Fall2011.CSCI180FinalProject History

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Section1 (FYE learning community) students should also submit:

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Section 1 (FYE learning community) students should also submit:

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  1. Your image(s)
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  1. Your image(s).
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Background

In the pluralistic musical culture of present moment, in which many "languages" or "dialects" are spoken simultaneously, it is worth thinking about how composers can find a distinctive musical language that is new, personally meaningful, and "beautiful." This is one of the central questions any composer or "organizer of sound" must face: what musical material will I work with? Diatonic (Arvo Pärt)? Chromatic (Pierre Boulez)? Continuous sound (as Pierre Schaeffer and Edgard Varèse each did, with dramatically different results)?

Arvo Pärt has been able to achieve something "new" while speaking a diatonic language and working within the tradition of minimalism.

For example, take some time to listen closely (with headphones) to some of Pärt's music:

  • Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
  • Spiegel im Spiegel
  • Salve Regina
  • Für Alina
  • Also, Für Alina, explained by the composer
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  1. Start with sound picture in mind (i.e., what type of sound you want to produce - major or minor, chromatic, continuous). This will inform the image(s) you select. Then, both, will inform the parameters in your algorithm. As you explore, you may refine your image selection, type of sound, high-level musical structure, etc.
  2. You may add ornamental (non-image generated) musical material (no more than, say, 20% of the overall material).
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  1. Start with a sound picture in mind (i.e., what type of sound you want to produce - major or minor, chromatic, continuous). This will inform the image(s) you select. The parameters in your algorithm should be shaped by both your intended sound idea and the image. As you explore, you may refine your image selection, type of sound, high-level musical structure, etc.
  2. You may add ornamental (non-image generated) musical material (no more than, say, 20% of the overall material). For example, you might generate a low-pitched drone or an ambient background sound to give the composition greater density and color.
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  1. List five works you have listened to that have informed your composition; one of these works may be a work mentioned in class.
  2. Graphically represent the plan of your composition.
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  1. List three to five works you have listened to that have informed your composition; one of these works may be a work mentioned in class.
  2. Graphically represent the plan of your composition in a map, flowchart, or other visualization.
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  1. You may use only part of the image, or different parts of the image for different part of the music. For example, a bass line (low register) may be generated from a single ("rhythmically" interesting) row (or column) in the image. Or, you may create a recurring theme by sonifying a small (interesting) area of the image, and repeating it through Mod.repeat() or Mod.cycle(). Mod.transpose(), Mod.fadeOut(), etc. may prove useful.
  2. Explore high-level structure of your music. Do NOT expect that, just because you selected a beautiful, compelling image, everything else will fall into place musically.
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  1. You could use only part of the image, or different parts of the image for different part of the music. For example, a bass line (low register) may be generated from a single ("rhythmically" interesting) row (or column) in the image. Or, you may create a recurring theme by sonifying a small (interesting) area of the image, and repeating it through Mod.repeat() or Mod.cycle(). Mod.transpose(), Mod.fadeOut(), Mod.elongate(), etc. may prove useful.
  2. Explore high-level structure of your music. Do NOT expect that, just because you selected a beautiful image, everything will fall into place musically.
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  1. Decide ahead of time if you will create continuous, chromatic, or diatonic music (e.g., MAJOR_SCALE, MINOR_SCALE, etc. - see Appendix A). Also see code samples on student wiki.
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  1. Decide ahead of time if you will create continuous, chromatic, or diatonic music (e.g., MAJOR_SCALE). See code samples on student wiki.
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  1. You may also explore using existing sounds to create a musical instrument to render your music (again, se sample code in student wiki).
  2. Start with sound picture in mind (i.e., what type of sound you want to produce - major or minor, chromatic,

continuous). This will inform the image(s) you select. Then, both, will inform the parameters in your algorithm. As you explore, you may refine your image selection, type of sound, high-level musical structure, etc.

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  1. You may also explore using existing sounds (sound fonts) to create a musical instrument to render your music (again, see sample code in student wiki).
  2. Start with sound picture in mind (i.e., what type of sound you want to produce - major or minor, chromatic, continuous). This will inform the image(s) you select. Then, both, will inform the parameters in your algorithm. As you explore, you may refine your image selection, type of sound, high-level musical structure, etc.
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(This project has been co-developed with Prof. Blake Stevens, Music Dept.)

