All instruments are so marvelously arranged. The solo instruments, the harmonies and particularly the whole way. Excellent!

    I thinks this work is a marvelous enriching for our Listeningroom here. Thank you very much for posting it now! I am sure me that it will inspire also many other listeners!

    Thanks again, Markleford!

    Best whishes,

    Gunther
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  4. #4

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    Markleford--I've long admired you as an innovative contributor to the Garritan world, via your "TenCrazy" suite of MFX plug-ins. So it is with Great interest that I clicked on the first musical post I've noticed from you since I joined the Forums in Nov. of 2006.

    Ray has responded to your post with I think perhaps a wry indication that he thanks God for musicians because he prefers to think of worthwhile music being generated solely by human beings as opposed to that created from a hybrid of cyber and sentient beings.

    I make no judgements and don't want to quantify or qualify my response to what you posted--but I have to say that as I listened, I was taken back to the thrill I had when I first listened to "The Quintet" album featuring Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter on their explosively spontaneous Jazz album.

    That means---I liked it.

    And, that is to say that I think your manifesto which you quoted "...my goal with such work is to create something 'close enough' to provide more of a 'vibe' or 'feel'..." has been very well realized.

    Algorithmic composition has been something of a Holy Grail in the computer music world since computers first started becoming available to the general public, and actually even before that time. There have been valuable ideas contributed to that end, but it's rare for a musician/programmer to state this honorable intention:

    "...I’m experienced enough to be able to collect and model the sounds of a sampler to approximate the idioms of the instrument in question, even to the extent of playing the instrument myself and 'slicing' the audio data into individual notes for algorithmic resequencing. This goes far in helping the generative system realise a convincing performance..."

    In that statement is the core reason for what makes what you've posted here as good as it is.

    You are saying that as a musician, you are ready and determined to take the computer program generated material and shape it through the seive of Your sensibilities--You take the program's output and shape it in to a music with which you participate. You re-shape, edit, and perform with it, in order to arrive at an output which you feel is able to be presented as "MUSIC."

    And--I'm saying I think you completely succeed in your efforts.

    I
    Loved
    This

    SO
    Thank
    You

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  5. #5

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    As you of all people know beyond any doubt, Markleford,
    I've always been terrible at math; unable to do even
    simple sums, let alone comprehend complex algorithms.

    And worse, it's plainly evident that I know nothing at all
    about Jazz, and have no feel for it whatsoever.

    Thus indemnified, however; I rather liked parts of this!

    As an ancient and creaking software grunt with more than
    a little of my own experience in experiments like this, I do
    believe it's quite possible to produce something resembling
    music via mathematical means. However, I've always
    seen it as composition-at-a-distance: Once you dice
    away all the dead corn, the software developer is, in
    reality, the composer.

    Best,

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  6. #6

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    --needing to jump immediatley back on this thread.

    Just some observations---Et Lux says "...it's plainly evident that I know nothing at all about Jazz..." but that's so ironic. Any of us who have heard his music know that Jazz has its strong influence on his music, whether or not he's consciously aware of it. Isn't that interesting? I think so!

    And then, addressing the question of computer-generated music, Et Lux says, "...Once you dice away all the dead corn, the software developer is, in reality, the composer..." As if that's a definitive put down of the algorithmic process. Instead, it's an underlining of what is so great about what's going on here.

    As I made pains to point out in my response on this thread, the most crucial part of Markleford's original post was when he described his process of working with these algorithimic out-puts---It is indeed his own human contribution to what his program spit out which makes his result, this music, so successful!

    Markleford is jamming with cyber musicians. Beyond thinking that's a cool concept, what's great is that he makes the idea work!

    As you sit in your home studio, hammering away at your current project, --who are You jamming with?

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  7. #7

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    I certainly hope no one read my prior post as a "put
    down" due to some of my tongue-in-cheek flavoring.

    The plain truth is, I think there's a lot of promise in
    this area... and likewise, that Markelford is getting
    some superlative results.

    However -- ever for people doing this work -- it's
    a common conception that it is the algorithms and
    the software that somehow provide the creative
    juice.

    It isn't. It's the creative decisions made by the
    person who designs and constructs the software...
    augmented by creative input of the individual using
    that software.

    The human composer is by no means gone --
    merely using different tools to approach the
    process of composition.

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  8. #8

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    Right on, David.

    "...It's the creative decisions made by the
    person who designs and constructs the software...
    augmented by creative input of the individual using
    that software..."


    And the most important part of what you're saying, since most of us don't program software, is "...creative input of the individual using that software."

    And that's why I was trying to highlight the crucial parts of Marklebord's "manifesto" (which needs an editor by the way--just a side note)-- What has been posted here isn't just the output of an algorithmic composer, but rather it's the collaboration between those algorithmic musicians and a human being--hence, this piece's musicality. I say that with agreement in the assumption that purely computer generated music isn't going to have all the elements of what we consider music which is worth listening to.

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  9. #9

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    Once you dice away all the dead corn, the software developer is, in
    reality, the composer.
    [Emphasis mine.]

    I don't presume to know that EtLux meant this as a "put down." I do hear it as a confirmation of something interesting going on here, good or bad being subjective (and separate) issues. [Edit: EtLux spoke clearly for himself while I was writing this.]

    As other threads on generative music have made clear, there are some strong feelings about the place of "live" musicians in all of this . . . and those threads made for some interesting reading.

    Unlike the unconscious or totally automated "composing" programs, Markleford has presented something he has clearly composed himself--first through his control over the algorithm(s) chosen, and then through his authority over the editing process. The piece and the implications of this composing process is (in my view) constructively provocative. Perhaps one day, when we know a lot more than we do now about the interrelatedness of seemingly diverse elements of the universes, we may see more of a connection between the music of mathematics and the mathematics of music than we do today.

    I'm on my third rerun of the NPR program about the operatic composer who, when faced with "writer's block," wound up constructing a program that deconstructs "classical" pieces. I find some of these connections fascinating. Then, too, I'm one of the old geezers who see how Madison Avenue makes extensive use of Helmholtz's preliminary works on the effects of colors on mood, and the connections between color frequency spectrum and sound spectrum.

    Keep it coming!

  10. #10

    Re: Algorithmic JABB

    True, David and Randy.

    I always compose "with" a librarie together.

    That is what I said so often here in the forum. In each library elements of the players, the transmitting room etc. are cought into the sample-recordings.

    And all this inspire me much.
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

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