S C O T T E R I C P E T E R S E N

Composer, electronic musician, improviser

Music V: Back to the Future

tech_of_comp_mus

In 1969 Max Mathews published The Technology of Computer Music in which he provides a  primer to digital sound and synthesis, describes the function of a computer music program, and provides a manual to the language he was describing, namely MUSIC V. It was to be the last MUSIC-N language he would write, and was the culmination of audio programming innovation that Mathews began in 1957 when he created the series of programs that formed MUSIC. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Code, Music, Phase 1, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , , , , ,

Experimental Musical Instrument Workshop @ MakeHaven

I am pleased to announce another experimental musical instrument workshop in New Haven, this time at MakeHaven (266 State Street New Haven CT.)  The event page is below.  From there you can RSVP if you are interested in coming!

http://www.makehaven.org/event/experimental-musical-instrument-workshop-part-i

Just in case you’re still not sold on the idea of whacky musical instruments, here’s a video of me “performing” on an Udderbot that I made at work today.

Filed under: Current Projects, El MuCo, Miscellany, Music, Phase 1

Batch Normalize and add Fades to Audio Files

norm_fade

A new project I have just started has had me editing a lot of relatively long audio files.  I have to cut them up separating the noise from the spoken word, normalize each file, and add fades to the beginning and end.  Then, I have to export them.  I was using Audacity, which is a great (though ugly) audio editor.  However, there are some problems with batch work in Audacity that ended cost me a lot of time and ultimately making it unsuitable for my purposes.  Finding no app for mac to quickly batch normalize, add fades, and save as a 48k/24-bit file, I decided I would bite the bullet and try to *assemble a bash script to do the tedious work for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Code, Music, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , , , ,

INI Workshop Prototype Instruments pt. 2

INI Prototype Instruments Pt. 2

INI Prototype Instruments Pt. 2

These are the last of the prototype instruments I designed for the INI instrument workshop which took place last Thursday at Artspace New Haven.  If you go to ininewhaven.com you can see some pictures and video from the event.  Turnout was great and everyone had a swell time making things to make noise.  We plan to give a series of instrument making workshops at MakeHaven (makehaven.org) in the new year so stay tuned.  We envision a 2-part workshop where we would make contact mics in part 1 and then make instruments in part 2.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: El MuCo, Music, Tutorial / How-to, , , , , ,

Four Pillars I

Four Pillars I
by scott eric petersen
jan – 2011

For live electronics (supercollider) and 4 channel audio.

This piece is the first of a series (still in progress) of pieces that explore feedback networks, interactivity (perceived) and aural serendipity. The recording below is one realization of the piece as each time the code is executed the results vary. It has also been modified from the original (for four channels) for stereo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Code, Music, , , , , , ,

Evolution 1 Series

I am pleased to present the first pieces recorded and produced in my recording studio. This set of pieces, Evolution 1a, 1b, and 1c were recorded over a period of 3 weeks. The works themselves are a blend of musical intuition (experience), planning, and chance. They are one-time creations and have not been edited. The basic premise of the series is an exploration of a single idea until another idea is introduced by chance. Each additional element is explored and either incorporated or discarded. The time scale and rate-of-change is extremely slow. Each piece employs extensive use of extended techniques.

Evolution 1a 14’44
Violin Improvisation – Bowed

Evolution 1b 9’10
Sequential Two-part Violin Improvisation – Plucked

Evolution 1c 15’09
Sequential Three-part Violin Improvisation – Scratched

Filed under: Music, , , ,

Love Local Design: video

Here is a great little animation Heather Strycharz did in After Effects. It promotes her new business and design concept Love Local Design. I did the little piano ditty. Check it out and check out her site!

Love Local Design from hstryk on Vimeo.

Filed under: Miscellany, Music, , ,

Electronic Music from “How Things Work” c.1970

On a recent outing to a local bookshop I encountered a 4 volume set of books titled “How Things Work.”  It is a wonderful compendium of knowledge in simple but not simplistic language with really great illustrations.  The four volumes cover everything from knitting to jet engines.  Naturally what caught my eye were all of the electronic devices and processes; everything from how tape recorders, phonographs, and records (LPs) are made and function to broadcast television and electronic music.  I here submit them to you for your enjoyment. The pages are available in two ways, a scanned pdf of the entire section and the individual pages as jpegs.  You can download the pdf from Scribd, and the jpegs you can download by clicking on them to bring up the image page.  Enjoy!

Here is the electronic music section (pg.s 202-214 in volume IV) as jpegs.

I have not researched the origins of the book, but they are obscure.  From a review on Amazon:

It is a 4 volume set, originally published in Germany or Switerzland around 1970. It was translated into English soon thereafter and is now out of print, but you can buy it used on EBay, or Amazon, or ABE Books.com.

A puzzling thing about the English edition of the book is that it does not include the name of the editor or author(s), nor does it include the publication or copyright date. Odd. The only name mentioned is the illustrator, R.J. Segalat.

In this case the reviewer is mistaken.  The illustrations were only “researched by” monsieur Segalat according to the forward of the English edition.  Any comments with information about these volumes are appreciated!

