Archive for the ‘Global Perspectives.’ Category

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Practice Run #1

Posted: January 19, 2015 in Global Perspectives.

Today was the first practice run of the installation having needed to be adapted again. Tim is in America so we decided to try out a global interaction using Skype. The narrative of the installation is ‘Saving Our Solar System’.


There are 7 planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune. Audience members take the planets (in this case balloons) on an orbit around the sun after establishing there planet & astronaut ID to ‘Mission Control’. Mission control will be the Skype video conversation with Tim in America. Whilst on an orbit around the sun a musical improvisation will take place whilst ‘Mission Control’ will give fun facts about the relative orbiting planet. The music improvisation will come from me on the keyboard and Tim will use a guitar through Skype. Hopefully the inflatable planets will arrive in time for the final performance however there is another dress rehearsal on wednesday 21st jan. We will work on the script for the installation and set it up with more care for the dress rehearsal.

GP. Performance #2

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Global Perspectives.

Today I had forgotten to bring in the hardcopies of the planetary slides so I quickly drew up 3 of the suggested 8 for practice purposes. We explained to the group the choices they have to make and explained the rules of the game..

Choose a planetary slide (Key of improv)

Choose the style you would like to hear (Rock, Blues, Pop, Folk)

Choose who plays rhythm & who plays solo.

We explained that during the play you can change any of the above, however if you change too many in a short space of time like 10secs you will be met with a loud buzzer or a quick clip of the goat screaming viral video as a deterrent to keep ‘button bashing’. This was to create time in order for the jam to become something instead of constant changing o instruction turning into confused mess by the performers. Take a look at the first performance of this developed idea..

 We noticed that using this method above a melodic jam is easily possible. This is a successful result in terms of our original idea for the game play improvisation,  However whilst discussing the technicalities of the app and the time left before final project hand in we believe that the construction of the app might be too ambitious, reason being Tim and I don’t know anything substantial about MAX/MSP. We then discussed the possibilities of expanding the game into more of a interactive installation, keeping with the theme of space I came up with the idea of having the performers set up in the corner and a stand at one side of the room with a sign saying ‘place planet here’…

On the other side of the room, lined up, would be paper mache planets labeled with each musical key. Upon placing the planets on the indicated stand, it would light up and the performers would then improvise some music in the relevant key.

further ideas…

We discussed this development with our tutor and a few more ideas began to flow..

In the action of placing a planet on the stand we have stripped back the variety of options the participant had in the other game idea so we still keeping a space themed installation but will explore these ideas..

Upon walking into a darkened space themed room you will see a spiral of white tape on the floor and a row of planets at one side of the room. The small band stand will be in one corner and the light up stand with a sign saying ‘place planet here’  will be placed in the centre. On each planet there will be a small cue card with the option to hop, skip, dance or moonwalk around the tape on the floor.

An audience member will hopefully workout that they need to place a planet on the stand and when picking up the planet they will see the options of travel. Each choice of travel could represent a different style of playing as their movement and choice of planet will dictate a difference in the music they here.

Maybe as they are travelling through the orbit (spiral tape) the band could give three did you know facts over the improvisation about the planet they are holding before they place it on its relevant space away from the sun (centre) ?

GP. Development Session #2

Posted: November 28, 2014 in Global Perspectives.

27th Nov,

Looking back at last weeks session we decided we wanted to expand on the idea of a two player compositional game thats interactive with the audience. We want it to be musically and dynamically changeable and relatively easy enough for the beginner musician to get creative in jams in no time. Whilst playing the game last week we discovered the circle of fifths method of chord selection alone, would eventually randomly select a clashing chord progression.

 …Further Ideas,

For improving the graphics we like the idea of attaching each musical key to a planet and having the solar system as the visual representation on the interactive jam selection menu. We also liked the idea of the audience having the decision of what we play so we divided the play itself into three parts or choices..

  • The key of the music such as C, D, E, F, G, A, B,
  • The style in which the key is played like, Bluesy, Reggae, Country, Rock, Improv
  • The choice of which player plays the lead or rhythm

Before and during the performance these options can be changed but will have to be tried and tested after making the new slides. To help us visualise how it may look and because we don’t have access to max/msp at home, we made a paper mock up of the slides with the planets representing the keys, a list of the available chords in that specific key, and also the relative major/minor melody or lead options of the pentatonic version of that key

The controller or buttons will represent the three choices mentioned earlier and the next stage is to build the slides and visuals for the three choices

Due to other commitments the collaboration idea with Ash Hughes can’t go ahead. I will be expanding on my idea of game style improvisation using visual media as the triggers for change. I have started to experiment with Resoloom Avenue which is a software programme used for generating and manipulating graphics however after developing the idea of a cue card method, I have decided that Max/Msp will be able to provide me with exactly what i need.

The idea is to create a game were musicians can be prompted to change dynamics and musical key by a visual stimuli. The prompted change will be triggered by an audience member so that the musician can focus solely on the musical decisions. I also have invited another student Tim Miles on to the project as he is keen on the game idea.

Split Screen Improvising Game.. 

I had come up with a split screen method where two musicians can use the randomly selected images shown to symphonize an improvisation. These images would be basic shapes that represent the options in regards to where the improvisation can lead to within the boundaries of a chosen musical key. We spent about 2hours after todays project pitching session throwing ideas around, We talked about the different methods that musicians use when trying to come up with track ideas and Tim shown us an existing app called jam tracks..


