Eclectic I

Friday, May 26, 2006

Technology Journal Week 11


Stephen Whittington – Ventures in vocoding and Distributed music performance

Stephen began studying music technology in the early 1970’s in the undergraduate music degree at Adelaide University. Throughout his studies and career within this field he has developed 4 key concepts that influence his creative output.

Key Concepts

-Globalisation of consciousness.
Through the ability to travel and communicate on a global scale, the human mind particularly in western civilisation is entering a global understanding. We are no longer limited to concerns and ideas of the immediate area around us, but the planet as a whole.

- Utterance
“Any human vocal sound including but not restricted to speech and speech like sounds. ” The aspect of this that he finds most interesting is when speech straddles the border between being interpretable and undefined. He has an ensuing appreciation of poetry. In particular the styles which are central to the way in words are spoken; such as the trans-national French Futurist language “Zaum.” His appreciation of Hip-Hop is in the same vein of thought.

“Hardware or software implementation of speech based compression algorithm.1” This is a furtherance of the previous key concept of utterance.
His first experiments in this began with using the analogue vocoder at
Adelaide University.

-Distributed music performance
“Musical performance where the performers are not in close proximity to each other.1” They could be in various locations in a large hall for example.

Examples of pieces which Stephen has used these key concepts.

X is Dead -1988

is a musical piece composed by Stephen as homage to Pierre Boulez; it was written for when Boulez came to Adelaide for the festival. It uses a recording of someone reading Boulez’s Essay “Shoenburg est mort” being played through speakers taped to the sound board of a piano while a pianist is playing a Shoenburg piano piece as soft as possible; thus creating vocodance through the sympathetic resonance of the words. I personally think that this is a brilliant idea and would love to experiment with it.

Music of the Spheres. - 2000

This piece made use of a ‘Max Patch’ that chopped up parts of text and “quotations from the book “Music of the Spheres” and then pasted them back together in a mostly grammatical correct form. This was in turn read out, generally by a computer generated voice whilst a ‘Just tuned piano’ played melodies over the top. It would have been interesting to hear some of the sentences produced, but I’m unsure of whether or not I would enjoy the sonic result.


This piece was played to the class. It was a ‘distributed music performance’ that used a ‘Max Patch’ that did the same thing as Music of the Spheres but used text from the ancient Chinese text ‘secret of the golden flower.’ It also made use of a prepared piano. I really enjoyed the aesthetic of the max patch and the vocoder that was used in collaboration with the accordion that was being played. However I fel the prepared piano took away from the feel of the piece.

Audio Arts

The recording of the classical singer “Jodie O’Regan” On the rode NTV in the dead room went very well. I really like that microphone!

Jodie O'Regan

Creative Computing

Further detail in the use of Pro Tools, in particular the “bounce to disk function.” I am grateful for the short cuts being taught in lesson.

Picture References (in order of appearance.)


#2 Universal Edition. "Pierre Boulez" composers. 2006. (26 May 2006).

# unkown. "photo's of and relating to Alban Berg." Arnold Shoenberg 2006. (26 March 2006).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Technology Journal week 10 Submission

Copyright laws presented by Robert.

Basic overview.

-Copyright is specific to a country.
-Music copyright is currently protected under the statute based copyright act established in 1968.
-It is Automatic; there is no registration needed. It protects works; musical an other, (including sound recordings.)
-It protects an expression but not an idea.
-Its duration lasts 70 years after the owner of the copyright has died.

Ownership and licensing

-Usually an author owns, but:
-An employer owns an employees work.
-Sound recordings belong to the maker unless commissioned.
-Copyright is a form of property (i.e. can be sold.)


-Copyright is infringed by doing, or authorising, any act against the owners’ rights without there permission.
-There must be a casual connection (e.g. there is proof.)
-It is qualative not quantative
-If the item that has been copied was done subconsciously, then copyright is still breached.

Exceptions to Infringement
Fair dealing. Some copying is deemed fair. Such as:

-Copying for research
-Criticism or review.

What is fair?
The purpose and character of use and the nature of the work dictate this. Currently the law states that it is illegal to
-Format or time shift.
-There can be no unauthorised copying even for personal non-commercial use.