Filed under: Miscellany, Music, Phase 1, , , , ,

Holiday Jankotunes (Kidtunes) Sample Pack!!!

In the spirit of the holiday season, and to show all of you our fans how much you mean to us, El MuCo is giving away this free sample pack of Jankotunes magic!  Many hours of toilsome labour went into editing this massive sample pack (over 32 samples!!!) for your artistic edification and pure enjoyment.  We hope it will help you and the entire world find peace and joy this holiday season.

From El MuCo to you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Just some of the sample pack’s MANY attributes:

  • 922,916 bytes of sound!
  • Deluxe, virus free!
  • Easy-to-read file names!
  • No bothersome equal temperament!
  • With metadata!
  • 100% pure sound!
  • Official El MuCo Brand Merchandise!
  • Audio bit rate: 160000!  160000!
  • Totally underground!
  • Normalized!
  • Of the highest quality (not a cheap imitation!)
  • DC Removed!
  • Not really proprietary!
  • Hardware hardware hardware!
  • Real® mp3™ format℗!
  • Not guaranteed!
  • Totally audible!
  • Small!
  • Much, much more!

Download it now! (954kb)

If you have any questions or comments, please submit them to us in comment form. Thank you.

Filed under: El MuCo, Music, , , , , , , , , ,

Fun with Feedback (and SuperCollider)

You are not the only one, she loves it too!

A couple of weeks ago I posted some audio and code examples of a software matrix mixer I made with SuperCollider.  I thought a post going into some detail about feedback and how to code it may be of help to those new to the concept as a creative tool, or to using it within SuperCollider.  Lets first start with some basics of a feedback circuit.

The necessary components of a feedback system (the bare bones) are an input source (some sound, if only line-level hum) and an independent loop with a gain control.  Check out the diagram below.

diagram showing basic feedback circuit

The feedback loop can be accomplished in a number of ways.  If you have ever used a mic in an auditorium (or been to school for that matter) you have already probably experienced feedback in the form of a high-pitched squeal.  The microphone picks up your voice, is routed to a mixer, is amplified (gain) and played out the room speakers.  The sound coming out the speakers is then picked up by the mic in addition to your voice.  The squeal occurs when the amplitude of the input signal (your voice plus the amplified version coming back over the speakers) is loud enough that with each cycle the overall gain increases.  Cut the amplification out to the speakers and the squeal stops.  The quality of the feedback (the frequencies amplified) have to do with the microphone’s resonant frequencies in combination with a lot of other factors (room size and resonance, quality of the audio gear being used, whether the signal is balanced or unbalanced, matching or mismatched impedance, etc.)

In the mixer feedback post I did a couple weeks back, the input signal was the inherent noise of the analog mixer with gain applied at each stage of the 4-stage feedback loop.  In any analog system there is always noise present because of the nature of electrical circuits and the power required to make them work.  The same is not true for purely digital (software) feedback systems so some generated sound input signal is necessary.

Below is some very simple SuperCollider codez to demonstrate this simplest of feedback loops and a recording so you don’t have to run the code.  If you do run the code in SC, be careful when moving the mouse to the right of the screen.  As you approach 1, the feedback loop will become increasingly loud until at 1 and beyond, it becomes exponentially loud until things break.  (And by ‘things’ I mean your speakers and/or eardrums and/or the SC server :P)  In the recording below, i just move the mouse to the right to “max out” the feedback loop, then drop back after it maxes out.

Here is another version with a simple half-second delay built into the processing section.  Note that this rids us of the ear-piercing noise that occurred in the above example.  In the recording I’m moving the mouse to the right, then back and forth across the screen to make a more interesting texture.  I then just let it build up with the mouse all the way to the right.

The next two examples are of slightly more interesting feedback circuits.  In the first version I have fixed the gain at 1.1 so it the sound eventually reaches saturation and does not return.  I’ve removed the limiter and replaced it ‘.clip’ which squares off the wave form resulting in audible distortion of the signal.  I have also added a random line generator ‘speed’ to control some aspects of the sound, the resonant frequency of a low pass filter and the delay time.

Here is a version that uses the built-in mic and adds some cheesy panning.

While these samples are a few steps away from being art, they show the power of possibility lurking in feedback circuits.  The truth of synthesis is that, with a few exceptions, the more intricate (complex) a sound is, the more realistic and better it sounds.  Adding a feedback loop to a sound introduces a few more layers of complexity and can have beautiful as well as destructive results.

If you are interested in hearing some truly excellent feedback music, check out the work of David Tudor.  The complexity of his circuits is both astounding and elegant, and the sonic results are really fantastic.

Viva la feedback!

Filed under: Code, Music, Phase 1, SC3 - Code - Music - More, , , , , , ,

G O I N G S O N : L O C A L (ISH)

fritz Art of Fritz Horstman
kane Music of Brian Kane
fritz Hartford Phase Shift
fritz Hartford Sound Alliance
Lique Art of Philip Lique
Lique Music of Matt Sargeant
strycharz Art of Heather Strycharz
uncertainty Uncertainty Music Series

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Handmade instruments by Scott Petersen and Brian Kane at Artspace New Haven