No Diary: No computer music diary this week–your diaries are all done!

This week we focus on the composition and improvisation aspects of your final performance pieces. You should now have a reasonable initial idea for your piece (acknowledging that folks usually work hard up to the deadline). The goal for this week is to communicate this idea to everybody in your ensemble.

More specifically, today you will have to gather information about each piece in your concert from everybody else. You will be answering the question “what am I supposed to do in your piece?” At the end of the day, you should have a clearer view of how your concert will look and sound and what your role will be throughout.

If you haven’t seend them yet, check out the lectures slides on “Compositions and Improvisations” to get some ideas for how to structure your piece and what instructions or constraints you could put in place to help your ensemble work together.

You’ll need an HDMI output from your laptop in this week’s workshop to test out the HDMI switcher!

Goals for this week#

By now you should know when your LENS concert is and what the order of performances will be. Read the lecture on the final LENS concert for these details. You should be at the venue 1 hour before your performance time.

  1. Understand what your job will be in each other piece in your concert.
  2. Discuss roles for different performers in your group in each piece.
  3. Figure out how you will get information from the creator of each piece in your group. Will you get some kind of instructions? Information during the piece?
  4. Figure out how you are getting information to all the people playing your piece.

This week you need to work out how your concert is actually going to work. It’s best to do this from a “what I have to do” perspective. Do you know what your job is in each piece in your group? I didn’t think so. Today’s main task is to figure that out, here’s the exercise for the day.

My jobs in the concert worksheet#

  • Make a new document and put the name of each person in your group on a different page (follow the order for your concert – see the lecture)
  • For each person’s piece, hae the following headings:
    • “Software I need to use”
    • “The first action I take”
    • “How to know what do next”
    • “Things I need to watch out for”
  • Take turns around your group finding out the answer to these questions.
  • When you’re done, rehearse pieces until the end of the class.

Remember: In your concert you will be playing your piece for 5-7 minutes. For the rest of the time, you will be helping your ensemble-mates, you need to get it as right as possible!

The challenge with this exercise is that most of your won’t have a clear idea of what each person in your ensemble is doing. This exercise helps you figure out what is going on in your group. Until you can answer these questions you won’t be able to play someone else’s piece.


Creative Notes#

You’ve had a lot of practice jamming and improvising this semester, but not so much on planning and executing a collaborative individual piece of music. There’s a lot of ways to start this, but I suggest having 3-4 sections and planning out your work with a spreadsheet, e.g.:

  A - 0-1:00 Transition 1:00 - 2:00 B - 2:00-4:00 C - 4:00-6:00
Texture (activity density) Sparse Sparse A bit denser Really dense
Synth 1 High register High Higher  
Bass synth Long notes Alberti bass Alberti bass Semiquaver arpeggios
Harmonies C Fm Gmb9 C Fm Gmb9 C Fm Gmb9 Am
Melodic emphasis        
Narrative idea Opening onto a meadow Is the bad guy coming in? Bad guy comes in  
Motives* X X Y Y  
Timbres Deep, Filtered Opening filters Metallic, inharmonic Glassy, High pass

There’s lots of ways to do this, but a good bet would be to have a rough “instruction” for each performer in your group in each section. Then you can add extra information about what is happening “overall”.

Even with a simple spreadsheet and good expressive interfaces, you could have a successful guided improvisation with your group without too much stress.

You should re-read lecture notes for the week but remember the hot tips at the end:

  • Make decisions now and adjust them (with feedback from your group)
  • Don’t try to do too much in 5 minutes. 3-4 big ideas.
  • Follow the marking guidelines, show me: SMC concepts, collaboration, creative control, technical quality.
  • Show who is doing what
  • Think beyond notes: organise timbres, expressions, envelopes, other stuff!
  • Don’t play someone else’s music
  • You can do this!
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