This is set for some minor changes under the new legislation announced by Philip Ruddock. These are

-You can tape something only if you watch it once
-Format shifting from a legitimate copy is ok.
-Educational institutions have protection from prosecution.
-Changes made for the disabled community.

Moral rights:

-A right of attribution of authorship
-A right to not have authorship falsely attributed
-A right of integrity of authorship
-The rights apply to LDM and artistic works.
-Moral rights are personal and cannot be assigned
-Only people have moral rights
-The creator of a work maintains moral rights to it.

All of the above information was presented by Robert. See relating footnote

Overall this forum was quite informing even if a little “dry” at points (but what do you expect when it comes to law.) There are apparent holes in the copyright system and it is of know surprise that it evidently tends to come down to money, and artistic integrity is rarely an issue.

The examples of copyright infringement such as “The Heavy Crew” case, and the NIN and Ghostbusters mash up were both humorous and informative.

Sites to visit on Copyright laws in Australia.

Workshop with David Harris

Mr Bungle
Album: Mr Bungle 1991.
Love is a fist
Dead Goon
A have already had a large exposure to Mr Bungle and greatly appreciate the virtuosic musicianship displayed by all the members of the band and the dramatic shifts in mood and feeling. From scary ambience to crazy circus music to laid back funk. These guys can do it all. I wouldn’t recommend listening to nothing but Mr Bungle for a month strait, including going to sleep and waking up to it.


Album: Hyemen 1966-67
Song: Region 1.

Made use of recordings from a short wave radio in the country which were layered and slightly manipulated. I found it interesting to note that Stockhausen invented “moment form” (used in this piece) which influenced producer of Mr Bungle John Zohrn and indecently Mr Bungle adapted to their music. This is the sudden change of styles and ideas at irrational and unpredictable periods in the music.

My Bloody Valentine.
“To Here Knows when.”
There was an interesting texture of sound in this song. I enjoyed the layering of strings and synthesiser, but the piece dragged on a bit. I’m interested to here more of their music though.

Creative Computing
No lesson this week

Audio Arts
The information on vocal mic’ing proved useful in regards to my Audio Arts recording assignment.


*1 Wikipedia. “Statute.” 12 May 2006. (19 May 2006).

*2 Robert. “A very quick inro to music copyright stuff.” Lecture presented at university Adelaide 18 May 2006.

Picture References
(in order of appearance)

#1 Mr Bungle. "Album art" Bungle 2004. (19 May 2006).

#2 Mr Bungle "Images: Promo" Bungle 2004 (19 May 2006).

#3 Galerie T, Thomas Täubner, Suzanne Viktor, Rod Stasick and Alain Taquet. "LICHT-images - Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN at the turn of the millennium (1998-2004)" 2005. (19 May 2006).

#4 "Loveless -My Bloody Valentine." Amazon album catalogue. 2006. (19 May 2006).

#5 Jeff Birgbauer "To here knows web -My Bloody Valentine" 2006. (19 May 2006).

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Technology Journal week 9 Submission


Seb Tomczack

Honours Topic: Do It Yourself physical Interfaces

“An electrical connector is a device for joining electrical circuits together. In computing, an electrical connector can also be known as a physical interface.*1” The physical interface (P.I.) converts control voltage from a sensor into digital information. It is sent to a computer via USB. A program on the computer maps certain parameters for the information. This can be used for a wide variety of tasks. Converting the signal to sound for example.

There are currently two main models of P.I.’s available. The “Teleo*2” ($205)
and the “I-CubeX*3” ($385).
Each has its positive and negative attributes. Seeing this as an economically impractical option for the average hobbyist or people of low socio economic backgrounds, Seb aims “to create an economically efficient and practically viable model for physical to computer interactivity;*4” A DIY physical interface.

In addition to this, a free online resource containing information on how to assemble the interface, applications and patches, a musical interface, and documentation. A concert using the P.I. and musical interface will be performed by Seb at the end of the year.

I will be intrigued as to how the musical interface will work and also how the concert will sound. I am sure many people within and outside the musical domain will appreciate the availability of a cheap P.I. that Seb estimates at only costing $20.

