27.3.14

Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists aka Chuck 101 video lessons


UPDATED 07/01/2015

Due to the many requests from friends and colleagues, the mythical Coursera/Calarts Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists (aka ChucK 101) course video lessons can be downloaded below.

DOWNLOAD [DEAD LINK]



Download is offered for educational purposes and I do not have any permission to make these files available. If someone feels offended in any way, please drop a comment below and I will immediately remove the download link.



This course is one of the best introductions to electronic music composition (in addition to programming) I've ever seen. The teachers involved are kind of rockstars in the field: Ge Wang is the creator of ChucK and Smule, Perry Cook is a guru of computer music. A bit as Einstein and Bohr had done an online course in theoretical physics.

The best way to take advantage of this course is to follow along with the official textbook, which exemplifies and explores topics while maintaining the same course structure.
Have a nice trip!




22.3.14

An intro to Eurorack modular synthesizers



"This article is intended to clear up some of the foggy entry points to Eurorack and make it a lot easier for people to get the systems they want at an affordable price."

18.3.14

CDP Composer Desktop Project Free Download


CDP has always been a sort of mythological being for those interested in electroacoustic music.
After nearly 27 years of development, CDP is offering the CDP-Wishart sound transformation and editing functions as a free download.


14.3.14

10 Great Selfies of the Past

"Selfie" was Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2013. Defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website", is used today by celebrities to promote themselves (or to promote products/warm bodies) and by ordinary people to satisfy the perverse sense of narcissism inherent in the human being. 
Some say the selfie is a revolution against the camera's tyranny, because it puts the person being photographed in control of the photograph, and in this sense it is an art of freedom. 
And speaking of art, in fact the self-portrait is an ancient art form and it has always been functional in some way to self-promotion and narcissism.
Let's see the best selfies of the past, when brushes and palettes were used in place of smartphones and social media was churches, courts or exhibitions.

Botticelli - "Adorazione dei Magi", 1475 (detail)
In the fifteenth century artists was rockstars in their society. They were often in competition with each other, always very worried to be replaced in the good graces of the client by new talents. The self-portrait, often added in a great work, is a small (or large) narcissistic revenge to remain in the memory of posterity.
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, aka Sandro Botticelli, made a wonderful selfie in the "Adorazione dei Magi".


(Probably) Leonardo - "Autoritratto di Acerenza",
second half of the XV century
The mysterious "Autoritratto di Acerenza" was found in late 2008 by the historian Nicola Barbatelli.
After 5 years, the scientific and technical studies, supplemented by historical-artistic ones, are now definitely orienting the scholars toward a convinced attribution of the work to the hand of another rockstar painter, Leonardo Da Vinci.
The painting shows the artist at the age of 50. Those who have already had the opportunity to see the painting up close claims it is very beautiful, with an almost magnetic charm. To corroborate the hypothesis of the selfie, would also be present on the back the term "PINXIT MEA" ('painted by me') written in reverse, one of the marks typical of Leonardo.


Rembrandt - "Self-Portrait", 1629
The dozens of self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre. This is one of the first, he was 23, and it really seems that his facial expression is ready to his twitter followers...
Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self-portraits during his lifetime including approximately fifty paintings, thirty-two etchings and seven drawings. The self-portraits create a visual diary of the artist over a span of forty years.


Diego Velazquez - "Las Meninas", 1656
One of the greatest masterpieces of all time (and perhaps my favorite painting ever). Velasquez made a selfie at work.
Michel Foucault wrote an interpretation of this masterpiece in the introduction to his book "Les Mots et les choses", focusing on the aspect that exhibits the first signs of a new episteme in European art: in a fabulous game of mirrors, the audience becomes the main figure of the painting, while the real heart of the art of representation is barely represented. "The necessary disappearance of the person to whom it resembles and the person in whose eyes is only a resemblance."


Gustave Courbet - "Self-portrait (The Desperate Man)", c. 1843–1845
Another great mirror game by Courbet. In his own words: "imagination in art consists in knowing how to find the most complete expression of an existing thing, but never in supposing this thing or create it." Nevertheless, perhaps because of the technical perfection of this selfie, the mad desperation does not seem an existing thing.


Arnold Böcklin - "Self-Portrait with
Death Playing the Fiddle", 1872
Böcklin was one of the most famous exponents of the Nordic symbolist painting that is rooted in the romantic tendencies of the early nineteenth century. To quote his own words: "A painting should tell us something, suggest the viewer like a poem, and let him feel like a piece of music."


Vincent Van Gogh - "Self-portrait", 1889
Van Gogh also created many self-portraits during his lifetime. Most probably, his self-portraits are depicting the face as it appeared in the mirror he used to reproduce his face, so his right side in the image is in reality the left side of his face. 
I love this selfie, painted in Saint-Rémy less than a year before his death, especially for its typical trademark background pattern, which always gives me a sense of anguish.


