2019 January

Publication of this website!

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I consider my own software now as “final”. This means that from now on I will concentrate on the sounds and combinations of sounds for the Ableton sampler. This means going on the road again.

When I have interesting results, I will post some video’s or links to video’s here.

2018

Technical

  • implementing recording of video in my software, simultaneous with start and stop of audio recording in Ableton Live by sending control changes
  • researching on manipulation of video and audio in (Apple) Final Cut, video has to be adjusted. This is a tedious process.
  • so as a result Final Cut is abandoned. Now I use basic software called ffmpeg, and with some old fashioned Applescript I can synchronize audio and video easy and exactly.
  • implementing some new detection algorithms thanks to the website of Satya Mallick that can trace rectangular parts of an image in the realtime video. So now I can trace my eyes, glasses, hands… Also simultaneously in more than one region on the screen. This is a great step forward because it reduces the amount of noise in the detection, especially in motion detection. Some randomness is nice but under bad lighting conditions it is not desirable.
  • I experiment and study all the possibilities of the Ableton Sampler instrument. It has many nice and useful features that all can be adjusted from my software.
    ableton_sampler_settingAbleton sampler settings…
  • less visible, I clean and comment my own software, so I hope it stays usable in the future.
  • not to forget: building this site. I want to show some video’s and explanations here and there.

Contents

  • I’m getting aware of what sounds are appropriate to use. First I thought only small clips were good, but now, after experimenting a lot with all the possibilities, I change(d) my mind and use longer recordings, to about one minute or more. So I discover, what Murray Schafer wrote in his impressive book “The soundscape, the tuning of the world”, that e.g. wind sounds and ocean sounds (the word “sea” is too small here…) are very similar and can be misinterpreted very easily. I think that’s where musicality comes into play. Maybe also sounds from insects (bees) are usable too. To be continued next summer…
  • still reading and analyzing the book of Murray Schafer, it’s very actual these days.
  • more reading: Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, and in a broader sense Merlin Donald.

People

  • I made contact with a dutch composer H. who creates musical scores on the basis of natural sounds. He uses, as a first step, the software called Spear to analyze sounds with advanced Fourier analysis. I had a look at that and it might be very useful for isolating soft sounds in the middle of a lot of noise, quite different from what audio filters do.
  • on a warm afternoon in November I meet Pedro Montesinos live at the beach in La Restinga, together with his mic with a large “dead cat” on it. It really is a pleasure to meet him in person. Two years ago we made e-mail contact and Pedro invited me to contribute to his archive of sounds “Paisaje Sonoro El Hierro”.
    pedro-m

    Pedro at work…

  • in december Sixto Sánchez Perera presents the second edition of his book about the Mudada on El Hierro in a noisy setting. I only had a b/w copy of the book but now I’m happy with the real book.
    la-mudada-al-valle-de-el-golfo

    Sixto’s book

2017

Emigration

Since February 2017 and onwards we have been very busy with our emigration to El Hierro. In the meantime no recordings were made at El Hierro. Only some technical adjustments to my software. After August we settled on El Hierro and continued our work.

Technical

I did a lot of experiments with Sforzando and Sforzatron with .sfz and .sf2 soundfonts. By using multiple instances of Sforzando with Sforzatron in Ableton Live you are rather flexible, but the sounds sometimes get stuck. Not ideal for reuse.
After a lot of research, I succeeded in using the native Sampler and Simpler of Ableton Live. Ableton is nice but some parts have a steep learning curve… First I had tried Max for Live but I didn’t like it at all: too less flexibility, poor quality, problems with saving settings, crashes, and of course all that spaghetti…, with tiny connectors… Dropped.

Now I can edit and save all sampler settings in Ableton Live, and many sampler settings are adjustable with MIDI CC messages that can be generated with my software, be it by motion detection or by using a button. From now on only I deal with Ableton and my own software.

After the emigration, when my loyal iMac, now 11 years old, safely arrived here, a lot of additional technical adjustments have been made to the program. Here a compilation.

Implementation of screen regions

  • each region is connected to a different midi channel.
  • position and dimensions of the regions can be changed on-screen.
  • every region, and so every channel can be assigned one or more different instruments or samples in Ableton Live.
  • further individual refinement of the properties of individual screen regions, e.g.:
    • select midi note range.
    • send pan messages.
    • send note velocity messages.
    • send cc x, cc y, cc size messages, size factor. These can be interpreted in Ableton as pitch, volume or velocity, pan or more.
    • send MIDI program change (mainly for external synthesizers).
    • select how x and y coordinates are interpreted.
    • play more simultaneous notes.
    • repeat the same note.

Global issues

  • use only the largest detected contour.
  • cross areas (let notes sound or not if you move outside an area).
  • let multiple areas simultaneous play if the contours overlap more regions.