Louder is not better

July 12th, 2007 by sjan

Issue 1: I have noticed that the CD’s in my collection which are older (late 80’s to mid 90’s or so) sound a whole lot better than those recorded more recently.

Issue 2: Popping in an older CD after playing a more recently released one required turning the volume up. Never mind the deafening blast that results when going from playing an older CD to a newer one without adjusting the volume first.

If I had bothered to really think about it I would have realized that the these are actually two effects of the same cause. For an explanation this YouTube video has a clear audio and visual representation of what is happening in the world of music production today. Producers are turning up the volume on tracks to get the loudest sounds possible, but at the expense of the dynamic qualities of the music.

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Ubuntu Studio finally here

May 15th, 2007 by sjan

The download sites are getting hammered, but UbuntuStudio was finally released yesterday. I’ll download, install and give the tools a thorough pounding, uh, testing as soon as I can.

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Music from chaos

July 15th, 2006 by sjan

A conversation with a coworker the other day got me thinking about ways to make our “noodling” a reality. We were trying to come up with a way to generate random music (defined by octave, step, and duration), while maintaining harmonic relevance. (In other words, we want to create music, not noise.)

We decided we should start with the following propositions:

  • limiting the tones to a pentatonic scale
  • limiting the octave range to that audible to humans
  • limiting the duration of tones to a maximum of one or two whole notes

Beyond that, the discussion turned to how to generate the random values. Since I have been reading about the history of Nonlinear Dynamics (chaos) lately, my first thought was, of course, to generate the values for octave, step and duration by using a set of non-linear equations. So, of course, the first choice would have to be the Lorenz “butterfly” equations .

So, the plan is to calculate the values, convert them to MIDI values and write them out to a file using Python. Since the outcome of the equations relies on the starting conditions (Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions – also called the “Butterfly Effect” ) we thought that we could use starting values such as the current Temperature, Barometric Pressure and Humidity, or perhaps Date, Time and processs number, or counting Buicks, Chevys and Fords in the parking lot. Pretty much any 3 starting numbers.

Feeling the itch to compose

April 25th, 2006 by sjan

While I have been incredibly busy at work and busy with other projects, I find that I am missing composing. So I think that it may be time to get back to working on music.

With that in mind, I will no doubt be giving a few of my favorite online tools a workout. For things like modifying samples I use the at thewhippingpost.co.uk quite a bit. For things like finding odball sounds to work with of course I turn to . When it comes time for percussion inspiration I go to for African rhythms and ‘s Middle Eastern Rhythms FAQ. I use Anvil Studio for creating bass, melody and spheres, and then pull them into TiMidity to convert them to sampled wav files. Now, if I could just find an online idea generator . . ..