I designed a few basic slides as if to be used as the images, here take a look. Slide10

Each shape would be on a separate slide and projected onto a screen so that the audience and the musicians could see. Notice the brief description of what each shape means in the key.. The screen would be split in two, left & right and a patch from Max/Msp would be able to generate the change between the images. The trigger can be anything from the space bar on a computer keyboard to a midi device button. A randomly selected image would be shown each side of the vertical split however not the same image on each side at the same time. for example


The musicians have the choice to play one of the chords or notes shown as letters inside each shape, however if the audience don’t like the improv jam they can press the trigger button to change the shape. These slides have been created using the circle of fifths. images

We decided to push on with the idea and went to see Aiden for some technical help. Within minutes we built a patch that could randomly generate a selection of chosen files.



Week 5’s session was aimed at looking at the future of music collaboration. In the age of technology, online platforms and are constantly being developed such as Skype, Here is some more information..


The ongoing issue that arises with live online jamming is latency however the ability to collaborate using an arrangement platform is here check out a free online platform where you can invite users to join in on the project.

We were split into two groups (A&B) then sent out to local areas to collect a bunch of field recordings. My group went into the local market place where there was an arcade game store with some retro consoles available to play. I paid for a few games on the original PacMan console and recorded the sounds from the speaker. We were instructed to bring back the recordings to start a collaboration project between group A&B in different rooms using the field recordings Ohmstudio.

Ohmstudio Brief. 


At the end of the session we were asked to go home and individually download and contribute something to the arrangement using the ohm studio software and field recordings. We were free to include our own samples so i added a kik drum and an amen break. As i was the first to sign in and attempt this brief i was able to set the project tempo and create this..




Immersive Improv Through Game Play.

My initial idea is to create a piece of improvised music around game play. Id like the piece to be fully immersive for the audience as well as the participant’s and i would also look into creating the game in a way that non-musicians could positively and creatively engage with. I originally thought of having 3 or 4 midi controllers all pre-set with some samples or loops. Then engaging the same midi controllers to some sort of visual stimuli via Max/MSP or Resoloom projection software to allow the participants to create an interactive musical/visual improvisation piece. Here is a visual sketch of how it might map out..

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Whilst sharing these ideas in the group we saw that my project idea and that of Ash Hughes is very similar and I’m excited to announce we will now be working in collaboration for this final brief project. Here are some of our ideas we discussed today..

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 We both agreed on the projection mapping idea and whilst discussing the ideas we thought instead of having the projection as a focal point screen at the back of the room, it would be much more immersive for the audience and or players if there was a box in the middle of the room where the projections could be projected from the out side. Maybe the audience or the participants could sit and play the game from inside the white box? We also discussed the possibility of using games console controllers for the music and visuals..

”Just thinking about sitting with a games controller in control of music and visual projections on to this immersive white sheeted room is pretty exciting…”

Now all we need to do is bring these ideas together for our first practice/troubleshooting session. Here is a little research of projection mapping and where i have seen these ideas before..





Upon looking how this is done, Resoloom software seems to be the way forward.

Improvisation (week 3/4)

Posted: October 31, 2014 in Global Perspectives.



This week were looking at improvisation techniques, minimalism and game systems for collaborative play. Steve Reich’s compositional works of the 60’s onwards explored extended technique and phasing through looping or repeating short melodies.

His piece called ‘Music for 18 musicians’ is a particular favourite of mine. A piece written for 18 musicians but with no conductor relies on the collaborative team work and communication whilst playing. The use of repetitive riffs relates to my love for rock and european hardcore techno music. A very catchy repetitive riff that changes only by one or two notes upon revolution to create a ‘phasing’ effect of hypnotic nature.

Upon cue or at the end of an 8bar section we would change the riff we played by one or two notes and collectively this made a track change in dynamics. I don’t have a recording of the efforts we made in practice but you can see other CSM students using the same methods here.

Here is a piece of work i have created inspired by Steve Riech’s ‘‘Music for 18 musicians” in the effort to try and create a phasing effect. Instead of changing the riff each time around i simply just subtracted a a very small amount of the riff before duplicating the edited riff.

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UpBeaT. (week 1/2)

Posted: October 31, 2014 in Global Perspectives.

For the start of the Global Perspectives module we took part in a two-part samba workshop. One of the points highlighted was about looking out for future prospects using our skills as a musician. We talked about how teaching is a great way to not only make a living but give back to the community in a way that proves to be rewarding. transparentsmall

..Whilst we were exploring Samba on the drums provided, we were learning about different methods of communicating instructions to a larger group. Music and rhythm theory is not easy to understand for the potential non-musician in the group however, using ‘game’ methods like cue cards, short infantile rhymes or instructional hand gestures can orchestrate the groups musical performance. This requires a level of confidence, planning and preparation to facilitate group sessions and an ability to create engaging sessions that fulfil your objectives to the best of your ability..


week 2

“Who wants a cuppa tea?” 

For the second week of Global Perspectives we were given a task to come up with a game style’ system that we could try and play some Samba with the group. The idea is that were trying to teach the made up Samba progression to possible non-musicians..


Above is an attempt to visually show what i had tried out with the group. If you could imagine a steady beat or click, 1, 2, 3, 4.. and keep this repeating in your head or tap your foot.. The four small red dots at the top of the image represent each count.

Now say out loud the sentences written in the pink bars above, try to visualise the rhythms that the keyed instruments would play.. Each syllable represents a strike or shake on the indicated instrument. Here is a Samba game!

(i don’t know the qualities of quavers/semi-quavers ect

Here is a link to some other games with music