Loyola MIS Forum on Genre

The Music Industry Studies Program at Loyola University New Orleans (where I teach) has a weekly forum with all of our students. A couple of months ago our guest speaker was ill, so I put together a discussion on ideas around genre. There is video evidence. The talk starts about 10:30 in, after the student announcements.

Comparing Artists To Start-Ups Lazy, Unhealthy, Beside The Point. – hypebot

Comparing Artists To Start-Ups Lazy, Unhealthy, Beside The Point. – hypebot: “Comparing artists to start-ups is a trend that has emerged this last couple of years as music and tech became ever more increasingly tied and the latter churned out its daily dose of spectacular stories and unicorns. When a particular field is successful, it would be a shame not to try to find some key take aways and apply them to an ecosystem like music where everything has been challenged and turned upside down these last 15 years or so.”

Make a Leap Beyond the Accepted Paradigm

“Inventiveness and innovation require intelligence, but beyond intelligence they entail imagination, that is, the mental agility to make a leap beyond the accepted paradigm to another and to see the relationship between them that has escaped others. Training in the humanities is a training, if all goes well, in exploring “the other” and seeing how it relates to the known—an exercise in imagination. The cultivation of this skill is certainly not exclusive to the humanities, but they are especially apt for it. ” – John W. O’Malley S.J.

Why Some Kids Try Harder and Some Kids Give Up | Tracy Cutchlow

Why Some Kids Try Harder and Some Kids Give Up | Tracy Cutchlow: “Stanford researcher Carol Dweck has been studying motivation and perseverance since the 1960s. And she found that children fall into one of two categories:

Those with a fixed mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their innate talent or smarts
Those with a growth mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their hard work

Thoughts on computer based instrument paradigms

Note: This was originally posted on Scratch My Brain, but seemed appropriate to this space, so I have posted it here as well.

Over the past couple of years, I have been thinking about computer music instrument design, or how to turn my laptop into a musical instrument. Much of this is due to my participation in the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana or LOLs. The process of writing a piece for the LOLs often involves designing an instrument, and in my thinking on the subject, I have been putting these instruments into two broad categories. Direct control instruments are instruments in which an action of the performer maps directly to a sound from the instrument, i.e. pull the trigger and sound comes out, move the joystick forward and the pitch changes, etc. The other category is code/process controlled instruments, or instruments where the sound is produced by a process, which is simply launched by the performer, or possibly live coded, but the performer does not have control of individual musical events once the process is set into motion.

I have tended towards direct control instruments in my own work. I think this is largely due to my trombone player DNA. I am used to playing an acoustic instrument (direct control) and so much of my performance world view has been formed by that experience. One of the difficulties with designing new direct control instruments is that it often takes a significant amount of time to learn to play them well. Like any instrument, one must spend some time with it to develop any technique or sense of musical connection to the instrument.

On the other hand, process controlled instruments allow for the creation of highly complex musical expressions with little or no time spent learning technique, but they lack the intimacy of control, especially in terms of timing, that one gets from direct control.

Tonight I was reading an article (from 1991) by David Wessel called “Improvisation with Highly Interactive Real-Time Performance Systems.” In this article, he describes a system that seems to be a direct process control system. He launches the processes (I use the term process to be consistent with my categories, I don’t know that he would use that word) from a direct control instrument. This returns the control of low level timing to the performer, yet allows the performer to still take advantage of what the computer processes have to offer. He also talks about mapping expressive gestures to entire phrases as opposed to single notes.

These ideas have started some wheels turning about my next computer instrument.

I love it when I discover that someone solved my current dilemma twenty years ago. That’s why we should always be attentive in history class.