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Compose an interesting piece of music through the sonification of an image.

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making music from images

musical process high-level structure algorithmic process stratification (Arvo Part) selection (images, pixels) beautiful, compelling

major or aeolian chromatic continuous

  • creating music with computers,
  • exploring high-level musical structure
  • incorporating chance material into musical process
  • connections between numbers and music,
  • fundamentals of algorithmic composition,
  • MIDI notes, durations, etc., and
  • generating a MIDI file.

Start with sound picture in mind (what type of sound you want to produce) This will inform the image(s) you select. Both, will inform the parameters in your algorithm.

You may add ornamental (non-image generated) musical material (no more than, say, 20% of the overall material).

Introduction

According to Scaletti [1],

[t]he idea of representing data in sound is an ancient one. For the ancient Greeks music was not an art-for-art's sake, practiced in a vacuum, but a manifestation of the same ratios and relationships as those found in geometry or in the positions and behaviors of the planets.

Johannes Kepler

In 1619 Johannes Kepler wrote his "Harmonices Mundi (Harmony of the Worlds)" treatise. While philosophers spoke of the "music of the spheres," Kepler discovered physical harmonies in planetary motion and is a key figure in the scientific revolution that brought us out of the dark ages.

  • Here is a modern sonification based on Kepler's "Harmonices Mundi" and actual orbital data of planets in our solar system.
  • Here is more information about this sonification.
    • Here is a lesser quality, but still relevant YouTube video.

Bode's Law

The Titius–Bode law (aka Bode's law) is an attempt to model the symmetries and proportions of our solar system. Actually, it predicted the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter (long before it was discovered), but fails to account of the irregularly moving Neptune and the (now demoted non-planet) Pluto.

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/astronomy/solar-system/solar-system.jpg

Planets and the Golden Ratio

Using Bode's law, it has been shown that "the orbital data of all planets, asteroids, moons, and rings in the solar system reduce to a simple numerical pattern based on the golden ratio. A set of integers, not unlike the quantum numbers of atomic systems, defines the mean orbits of all planets and major satellites." [2]

to:
  • musical process
  • algorithmic process
  • high-level musical structure (e.g., Tintinnabuli)
  • processing information in images (e.g., use as chance material)

(It is OK to use more than one image, if you wish.)

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Write a Jython program that generates a sonification of the planets' organization using the jMusic programming library for musicians. Your program should generate a MIDI file with your sonification.

In particular, convert the orbital velocities of the planets to MIDI notes:

  • Map the range of orbital velocities to the range of 30-120. Use the resulting numbers as MIDI pitches.

To do so, use the following formula:

pitch = int((velocity - minVelocity) / (maxVelocity - minVelocity) * 90) + 30

where velocity is the orbital velocity of some planet, minVelocity is the smallest orbital velocity among the planets, and maxVelocity is the largest orbital velocity among the planets.

Alternatively, we could use the jythonMusic mapValue() function. This function expects as arguments the value to be mapped, the smallest and largest possible value to be mapped, and the smallest and largest values of the destination range:

pitch = mapValue(velocity, minVelocity, maxVelocity, 30, 120)

Notes:

  1. Make your program do all the necessary calculations. In other words, your program should include the formula that generates each pitch. Make your program do all the work (as opposed to you doing some of the calculations (e.g., in the Python interpreter, or via a calculator) and then using the numeric results in the program).
  2. Do include Ceres (i.e., the asteroid belt) and Pluto.
  3. Make sure you initialize each of the above variables appropriately.
  4. Feel free to experiment with other astronomical data from the planets.
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Select a digital image that you find beautiful or compelling. Create a musical realization of this image using jythonMusic. You should design the musical parameters (pitch, dynamics, timbre, panoramic, etc.) through which this image will be realized in sound, with reference to one of the musical traditions discussed in class:

For Section 1 this would be Expressionism (atonality), Serialism, Aleatory Music, or Minimalism. In other words, your composition should reflect knowledge of one of the principal musical "languages" or "dialects" spoken in the recent past and in contemporary music.

