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Non deterministic or rule based music

What is rule based art?

Non deterministic art has been around quite a while. In the recent decades it started to break out from modern art museums via computer games while inserting itself into business under the name gamification. Rule based art has many forms of appearance.  Be it a painting which is made of several pieces which can be moved by the spectator or an installations which depends on various influences like the sound of this windharp embedded in a natural environment. In this post Bitsphere likes to share some insights into the basics of rule based music creation.

Rules and interconnections

Out of very few rules are generally a lot of possible combinations arising. Imagine the action of driving a car: There are few possibilities: left – right – forward – backward – fast – slow. By applying these rules you may reach more places than you would have time to in a lifetime.

If the driver lined up all his decisions by this rules to describe his way from home to the grocery store it would go like: forward 10m – right 90° – forward 500m – right 75° – forward 400m – left 100° – forward 45m. It is clear that only one alteration in the description led to another outcome (the car stops at the gas station for example) and if altering two or more decisions led to a completely other outcome (the car ends up in a holiday resort abroad).

What we also may keep in mind is that there might be other ways to get to the grocery store. Which says that another application of the rules leads to the same outcome.

Example of rule based music construction

To give you a short example of how to work with rules here is a sample piece of music which is based on two rules:

  1. In each bar the note is shifted up by a third in the diatonic scale (and transposed to a certain range)  g – h – d – f – a – c – e – g
  2. The rhythm in each bar corresponds to a digital number 000001, 00000010, 000000011, 00000100, etc. If there appears a 1 in the number there is sound and if not there is none.

That is how the first eight bars look like in classical score:

Variation II for blog.-2

This is how it sounds like:

If you have anything to say about ruled based art and music – may it be a link to a resource or your personal opinion – drop me a line!


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A big draft for content

20130308_duckContent is king

Who actually is adding value to the blogs and twitters we are following? It seems although there are new social sites growing on a daily basis the amount of content out there is stable. In the mid 00’s there was a saying that 90% of the people are consumers where as 10% of the people really add fresh content as images, music or texts to websites. This may or may not be true any more. Most likely the ratio is the same today. But there are many more sharing buttons out there which allows surfers to duplicate links or even whole sources to other sites.

The same content keeps coming back

As the amount of sharing sites increase it is more and more likely that the same content is coming back to us. While there is more or less the same amount of creative people out there to really produce new stuff the number of communication channels increased dramatically in the last 5 years. So if we strip away all the sharing platforms from the content it seems likely that the production of content is stable. While more and more links to that content are circulating.

Some stats

In this visualization we can learn that 40% of all twitter users do not tweet at all and that many of the news are some girl magazine like things. But still there is a huge amount of links to content shared though this is not further specified in the image linked to above.

Keep going

This means that the people working to provide sources for the social nets and the internet are still few among many. Since every link has to end in some web page with user generated content there is today a bigger draft by the increasing number of sharing sites only made to forward articles, images, music or videos like pearltrees or pinterest. They provide an increasing number of users in need for links.

A word to those sharing

Many of you may feel totally alright with sharing only, in fact many people are, and if you are one of them then you are among only 9% of all internet users according to the 1% rule. There is an interesting analogy to that kind of participating and the ready-made, also known as objet trouvé. If you have any other websites designed for “sharing only” apart from the aforementioned, please leave a comment in the form next to this post.

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Fresh ideas with old technology

Recently Bitsphere worked for the oneminute video 2012 which is entirely coded in c++ and not java as in the last years (click here for all the past oneminute animations). To tame the x-windows system many man pages needed to be consulted. A lot of them were last updated sometimes in the nineties.

Clearly technology for applications like twitter or pinterest existed long before the applications appeared but time seems to have to move forward the slowly evolving ways of thinking in symbiosis with the advancing technology. New forms of aesthetic expression always are  found with older medias. Just think of all drummers and singers! Compared to them it looks all reasonable to produce state of the art applications with technology from the last century. And it works that way. Many devices are programmed today in programing languages older than ten years. For example the android phone system.

Bitsphere’s video engine in c++ has the same functionality as the former one in java but is faster and has easier access to libraries that around there in the web. So it get rid of all the bridge libraries like jjack or j4v4l.

So what do you vote for? New art only by new tech or do you find other developments bringing fresh ideas? Let us know in the comment section!

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Is there such a thing like abstract music?

Music always is in time as a given function thereof. The invention of the recording machine has added recursion to this formula and changed music as a we perceive it and how it is accessible. Some musicians used to bring loopers or other devices on stage during the last decades. Some play music which they call ‘musique sérielle’ which provides some answers to the new listening habits.

When comparing the shift in the audio world before music recording as it might was and afterwards to the painting world before and after inventing photography there is obviously one big difference: In painting there was a shift to abstract painting which cannot be found as such in music.

What do you think? Is this observation true? Please leave a comment in the comment section below this post if you have any thought about this subject!

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Reverberation and psychic reverberation

One of the central description of a tone in nature is its reverberation. Reverberation occurs if a sound is reflected by any obstacle so the sound seems to be longer than it was at the beginning. This effect was used in history back to early human concerts in caves, amplified in very long reverberating cathedrals in medieval Europe and is nowadays simulated with electric reverberation devices or software.

But aside the acoustic phenomena there is a psychic reverberation of sound which occurs when the mind is occupied by a sound that no longer persists in the outer physical world. It may also be called a psychic echo.

The most common example might be the catchy tune which comes back to the mind several times. Other sounds can be hardly forgot: Sometimes people cannot stop thinking of the noise of an accident. Some people are very much affected by strange voices, so they start to ape them, not always in favour of the origin.

Please tell me in the comment section which sounds, tunes or noises you can hardly forget!


Simple guide to handle bills

Here is a little guide to an effective way to handle bills:

1.Go to the mailbox daily

Check for new mail and empty the box immediately. If possible put a sign at your mailbox which tells the postman which kind of free mail you never want to receive, like that free newspaper you never read or the heaps of ads you throw away.

2. Open bills immediately

If you receive a bill, open the letter as fast as possible and throw away the envelope.

3.Collect all unpaid bills in a file

Get yourself a file or a box or a register in which you collect all the unpaid bills.

4. Pay it regularly

Once in a month, visit your bank or post office and pay all the bills in the box.

5. Archive the receipts

After paying attach all the receipts to the covering letter and store them in a register at best just after returning from the bank or post office.

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Public and Privat

After the post of the latest news on bitsphere, the question of what to publish and what to keep private arose to my thoughts – and, whether it is ok to post ideas like the last on the net even before finishing the project. One aim of the bitsphere blog is to summarizes own thoughts, like one has to do for his boss. So, that could be done in a word.doc too, but is not that pressing, because no other reads the file.

Another aim which is also important is to get reactions on the ideas and how they are put into action. And that is why the last post can stay in the blog for a little longer.

It would be very interesting what you think about sharing ideas with – mostly unknown – others, what experiences you have made and how you were pushed forward or not by a web log. Feel free to comment!