Minimalist Beethoven

So… I wrote all that code for Toil and I thought it would be a waste if I didn’t do anything else with it! The idea was simple (a minimalist idea if you will), see what Beethoven’s 5th Symphony would sound like if he was a Minimalist Composer. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much I enjoyed making it!

Toil

Toil is a minimalist composition comprised of a single idea and a single rhythm. The single idea is transposed by a minor 3rd four times to create a {1,2} octatonic scale. Each of these transpositions represent a register of this scale. Then the base rhythm is doubled in duration to get a new rhythm 3 times to create a total of 4 rhythms that is then divided throughout the four voices. The registers and voices are then permutated to create all possible combinations of the rhythms and voices. Each of these permutations are distributed to a measure in the piece. All of this was accomplished through Java code.

Toil is meant to evoke emotions of unease and monotony. It only varies a little between each measure and the harmony is continuous thanks to the octatonic scale employed. It never resolves. It just ends. Much like how we toil day by day to never reach a resolution until one day we end.

Minuet No. 1

You knew it was coming and here it is! I can now write minuets of this exact form with only two prime tone rows! Will I become the most prolific minuet composer in existence? Stick around to find out!

Also, if you want to play around with this too, comment two prime tone rows and it might make it into the next minuet. I’ll even put a credit to you in the piece!

Minuet No. 0

Just a simple Minuet… Isn’t it so lovely? If you know anything about what I’m about, you’re probably asking, ” what is this? what’s the catch?” Well… you got me. there is a catch. This minuet was written with java code like parallel forms, so this is just a little taste of what’s to come! I just thought that I’d mix it up a bit and give something more baroque to show that I can do more than cause destruction lol.

Parallel Forms

I’ll be upfront with you on this one; this piece will bore you out of your mind. There is some topics of interest though pertaining to how this piece was written. I’ll save that for last though to keep you on the edge of your seat!

First let’s talk about the title of these works: “Parallel Form[0][0],” “Parallel Form[0][1],” and “Parallel Form[0][0] + Parallel Form[0][1].” At first glance you can see all of these work contain the title Parallel Form. That is just to help link them. The next thing you will see is “[0].” This first bracketed number is a variable you can assign differing forms. Since all of these works have “[0]” for their first assigned variable, these pieces are all of the same form.

The next number, “[0]” or “[1]” is in reference to the variation of the form. Here is where things get interesting. This second number can never be higher than 479,001,599. This means that there are a finite number of pieces that you could write in this form. why? Because an essential part of this form is that it is generated by a tone matrix and fixed within the fourth octave. This means that you could only choose 12 factorial (12!) different matrices for this form and because we counted 0 as a number, we have to subtract 1 from this number to correct this giving us the max number that a variation could be assigned.

Because these individual pieces are 65 seconds long, if you wanted to listen to all of the solo works of this form (0 – 479,001,559) you would have to listen nonstop for about 1,000 years! This is kind of scary if you think about it. This uninteresting form could drain you of 10 lifetimes if you dedicated yourself to listen to all of the variations. Imagine if it was actually interesting and was a longer piece! You could waste your whole life in this single form. I think a lesson that we can take from this is that we should be very careful of how we invest our time.

The most profound thing about this is it only took me a second to write. When I say a second, I mean literally 1 second (maybe less actually). I wrote the form of this piece with Java code. If we assume that it takes a second to generate a piece of this form, I could saturate you with 1000 years’ worth of content with 15 years of computing on an underpowered home personal computer. But enough statistics! I think you get the point. Let’s talk a bit more about how this piece was written.

So, as I said before I wrote these pieces using Java but that’s not the whole story. I’ll save you the details about my class files and jump to the meat of what I did. Basically, I wrote Java code to write an uncompressed Extensible Markup Language (XML) file. You are probably thinking, “why did you write code to write code? Isn’t that a bit redundant?” Well, that’s because Musescore 3.1 doesn’t accept java code, but it does accept uncompressed XML files. Also, I didn’t write the XML file directly because it is over 1000 lines long of code (that’s just one piece). My java code including classes was 360 lines total. The code that I actually used to generate the file was 53 lines long. This code prevents me from having to write over 1000 lines of XML code anytime I want a piece of this same form. (Which I don’t want another piece of this form, nor do I want to write 1000 lines of code for it lol). So once, I get the XML file all I did was open it up in MuseScore3.1 and made it look presentable for the video.

As an aside, isn’t there other things that we put most of our time in on a daily basis based on code to present new experiences in the same format? You know! Isn’t it called something like social media?

Deep Sea Soar

Deep Sea Soar is a theme and variation in the style of lo-fi hip-hop. I wrote this for a streamer to use on their opening screen while they were getting ready to stream their game.

The first section introduces the chord structure and is shortly followed by a bass line and a beat from a drum set. From here a guitar takes the lead and lays down the melody. The melody is then pick up by an electronic organ and the accompaniment is muffled to bring this out. The next instrument that take the melody is the bass guitar. This instrument cuts just a bit easer than the organ so the accompaniment jumps back up to support the bass. The final section is taken back to the organ except this time all attacks on the notes are removed and replaced with a glide.

Hope you enjoy this new mix!

Advedy

Not a whole lot to say about this one. I was just messing around with importing midi to make music that sounds like old video game music. The art is by yours truly too lol. This piece is called Advedy (short for adventure comedy or if you like a bit of adversity).

The structure is a simple A, B alternation ending with a coda. The A Section being more lyrical while the B contrasts with a punchy rhythmic support.

Indifference

Hello everyone! Its been a while but I hope you are all well! So, I posted on my Snapchat for people to send me suggestions on what I should write to collect ideas. The criteria was that it had to be a concept, idea, or emotion and my goal was to personify that with music. I got a couple of suggestions and indifference was one of them. Now, it took me a while to do this mainly because I had to scratch my original draft and idea.

The original idea was to take the definition on google and create a theme for each of the components of the definition with also doing this for a counter definition. By the end of it I had 6 themes written in Muscore to work with and I was going to structure the piece in Audacity. Lets just say Audacity isn’t the best for this, so I threw that idea out and started from square one.

After some more thought I came up with the idea to make a lofi hip hop beat. I was inspired by Chillcow’s livestream on youtube. By the way, if you haven’t heard of Chillcow go check out his stuff! It’s pretty great! But back on the topic of Indifference. This music genre seemed to fit the vibe I was going for. This music is commonly listened to in the background while you study or just chill, and incites a feeling of nostalgia and comfort. So, I went on to listen to a lot more of this music to get a good feel for it.

From here I picked up some wav. samples and started constructing the piece in Studio One. By the way, this process was far smoother in Studio One. So, often in this genre people will insert a clip of someone speaking and it usually constructs the idea of the piece and sometimes they even cut up this speech and use it throughout the piece. My equivalent was simply the screams that you will hear at the beginning with rain in the background. This symbolizes panic and disorganization at a critical event which I am sure that many can relate to at this current time.

From there, My idea was to have the music figuratively pan into a quiet living space. A space not directly affected by the outside. From here I simply built up a Lofi beat with chords, a base line, and a melody. All of this simply just stacks throughout the majority of the piece with the exception of the repeat of the melody in which the drums stop.

The beat, chords, base line, and melody were all created using midi. I also applied distorted effects, filtered out highs for a muffled-type sound, and added irregular pitch bends. Then, I applied a crackling fireplace under the music to simulate a record and Wha-la! The piece was complete!

I hope you enjoy listening to my first attempt of Lofi Hip Hop!