For Section 2 this would be any musical tradition (including Jazz, Rock, and Ambient).

Notes

  1. You may use only part of the image, or different parts of the image for different part of the music. For example, a bass line (low register) may be generated from a single ("rhythmically" interesting) row (or column) in the image. Or, you may create a recurring theme by sonifying a small (interesting) area of the image, and repeating it through Mod.repeat() or Mod.cycle(). Mod.transpose(), Mod.fadeOut(), etc. may prove useful.
  2. Explore high-level structure of your music. Do NOT expect that, just because you selected a beautiful, compelling image, everything else will fall into place musically.
  3. Explore different possibilities, e.g., identify which image pixels (area? row? col?) will be used or what musical part. One possibility is to experiment with Arvo Pärt's | Tintinnabuli system. I.e., one part of the image can generate a bass tone, another a diatonic arpeggio, another a stepwise melodic line.
  4. Decide ahead of time if you will create continuous, chromatic, or diatonic music (e.g., MAJOR_SCALE, MINOR_SCALE, etc. - see Appendix A). Also see code samples on student wiki.
  5. It is OK to use either MIDI instruments (i.e., submit a MIDI file), or jythonMusic synthesized instruments (i.e., submit an audio file).
  6. If you submit an audio file, consider converting to MP3 first, to save space on OAKS.
  7. You may also explore using existing sounds to create a musical instrument to render your music (again, se sample code in student wiki).
  8. Start with sound picture in mind (i.e., what type of sound you want to produce - major or minor, chromatic,

continuous). This will inform the image(s) you select. Then, both, will inform the parameters in your algorithm. As you explore, you may refine your image selection, type of sound, high-level musical structure, etc.

  1. You may add ornamental (non-image generated) musical material (no more than, say, 20% of the overall material).
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  1. Assignment: HMWK2
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  1. Assignment: Final Project
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You will submit your assignment via OAKS/Dropbox. Be prepared to demo your music to the rest of the class. Your submission consists of the following:

  1. Your Jython program (call it harmonicesMundi.py).
  2. Your MIDI file (call it harmonicesMundi.mid).
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You will submit your assignment via OAKS/Dropbox. Be prepared to present your work to the rest of the class. Your submission consists of the following:

  1. Your Jython program.
  2. Your Audio or MIDI file. If submitting audio please try to convert it to MP3 first.
  3. Your image(s)

Section 1 - Additional Requirements

Section1 (FYE learning community) students should also submit:

  1. Composition plan and analysis (written document - MS Word):
    1. List five works you have listened to that have informed your composition; one of these works may be a work mentioned in class.
    2. Graphically represent the plan of your composition.
    3. Describe your compositional process and goals.
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"Any amount of work can be done in any amount of time... only the quality varies." ~Joao Meidanis

Reference

  1. Quote from Carla Scaletti, "Sonification - An Ancient Idea Made Feasible by New Technology", ACM SIGRAPH '93 - Course Notes 81, Aug. 1993, p. 4.2.
  2. Jan C. A. Boeyens, "Commensurability in the solar system", Physics Essays, 22(4), pp. 493-500, Dec. 2009.
  3. Cooper, D. and Clancy, M. (1985) "Oh! Pascal", 2nd ed., W.W. Norton & Company, New York, p. 42.
  4. Enchanted Learning.com, "The Planets (plus the Dwarf Planet Pluto)", Accessed on-line, Feb. 17, 2010.
  5. Olivier Messiaen, "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités" for piano (1949).

A Few Interesting Submissions

Here are three submissions from a previous semester (independent of grade earned - grading depended on more than just sound)

  1. Harmonices Mundi #1 (by Courtney Miller and Caitlin Altman)
  2. Harmonices Mundi #2 (by Douglas McNellis and Ian Fricker)
  3. Harmonices Mundi #3 (by Matthew Blough-Wayles and Shea McSween)
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"Any amount of work can be done in any amount of time... only the quality varies." ~Joao Meidanis

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You may add ornamental (non-image generated) musical material (no more than, say, 20% of the overall material).

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