Author Topic: Algorithmic Composition Programs  (Read 2931 times)

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Offline Polednice

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Algorithmic Composition Programs
« on: May 16, 2012, 03:50:50 PM »
Does anybody have any good experiences with any audio synthesis programs?

I've tried things like Csound, SuperCollider, and Pure Data, which are all great in principle, but the manuals are completely dire for someone who has no programming knowledge, which I don't. I need something with the same capabilities that has either a) an intuitive graphical interface or b) a glossary of all the input terms (you'd think this would be compulsory!) and a manual written for dummies without a great deal of presupposed acoustics knowledge.

I'll be surprised if anyone has experience with this stuff, but it's worth a try!

Offline petrarch

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 04:54:20 AM »
Does anybody have any good experiences with any audio synthesis programs?

I've tried things like Csound, SuperCollider, and Pure Data, which are all great in principle, but the manuals are completely dire for someone who has no programming knowledge, which I don't. I need something with the same capabilities that has either a) an intuitive graphical interface or b) a glossary of all the input terms (you'd think this would be compulsory!) and a manual written for dummies without a great deal of presupposed acoustics knowledge.

I'll be surprised if anyone has experience with this stuff, but it's worth a try!

The 3 you listed are quite good, though they do have a learning curve. Have you tried Native Instruments' Reaktor? It has that graphical way of building instruments, but you don't necessary have to mess with it since it has a ton of ready-made instruments.

Also, I wouldn't call them "algorithmic composition" programs, but that's another topic... What are you looking to get out of this kind of music software?
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline Polednice

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 06:04:48 AM »
The 3 you listed are quite good, though they do have a learning curve. Have you tried Native Instruments' Reaktor? It has that graphical way of building instruments, but you don't necessary have to mess with it since it has a ton of ready-made instruments.

Also, I wouldn't call them "algorithmic composition" programs, but that's another topic... What are you looking to get out of this kind of music software?

Yes, I know the label I used doesn't really fit, though they are capable of algorithmic composition - I don't know what the general terminology is; that's just a label I stumbled across in my searches.

I see that there's a free version of Reaktor that I'll give a go, although I managed to stumble on what looks like a very promising, lengthy tutorial for Pure Data - finding these things just takes perseverance!

Thanks for the advice. :)

Offline rickardg

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2012, 06:29:30 AM »
If you don't mind learning Scheme (which is about as simple as programming languages come) there is always impromptu (warning: autoplay audio).

Here's a random example video of live coding with impromptu (music starts a about 2 min): http://vimeo.com/2433947 (Couldn't get the embedded flash to work...)

Offline petrarch

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2012, 06:30:05 AM »
Yes, I know the label I used doesn't really fit, though they are capable of algorithmic composition - I don't know what the general terminology is; that's just a label I stumbled across in my searches.

I see that there's a free version of Reaktor that I'll give a go, although I managed to stumble on what looks like a very promising, lengthy tutorial for Pure Data - finding these things just takes perseverance!

Thanks for the advice. :)

Miller Puckette (the creator of Pure Data) has an online book with plenty of good material: The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music. He was also the co-creator of Max/MSP, so any advice and guidance for it generally also applies to Pure Data.

If you are still interested in pursuing Csound or SuperCollider, I can point you to good bibliography on the subject.

The generic label is 'computer music', which will probably work as good search keywords in your exploration.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline petrarch

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2012, 06:34:34 AM »
If you don't mind learning Scheme (which is about as simple as programming languages come) there is always impromptu (warning: autoplay audio).

Here's a random example video of live coding with impromptu (music starts a about 2 min): http://vimeo.com/2433947 (Couldn't get the embedded flash to work...)

I have checked Impromptu in the past (I personally love the piece you linked to and how he produced an algorithmic version of the Köln Concert :)). But Polednice was specifically asking for a tool that doesn't focus on the programming aspect.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline rickardg

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2012, 09:37:20 AM »
I have checked Impromptu in the past (I personally love the piece you linked to and how he produced an algorithmic version of the Köln Concert :)). But Polednice was specifically asking for a tool that doesn't focus on the programming aspect.

Oops, that's what you get for only reading the subject of the thread before posting, sorry for the noise.

Anyway, any excuse for linking the "Study in Keith" video (which wasn't particularly randomly chosen) is a good excuse.

I'd love to play more with algorithmic music, when I studied computer science we once had a lab where you were given a chord progression and a melody and were supposed to generate an accompaniment (simple rules of thumb were handed out by the teacher so no knowledge of music theory was needed), one of the most enjoyable labs I had.

Offline Polednice

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 09:48:14 AM »
If you are still interested in pursuing Csound or SuperCollider, I can point you to good bibliography on the subject.

The generic label is 'computer music', which will probably work as good search keywords in your exploration.

I've given up on Pure Data because I don't think its interface actually offers that much of a simplification over its text-based brothers and sisters. I'm still fiddling about with Csound and SuperCollider - if you could point me to a bibliography, that'd be really helpful. :)

Do you have a preferred program, by the way?

Offline petrarch

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 10:26:59 AM »
I've given up on Pure Data because I don't think its interface actually offers that much of a simplification over its text-based brothers and sisters. I'm still fiddling about with Csound and SuperCollider - if you could point me to a bibliography, that'd be really helpful. :)

Do you have a preferred program, by the way?

If I had to choose one, it would probably be Csound. I have played with Pure Data on and off since the mid or late 90s, but it is tough to get results with the same sound quality as with Csound. I have only started playing with SuperCollider a couple of years ago but haven't dedicated a whole lot of time to it yet.

As for bibliography, the specialized titles I would recommend are:
Richard Boulanger (ed), The Csound Book: http://www.csounds.com/shop/csound-book
Richard Boulanger (ed), The Csound Catalog: http://www.csounds.com/shop/csound-catalog
Scott Wilson et al (eds), The SuperCollider Book: http://www.supercolliderbook.net
David Cottle, Computer Music with examples in SuperCollider 3: http://ecmc.rochester.edu/adv/CottleSC3.pdf (the author will send you an updated version of the pdf if you contact him directly)

If you want a good foundation to learn all the concepts, I would recommend:
Curtis Roads, Computer Music Tutorial: http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=8218
Dodge and Jerse, Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition, and Performance: http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Music-Synthesis-Composition-Performance/dp/0028646827

Hope this helps.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline Polednice

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Re: Algorithmic Composition Programs
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 01:48:51 PM »
Thanks for all your suggestions. :)