30.11.13

Tangible Media



Amazing. Interact with objects without being in it’s presence, featuring Kinect, projectors and a complex 900 small motors system. I think this one is the next big thing in computer technology, more than 3D printing.

"inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table's surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance. inFORM is a step toward our vision of Radical Atoms: tangible.media.mit.edu/vision/

 More:
- Tangible Media Group
- Memolition article



28.11.13

Something clever almost every day


Francis Prève blog is a gold mine for beautiful Ableton Live Instruments built from biggest synths' samples.
He also made available Korg MS-20 samples for the excellent LiCk ChucK Library.

26.11.13

TDR FEEDBACK COMPRESSOR II


The best digital compressor out there (no analog emulation). It's FREE but nominated in the Plug-in: Processing section of Sound on Sound Awards 2014 alongside some very expensive plugins. Most modern compressors analyze the input signal to control gain reduction, using a “feed-forward” topology. TDR Feedback Compressor II, however, analyzes the output. This approach delivers an unobtrusive and highly musical compression characteristic. Some features are really cool: delta mode allows you to preview the difference between the compressed and original signals and you have independent release controls for Peak and RMS compression.  

Download TDR FEEDBACK COMPRESSOR II
Resound feature on best free plugins

20.11.13

A synth by Leonardo Da Vinci?



Viola Organista – an instrument credited as originally designed by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago - is actually a reconstruction of the instrument described as a ‘Geigenwerk/GeigenInstrument, oder GeigenClavicymbel’, in the second volume of Michael Praetorius’s Syntagma Musicum
Praetorius credits the instrument’s invention to Hans Haiden of Nuremberg.


"Stringed keyboard instruments have as their principal defects an inability, first, to sustain a tone indefinitely and, secondly, to alter the tone’s loudness once a key has been depressed. Various attempts have been made to build stringed instruments sounded by other means than plucking or striking—including vibrating the strings by blowing a current of air past them, as in the piano éolien of 1837. The most successful of these other instruments adopted the principle of the hurdy-gurdy—i.e., vibrating the strings by friction. 
An instrument of this kind appears in several diagrams in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Some apparently highly successful ones (none of which, unfortunately, has survived) were made by the Nürnberg builder Hans Haiden, who described them at length in pamphlets published in 1605 and 1610. These instruments had a series of rosined wheels that rubbed the strings when they were drawn against them by the action of the keys. According to Haiden, the instrument, which he called a Geigenwerck, was capable of recreating the sound of an ensemble of viols and produced sounds of different loudness, depending on the force with which the keys were depressed."

Regardless of who invented it, this beautiful instrument combines elements of the harpsichord, organ and viola da gamba. The performer pumps a pedal that turns a crankshart. When keys are depressed, turning wheels press against strings, creating the sound of a string ensemble. 
Oh yeah, a nice idea to implement the MIDI Note Off behavior in your next synth...

Sources:
- Sinthtopia
- Slipped Disc
- 'Keyboard Instrument' from Encyclopedia Britannica


15.11.13

Granulator II



One of the best synth out there, patched in MaxForLive by the famous electronic music geek Robert Henke aka Monolake. It's based on the principle of quasi-synchronous granular synthesis, originally developed by Barry Truax: a stream of grains with a varying period produces a non-periodic envelop; the sidebands are spread out in frequency and the spectral content is much more rich, resembling the output of a resonant filter. Very useful for quickly creating wonderful ambient-evolving pads from any audio source, file or live input.




13.11.13

Sir John Tavener 1944 - 2013



While Tavener's earliest music was influenced by Igor Stravinsky and Olivier Messiaen – often invoking the sound world of Stravinsky, in particular "Canticum Sacrum", and the ecstatic quality found in various works by Messiaen – his later music became more sparse, using wide registral space and was usually diatonically tonal. Tavener recognised Arvo Pärt as "a kindred spirit", and shared with him a common religious tradition and a fondness for textural transparency. Tavener's later music moved away from the transparent simplicity of the 1980s towards a much more harmonically saturated style, in parallel with his pan-religious interests. Such works as Atma Mass (2003) and Requiem (2008) show this particularly well.

theguardian - Sir John Tavener has died, aged 69


8.11.13

ChucK: A Computer Music Programming Language



ChucK is a computer music programming language by Ge Wang intended to provide a different approach, expressiveness, and thinking with respect to time and parallelism in audio programming - as well as a platform for precise and rapid experimentation.

ChucK free download
Ge Wang Ph.D. Dissertation on ChucK (wonderful free book)
The ChucK Book (work in progress)

See also: Codice per suonare


5.11.13

Another Seikilos' Song Performance



It seems that this old song (the oldest complete piece of music in history) is attracting a lot of attention lately. Compare this polyphonic lyre performance by Michael Levy with the one I posted some day ago
And if you want to try to play it, here is the score...


More sources:
- Neatorama
- The History Blog

4.11.13

Montanelli Monteverdi


"Nel 1643 le condizioni di salute di Monteverdi peggiorarono e nel novembre morì fra le braccia della Chiesa. I funerali furono celebrati, in forma solenne, a spese dello Stato. In un commosso panegirico, Paolo Piazza lo definì 'il maggior musico d'Europa'. Con lui il melodramma perse il suo primo grande maestro, e la Serenissima lo scettro di capitale dell'opera. Ma la nostra egemonia in questo campo era ormai irreversibile. Perché l'Italia non 'faceva' il melodramma. Lo era. E' difficile stabilire se il melodramma nacque in Italia perché gli italiani sono melodrammatici, o se gl'italiani sono melodrammatici grazie al melodramma. Comunque mai identificazione, fra una forma di teatro e un costume di vita, fu più perfetta. Tra quei fondali di cartapesta il nostro popolo riviveva gli unici eroismi di cui fosse ancora capace. Sull'esempio dei loro protagonisti imparò o ribadì la sua vocazione a urlare le proprie sventure, a piangersi addosso, a farla da 'mattatore' in mezzo alla scena. Ciò non toglie nulla alla grandezza di certi suoi capolavori. Ma nel suo insieme il melodramma è stato la dannazione degl'italiani, una corruzione del loro gusto, un adescamento a quanto c'è in noi di più retorico, falso, teatrale e grandiloquente. Esso diventò una seconda natura dell'italiano. E tuttora fa parte di un certo nostro bagaglio di gesti, di atteggiamenti e di mentalità."

Da "Storia d'Italia - L'Italia del Seicento", Indro Montanelli - Roberto Gervaso