Monday, March 28, 2011


One problem with computer music is that it requires a computer.  Actually, this isn't an inherent problem, unless there is a problem inherent in the computer on which the music is supposed to be being made.  In my case, such a problem has developed:  my computer is terminally ill.  Being one who believes in allowing the dying to pass honorably, I am taking steps to relieve my old colleague of its duties before senility sets in by ordering a replacement.  However, there has been a sea change in computing technology in the time since we began working together nearly five years ago and the new young hot-shot on its way has a multi-core architecture.  Although the software with which I have been working is designed to be cross-platform (my old computer is a PC and the new one will be a Mac), it was written during the now seemingly distant single-core era and rumor has it that it does not get on well with the dual- and quad-core designs of today's machines.  Thus, it is up in the air whether or not my late-blooming but still fledgling passion for music synthesis -- and the reason for this blog -- will be curtailed before it even gets a fair start. 

This blog is turning into more of an "Excuse of the Week" than the homage to ADSR that I had hoped.  Still, to succeed, one must first fail many times.  Onward, into a brave new iWorld!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lost in Thought (-ish)

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary (my favorite source for all things wordy), "reverie" has two meanings:  a daydream or the condition of being lost in thought.  Of late, I have definitely not been daydreaming.  After finishing the applications for phase II of the internship match process early this month, I then had several obligations arise simultaneously, namely doing a series of short pieces for the soundtrack of my daughter's stop-motion animation project (very fun), grading a stack of undergraduate case conceptualizations (double-plus unfun), working on a paper presentation (fun, but recently canceled), and reformulating my dissertation (more fun than it sounds).  All of these projects demanded a fair amount of time- and brain-cycles, so perhaps "lost in thought" is closer to where I've been. 

They also preempted the work I was doing on the next piece I want to post.  It's something I've been working on since January and, although it's an arrangement rather than an original composition, it has been a lot of fun, not least because it's taking a shape that is dramatically different from what I had in mind when I started it.  The pleasures has been in taking the risk of following a timbral thread that started accidentally -- and which seems to be working.  You all will be the judges of whether that is actually the case, but conducting the experiment has been interesting in the interim.  I hope to have the outcome of my reverie up here in the next few weeks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In Three II

Okay, so the whole raison d'ĂȘtre of this site is to serve as a public repository of some of my creative output. It's taken a while to get the software necessary to upload this working, but, at last, I seem to have figured it out (and not, of course, without some key assistance from my daughter).

This is something I more or less tossed off in a fit of experimentation last Christmas when I couldn't sleep (no, I wasn't waiting for Santa). To pass the insomnia productively, I decided to spend some time learning to use a new open-source digital audio workstation I had run across (Linux Multimedia Studio) and this was the result.  Later, when I upgraded to another DAW (Tracktion 3), I was able to rebuild the piece essentially identically because both LMMS and Tracktion 3 were compatible with the plug-in softsynth in which the voices had been built (ZynAddSubFX) and the MIDI was pretty basic.  For the record, the voices are not my creations, although I did tweak some; Tracktion 3 also allowed me to play with some other parameters and to polish it up a bit.  In the end, I was pleased with the result and so it's the first piece I'm sharing here.  Stravinsky it ain't -- nor even Roger Waters, whose idea (an old favorite from "Meddle") was the inspirational germ -- so judge it gently, but I hope you enjoy it.

I have several other pieces in the pipeline, although, with the semester end approaching, it seems likely that their completion will be slow in coming.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Treading Water

As promised, I have some music to post here, but I have been unable to do so successfully, so far.  It took me a while to figure out that you can't post .mp3 files as such, but that you have to convert them to video.  Having gotten that far, I had some difficulty getting the video capture software that I found to work.  I got that running tonight, but now the trouble is getting the video to load; Blogger isn't doing what I understand it is supposed to do.  I have a request for help posted on the appropriate help forum (for whatever that's worth).

So, my apologies.  I know it's not like there are vast crowds out there waiting to hear my stuff, but still, I was hoping this would be a simpler process.  With luck, I'll soon be able to get my first piece, called "In Three II" (which is actually in 12) posted for all the world to hear (or not...).