Darren Curtis

Honours Topic: Frequency Medicine.

“According to Dr Alfred Tomatis,
the ear's first function in utero is to govern the growth of the rest of the physical organism. After birth, sound is to the nervous system what food is to our physical bodies: Food provides nourishment at the cellular level of the organism, and sound feeds us the electrical impulses that charge the neocortex.

In the realm of application-specific music and sound, psychoacoustically-designed soundtracks revolve around the following concepts and techniques:
• Intentionality (focused application for specific benefit)
• Resonance (tone)
• Entrainment (rhythm)
• Pattern Identification (active listening or passive hearing)
• Sonic Neurotechnologies (highly specialized sound processing)*5”

This is essentially the honours topic Darren has chosen. Through the study into these specific things he hopes to develop his own software package that applies these functions as a method of Sonic Healing.

I’ve heard of many applications of Frequency medicine and I’m very excited to see what Darren comes up with, as I believe it has great potential.

Workshop With David Harris

Christian Marclay*6

-Mixed together songs by various artists on the turntable using changes in tempo and major panning.

1. John Strauss
Was quite comical and light-hearted.

2. Jimmi Hendrix
Had some interesting sonic results at points.

3. Mariah Callas
Got a bit to repetitive and the extension on the one vocal note really got annoying.

4. John Cage
Was different from the other 3 as it was made from an amalgamation of sections taken from different Cage records. It had an enjoyable rhythmic pulse and the sounds were mixed in at very artistic levels making them very texturally enjoyable.

Pink Floyd

“Shine on you crazy diamond” from the “Wish you were here” album (1975)

Parts 1-4

The layering of sound used within this song is incredible. Even more incredible is the use of different synthesised, technologically produced, and acoustic instruments in conjunction, in such a creative manner.

Audio Arts

David Dowling and I put into practice the mic techniques being taught to us over the last couple of weeks. Obviously he is the one doing the impossibly insane guitar solo!

LD and DD

Creative Computing

The latest installation of my NIN remix turned out ok. The end needs a chill out drum beat though.

NIN Remix

*1 Wikipedia. “Electrical connector.” 27 April 2006. (11 May 2006).

*2 Making things “Teleo Tools.” 23 April 2006. (11 May 2006).

*3 I-CubeX. “I-CubeX” 1 March 2006. (11 May 2006).

*4 Seb, Tomczack. “DIY Physical Interface” Lecture presented at University of Adelaide, 11 May 2006.

*5 Joshua, Leeds. “Psychoacoustics” Sonic solutions for health, learning and productivity. 2001. (11 May 2006).

*6 Unknown. "Into" Christian Marclay. 2000 (11 May 2006).

Picture References
(in order of appearance)

#1 Making things “Teleo Tools.” 23 April 2006. (11 May 2006).

#2 I-CubeX. “System” I-CubeX. 1 March 2006. (11 May 2006).

#3 Tim, Wilson. "The Mystery of Listening." Persona 2006. (11 May 2006).

#4 Cameron Wittig. "Christian Marclay." Artist in Residence. 2004 (11 May 2006).

#5 "Wish you were here." Pink Floyd Catalogue. 2006 (11 May 2006).

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Technology Journal week 8 Submission


Tim Swalling -music technology honours student.
“Artificial life in the creation of music.*1”

“All the great artists have been great workers; inexhaustible not only in invention but also in rejecting, sifting, transferring, ordering.*2”

This quote was used by Tim to associate the organization and selection inherent to A-life with the real world.

“Genetic algorithms*3” which are synonymous to “Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection,*4” are the key component to 1 form of A-life in music. An example of this is previous forum speaker Gordon Monro.

“Cellular automata*5” is another model of selection used in A-life composition. The “ChaOs Synth*6” uses cellular automata for its granular synthesis.

Tim’s hope is through the analysis of these two types of A-life composition; he can combine the two methods and “Develop an environment in which sound creation is an integral component of the organisms that occupy it.*7” I respect this approach, as the processes used in A-life composition are quite often paramount to the actual aesthetic result. I feel this is flawed from a musical perspective and the sonic outcome should always have vital appeal in all composition.

