Eclectic I

Friday, March 17, 2006

Technology Journal week 3 Submission

Technology Forum Speaker -Gordon Monro

Born on the 9th of August 1946 , Monro originally hails from a background in Science and Mathematics.*1 After attending a music technology camp in Sydney in 1989, Gordon developed his interest in the field. His interest was then encouraged and enhanced when he met and subsequently helped Ian Fredericks with a mathematical problem he was having with moving sound around in space.*2 From there he became affiliated with and then started studying music composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

For his Graduate Diploma in Composition, Monro constructed a real time video piece which utilised the reflection of laser light against mirrors. The light was then read as wattage and then via a Voltage to MIDI converter was used to control a granular synthesiser via the MIDI information. A camera recorded the effect of the red laser lights against the mirrors and a microphone recorded the granular synthesis via a DAT recorder. The final piece was the video with the backing of the recorded granular synthesis.

His latest composition is an audio visual piece entitled “evochord,” which uses what he describes as a “basic” algorithm.*4 The algorithm is designed to reject the 2 most dissonant sounds within the chord and then to mutate to find more harmonious sounds. Because some of the higher frequencies have been excluded from the “gene pool” this is fundamentally flawed The program is deliberately fundamentally flawed to keep itself from succeeding in this process, as to keep an interesting aesthetic of sound. The low, mid and high frequencies are represented by Red Green and blue squares which form a hexagonal shape. The speed of mutation is gauged by the movement of the squares within the hexagon.

He has done various other interesting things within the field of music technology, one of which being a co-organiser of the annual Australasia Computer Music Conferences.*5 Although I didn’t find him to be as inspiring as the last two speakers, I respect his contribution to the field of music technology and he has sparked my interest in algorithms.

Workshop with David Harris

This basically involved listening to two experimental pieces of music. Glen Branca’s*6 3rd Symphony and a sound poetry piece by composer Robert Ashley.*7 While both pieces were textured and quite interesting, I found Branca’s symphony astounding. The tones he created within the piece left me captivated.

Robert Ashley’s piece was a tape composition of him doing spoken work and then spicing the words back together at interesting intervals.

Blanca’s piece was 7 guitars being played with bows and 6 keyboards with strange tunings as to access 128 notes of the overtone series.*8 The result is a series of complex harmonies creating psycho-acoustically awesome beatings.

Audio Arts
This week covered the patch bays within studio 2. Old patch bays were handed around the class for a visual understanding of the system and a basic theory behind the type of patch bay connection used in studio 2 (Semi Normalised) and the other types of connections available. We were advised once more to go into the studio within our own time and gain a “hands on” understanding of how the patch bay worked. Ben Probert, and I ended up working as a team for this which worked really well. I feel I gained a much better understanding of the studio patch bay working with him, then if I had tried to figure it all out by myself.

Creative Computing

This lesson covered the theory behind sound files. More specifically the types of sound files available and the structure of them, (Namely the Header and the Source) were explained. The reading material set for this week was similar to last week in the way that it was particularly advanced, but there were still some interesting sections relating to Wave formats and types of compression.


*1 Monro, Gordon. “Australian Composer Biography” Gordon Monro. 2005. (17 March 2006).

*2 Monro, Gordon “Gordon Monro Biographical” Gordon Monro Informal Biographical Information. January 2005. (17 March 2006).

*3 Gordon, Monro. “various musical works by Gordon Monro” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 16 March 2006.

*4 Wikipedia free encyclopedia “Algorithm” Wikipedia. 16 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

*5 Monro, Gordon. “Australian Composer Biography” Gordon Monro. 15 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

*6 Gagne, Cole. “Branca, Glen.” Grove Music Online. 2006.§ion=music.42732 (18 March 2006).

*7 James, Richard. S. “Ashley, Robert.” Grove Music Online. 2006. (18 March 2006).

*8 Wikipedia. “Harmonic Series” Description of the harmonic series. 14 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

Picture References
(In order of appearance.)

#1 Gordon, Monroe. "Australian Composer Biography." Gordon Monroe Electronic Art and music. 14 March 2006. (18 March 2006).

#2 Joanne, Savio. "Robert Ashley." Lovely catalogue. 2006. (26 May 2006).

#3 Wild, Don, Lewis. "Glen Branca." 29 March 2006. (26 May 2006).


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