Computer-Music.com contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com

Computer-Music.com  contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music.
Computer-Music.com is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com



 

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... But Need Not Be More Difficult...

A few years ago I took a stab at designing an algorithmic music engine and some content for it. It got a good review because it did sound like real music but I can tell you it was nowhere near as good as what I can do when I am in control of all the notes. Back then I had to work under the severe restriction of using MidPak which, although a competent product, was the least appropriate for the task at hand. I had to design the whole thing to determine which individual tiny MIDI file would be played in which order without the possibility of layering or controlling volumes on individual tracks. The result was a script that controlled which category of MIDI file was next in line and allowed the program to pick randomly from a small pool to determine which particular version got played. This scheme demanded that the individual MIDI files be extremely simple and universal in nature. That was a trying experience but it did leave me with a wish list of features that an interactive music composition tool should have. Recently I spent some time with Microsoft DirectMusic Producer. It pretty much fulfilled my wish list and, in fact, functions in a manner similar to what I did a few years ago only with much greater complexity. While this kind of tool can give a composer almost limitless freedom to design interactive music it also transforms his task into one of much greater complexity. Anyone who can compose well with such a tool is deserving of a title different than composer because being a composer alone cannot prepare you for this whole new way of looking at music.

A linear music composer can hear his music from beginning to end and be sure that everything sounds correct. With interactive composition this may not be possible unless there are only a few possibilities. With interactive music you can easily create millions of possibilities and there is no way to listen to all of them. For this reason composing for interactivity is becoming much more like the job of programmer since they too must allow for many possibilities without the ability to check them all out personally. Because of this an interactive composer must be able to understand the fundamental concepts behind musical composition so that he can predict how the components he is creating will interact in any situation. This turns musical composition into a logical process of determining which components are necessary to achieve a goal. The artistic side of this process is in determining the goals, the method of achieving these goals, the necessary components, and the component design. The job of the good composer has always been one of applying good taste to a technical task. Interactive music composition is similar but requires more musical imagination since you have to be able to imagine all the possible results of your choices.

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