October 27, 2010
Now why would my first Pd project be an object to generate the infinity series?
First of all: There are a lot of great abstractions and patches available in the PureData community, the community seems to consist of great coders and musicians. So it has to be something special, not to reinvent something that has already been done.
Second: I use it alle the time. Every time i need some kind of rhytmic or thematic structure, I turn to the infinity series. I have done so in all my works, and I see no reason to stop. There are some qualities in this series, that makes it the same and unique at the same time – and these qualities are something a lot of composers like.
Third: It really deserves to be recognized as one of the great findings of the 20th century. Nørgård said that he found it, not invented it, and by saying that he somehow – in my view – anticipated the Open Source movement.
When I was a young composer, I was often told that my music sounded like Nørgårds. It made no sense for me at that time, but looking back at my earlier works, I know what they mean. I used pure harmonics and infinity series – but never golden rhythm or “tone lakes” (two other techniques by Nørgård). And I really sucked as instrumentator, it really did not interest me at all.
This is how it looks, the first 128 numbes, written as notes:
Numers 0, 2, 4… makes the same series, inverted.
Numbers 1, 3, 5… makes the same seris, transposed.
Numbers 0, 3, 7, 11… makes identical series – as does every 16th, every 64th etc.
There are a lot more to say about this series. Jørgen Mortensen, danish music reseacher and composer, made a great website with a lot of info, it can be found at web.archive.org.
Also some info in the Sloan (OEIS, On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences).
October 26, 2010
Until now I have rarely contributed back to the OSS. Small things for Zope and Plone, and some translations for FreeMind and MySQL. But nothing in the music area, though I have used free and open source music software since someone came up with the concept of Open Source.
Now this is changing. I have decided to use PureData as my main tool, my musical hammer and welding machine. I have tried others, and I will tell why I ended up with Pd.
Csound: Could not get it to work. Really tried, but the debian packages did not work, CsoundAPI was wrong version, Blue was wrong version, Java was wrong version. Or I was wrong version, I don’t really know. Tried to compile everything from source in several combinations, it just did not work. Csound is working, but I need to be able to interact in real time through some GUI, and I simply couldn’t get that to work.
SuperCollider: A tool that looks so promising, but the learning curve seems too steep. Documentation is really not much of a help; it seems written from a programmers point of view and not from a musicians. I understand why, but I really cannot read it; it hits something in my brain that makes my eyes want to look somewhere else. Sorry. I like the project, Smalltalk and music is a nice combination.
Processing: Not fast enough.
Pd: Ok, I did Max back in the 90s, so Pd is easy for me. Back then I spend a lot of time doing my own externals on a Mac, and it was a real pain. Today I did one, using the brilliant Code::Blocks and the tutorial by johannes m zmölnig, and it took me half an hour to make the HelloWorld external say “Hello World!” to me. Two more hours and I had a unit that can produce Per Nørgårds Infinity Series … forever. Well, not forever, its only 32 bit ints. Works like a charm.
More about Per Nørgårds Infinity Series in a later post. It’s the best thing since well tempered scales – in fact, it’s a lot better.