It’s good to know WHAT you do, WHY you do it to find a way HOW to do it. In research, art and industry alike. I will try to answer these three questions regarding my own research in three blog posts. Please feel free to comment and give me your thoughts. It will be a valuable input to my future texts.

WHY am I doing this study?

I recently heard that kids growing up in Sweden today listen to more music through games (on smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles) than they do through more “traditional” channels like Spotify and Youtube. Ancient formats like CD seem to be completely outdated.

There are many indications of “Virtual Reality” becoming the next big thing in the entertainment industry and there has been a huge trend on the web where static web pages with information is turned into social, interactive experiences. We also see a trend in museums, exhibitions and even concerts where interactivity, feedback and participation from the visitor/audience/consumer is more and more an expected part of the experience.

The combination of audio and visuals in an interactive environment require new technical solutions and skills which at the moment leave most trained musicians, composers and producers outside.

You can also argue that the current available technology for integrating music into games and other interactive applications heavily restricts how the music can be used.

I’m passionate about music, musicians ability to communicate and the joy of interaction. To make it possible for this to happen even in the new age of interactive applications being the primary way for people experience music, lots of new knowledge, technologies and methods are needed. I hope my research can play a part in the answer to that need.

Music With Me

Music With Me is a piece of music where the visitor controls the changes of sections, the intensity of the piano, bass and cajun and the synth lead phrases. It’s recorded by Hans Lindetorp in a standard, linear manner with the A-section played with the intensity going from low to high across 16 bars. The B-section was then played with the intensity decreasing across another 16 bars.

The aim was to identify some challenges and solutions in the process in turning a linear recording into a non-linear production where the visitor is given the tools to control parts of the music. My plan was to perform the music on piano and record it into my standard DAW; LOGIC. After adding bass and cajon, my intention was to cut the music into bars and then use my own javascript framework to integrate it into the web page.

  • The first challenge I encountered is related to all sorts of production of music where you have to follow a metronome. I’m quite used to it but still it doesn’t feel great to stick to a steady beat all the time. Especially not when going from one intensity level to another. To make the recording work this time I had to quantize my piano playing pretty thoroughly, especially near barlines, to make it repeat well.
  • The second challenge was the lack of lead-ins between the different intensities. I had to play the music without leading to the next level to make the loops work and therefor I wasn’t allowed to ramp either up or down before going to a new level. This challenge is not solved in my demo.
  • The third challenge was to make the synth phrases fit the harmonies in the different sections. I found a way of labelling my files in a way that made them lock to the correct section. Another solution would have been to use even fewer notes to make all phrases fit all chords. This challenge would be very important to solve for future implementations, though. Both for different sections but also for different bars or even smaller fractions of a bar to make sure the Motifs always are selected according to the current harmony.

This example is a part of a doctoral study at Royal College of Music and Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. More information, papers, presentations, demos etc will be found at hans.arapoviclindetorp.se. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact me: hans.lindetorp@kmh.se