Posts Tagged ‘Max’

Generative Music, an experiment (no. 16)

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I’ve recently (as in, over the past few years or more) been fascinated with the concept of generative music, something that Terry Riley first brought to my attention (see my blog entry and version of his aleatoric/generative composition “in C”) and that of course Brian Eno has championed. Eno has found success with many different generative systems, most recently and notably a series of iPhone apps including Bloom which compose random ambient music based on a handful of parameters the user defines.

Wanting to tackle something like that myself, but wanting to start simple, I found that I can do this with Ableton Live and the sample devices that come with the Max for Live package… without even opening Max itself.

Max For Live's MIDIgran effect

The Follow Action feature with 8:1 odds of repeating vs stepping back to the previous clip.

Using the randomized sequencing trick I used in “In C”, plus the Max for Live MIDI effect “Max MidiGran” I was able to take a simple 2-note passage (that forms the main drone) — playing only very long notes of C and F alternating which you can here, below — then separately for each of 2 additional “solo” synths, repitches randomly and remaps to a note on the C major pentatonic scale. These come and go randomly based on probabilities I set up and on multiples of 8 bars.

Then I added a drum machine loop, which also comes in based on random probabilities.

Finally, I added another Max effect that brings up some random feedback to the main drone and the drum machine at unexpected moments. Might be too jarring for the effect I was originally going for though.

It’s also number sixteen in the ridiculously optomistic “song of the week” project, but better late than never…


#16 Opalize (mp3, 24MB)

UPDATE: Here is another mp3 generated by the same setup. Very similar of course, but different!

#17 Opalize (reprise) (mp3, 24MB)

“Live Coding”

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Not just using laptops, but coding in a live performance? See this story on BBC News’ web site.

No mentions of what languages are being used, but screen shots seem to suggest Max/MSP and either CSound or ChucK.

handy tools for audio geeks

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

This reference site has just about anything you can imagine you’d need, from note names and frequencies, to a chord finder, to a BPM calculator, and much more:

I found it when I was looking for the frequency range of a standard 88 note piano, and the MIDI notes that corresponded for a simple MAX patch I was working on. So far, it just plays random piano quarter notes in a minor scale, you pick the root key and the octave span and tempo. I was thinking I could make a robot that does a good Terry Riley impression a la Rainbow in Curved Air.

your future, mule armadillo (no. 10)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Here’s one using Stretta‘s inspirational polygomé on the monome as an arpeggiator for both the bass synth and the vibraphone. 

inseaish (monome fun, part two).

Friday, January 30th, 2009
banksy graffiti art on st claude ave

banksy graffiti art on st claude ave

again, using the monome and boiinngg, a quick improvisation.

it’s frighteningly easy to make get a terry riley / steve reich type thing happening.

so much fun, i could do this forever…

inseaish (6:56) mp3 9.6MB

monome fun, part one.

Friday, January 30th, 2009

here’s a video of me having fun with the monome. i am using a Max patch called boiinngg to trigger the drums in Ableton Live, using the Impulse plugin.

monome 64 + boiinngg from aleatoric on Vimeo.

can a video be “song of the week”? sure!


Thursday, January 29th, 2009

… how can something that has no capability to make sound on its own be so inspiring and useful to a musician?

above: the monome64, a totally configurable input/output light/button box that works with Max/MSP, chucK, OSC (Open Sound Control) and MIDI. 

designed and built by hand by a couple in the catskills who are committed to open-source and sustainability (as well as a refreshing minimalistic aesthetic). with a really friendly and creative user community, there are loads of free applications for it that you can edit or add to. search vimeo for “monome” on to see what i mean.  

image from