Jasmin Ward– Music Technology honours student.

As part of a collective including Michael Yuen and Stephen Whittington, Jasmin has entered a competition entitled “Agent in Collaborative design.” The competition focused on promoting zero waste.

Using the “Barker Inlet Wetlands*8” as a compositional model; she has constructed a musique concrete piece that uses recordings of urban waste/noise pollution. The sounds are then filtered via various sonic processes as the piece progresses till the aesthetic outcome is a filtered “clean” sound.

An idea of Jasmin’s to further its public appeal is to use MIDI data and a Max MSP patch to convert the piece into an interactive sound installation. In this manner the effect of human behaviour on their surrounding environment becomes represented sonically. I think it is a very clever and unique idea. “The culture of interaction, if harnessed by schools can be a tremendous force in promoting learning.*8” In this sense I think Jasmin’s “project could be used most effectively to promote its zero waste ideal.

Workshop with David Harris

Led Zeplin’s “whole lotta love” from the album “Led Zeplin 2” (1970)

This song uses a theremin in its “solo” section. It creates vast sweeps (glissandos) of sound which create quite an complex and enjoyable texture.

Pink Floyd’s “Bike” from the album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1968)

This song begins in a typical pop format but develops into musique concrete at the end of it. There is some quite impressive use layering and texture

Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” from the album “Dark Side of the Moon.” (1978)

This song uses a VCS3 to great affect. Its use helps paint a distinctive sonic sound scape.

Frank Zappa’s “Mr Green Jeans” from the album “Unkle Meat” (1963)

The unusual ensemble of this song was used in a rhythmically slow manner emphasising the strange contents of the lyrics. It was enjoyable to listen to.

Pierre Heny’s Musique concrete piece “Viola d’Orpheus” (1953)

This piece was unique in the sense that it actually used recordings of instruments rather then just strait sounds common to musique concrete. It was also a lot more aesthetically pleasing then most because the sonic result resembled that of a well thought out sound-scape.

Creative Computing

Use of features within the Edit windows of Pro Tools for audio sequencing, automation and “colourisation” was the focus of this lesson. It is helpful to be relearning things from last year.

Applying these things to the Re-mixing of the “NIN” song “Only” was an enjoyable project.

Nin Remix

Audio Arts

Microphone use was focus of this lesson. I found it useful to obtain information on what microphones are good to use for certain instruments. I also valued the advice of experimentation. Using a microphone that isn’t typical to produce a certain aesthetic outcome.

*1 Tim, Swalling. “Bringing Music to A-Life” Lecture presented at university Adelaide 4 May 2006.

*2Friedrich, Nietzsche. Human, All Too Human. Trans. R.J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge university Press, 1996) 83.

*3 Wikipedia “Genetic Algorithms” 23 April 2006. (5 May 2006).

*4 Wikipedia “Natural Selection” 4 May 2006. (5 May 2006).

*5 Wikipedia “Cellular automaton” 20 April 2006 ( 5 May 2006).

*6 Digital Music Online. “Chaos synth – a cellular automata-based granular synthesiser” Digital Music Online tutorials on computer music. (5 May 2006).

*7 Tim, Swalling. “Bringing Music to A-Life: Artificial Life in the Creation of Music.” Lecture notes from University of Adelaide 4 May 2006.

*8 Postcards. “Barker Inlet Wetlands: Adelaide Coast Region of South Australia” Postcards online 2006. (5 May 2006).

*9 Don Tapscott. “Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation” Meridian a middle school computer technologies journal 1998 (5 May 2006).

Picture References (In order of appearance) "Whole lotta love" Led Zeplin catalogue. 2006. (6 May 2006). "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" Pink Floyd catalogue. 2006. (6 May 2006). "Dark Side of the Moon." Pink Floyd catalogue. 2006. (6 May 2006). "Uncle Meat." Frank Zappa catalogue. 2006. (6 May 2006).

Charles T. Downey. "New Work by Pierre Henry." 23 March 2005. (6 May 2006).