M. C. Escher - "Hand with Reflecting Sphere", 1935
Escher loved reflective spheres. Selfies in reflective, spherical surfaces are common in his work. Probably this one is the most prominent and famous example. In much of his selfies of this type, Escher is in the act of drawing the sphere, whereas in this image he is seated and gazing into it. On the walls there are several framed pictures, one of which appears to be of an Indonesian shadow puppet.


Francis Bacon - "Self-portrait 1971", 1971
"Francis Bacon's painting is of a very special violence. Bacon, to be sure, often traffics in the violence of a depicted scene: spectacles of horror, crucifixions, prostheses and mutilations, monsters. But these are overly facile detours, detours that the artist himself judges severely and condemns in his work. What directly interests him is a violence that is involved only with color and line: the violence of a sensation (and not of a representation), a static or potential violence, a violence of reaction and expression."


Andy Wharol - "Self-portrait 1964", 1964
And finally we approach the social (and aesthetic) sense of today selfies, with the inventor of Pop Art and '15 minutes of fame'. Warhol made selfies on many occasions throughout his entire life. They were part of his self promotional nature that made his deadpan face and trademark white wig as famous as many of the celebrities he painted.

The next time you will post a selfie, remember that you are epigones of a long social and artistic tradition.

Update by the Prof:

 Albrecht Dürer - "Self-Portrait", 1500

Artemisia Gentileschi - "Autoritratto come martire", 1615

Michelangelo - "Il Giudizio Universale", 1536-1541





8.3.14

The Science of Sample Rates


"One of the most hotly – and perhaps unnecessarily – debated topics in the world of audio is the one that surrounds digital sample rates. It seems an unlikely topic for polarization, but for more than 10 years, the same tired arguments have been batted about by each side with almost unrelenting intensity. At the fringes, advocates of either side have often dug deeper trenches of faith for themselves. But as much as that’s the case, there’s also a growing consensus among designers and users who have a firm understanding of digital audio. Namely, that there are perfectly good reasons for sticking with the current professional and consumer standards of 44.1 and 48 kHz for recording and playback – and some valid arguments for moving up to slightly higher sample rates, such as 60, 88.2 or even as high as 96 kHz. What seems to have less informed support is the push to ultra-high sample rates like 192kHz. We’ll explore the arguments on both sides of the major questions around sample rates and try to find out where each faction has got it right – and where they may be missing some crucial information."

The Science of Sample Rates (When Higher Is Better — And When It Isn’t) By JUSTIN COLLETTI

3.3.14

Michel Chion free PDF download


"Bonjour,
 
J'ai le plaisir de vous informer que trois de mes livres devenus introuvables se trouvent maintenant accessibles par téléchargement gratuit sur mon site Internet michelchion.com, dans la version française originale.
 
Ce sont respectivement, en remontant le temps, LE COMPLEXE DE CYRANO, La Langue parlée dans les films français (2008, ici augmenté d'une postface), LE PROMENEUR ECOUTANT, essais d'acoulogie (1993, ici dans une édition complétée en 2009 par des textes plus récents), et LE GUIDE DES OBJETS SONORES, Pierre Schaeffer et la Recherche Musicale (paru en 1983 et qui avait déjà été mis en ligne en traduction anglaise par John Dack et Christine North).
 
Je remercie les différentes personnes qui ont contribué de façon désintéressée à cette mise à disposition.
 
J'aurais préféré bien sûr que les éditeurs ou co-éditeurs de ces essais fassent leur travail, et qu'ils assurent la distribution et la vente des trois ouvrages comme les y engageaient les contrats, mais mes démarches par lettres recommandées auprès d'eux sont restées vaines.
 
D'autres de mes livres sont également devenus introuvables (notamment ceux que j'ai consacrés dans les années 70-80 à la musique électroacoustique, mais aussi mon essai de 1982 LA VOIX AU CINEMA), et j'étudie pour eux des formules de réédition gratuite ou payante, sur papier ou en ligne.
 
Merci de diffuser cette annonce aussi largement que possible vers les personnes intéressées: chercheurs, étudiants, professionnels, proches, amis....
 
Michel Chion, 28 février 2014"



2.3.14

The Haas Effect




The "Haas effect" derives from a 1951 paper by Helmut Haas. Haas examined how the perception of speech is affected in the presence of a single, coherent sound reflection. Haas found that humans localize sound sources in the direction of the first arriving sound despite the presence of a single reflection from a different direction. A single auditory event is perceived. A reflection arriving later than 1 ms after the direct sound increases the perceived level and spaciousness (more precisely the perceived width of the sound source). A single reflection arriving within 5 to 30 ms can be up to 10 dB louder than the direct sound without being perceived as a secondary auditory event (echo). 


Hello Vocoder