We move on these last two weeks to formatting the sample/dummy data files sent to us by the Bio-informatics Department at the Garvan. We are experimenting with calibrating number streams from the multi-dimensional data arrays to suit the relevant sonic mappings. Our mappings so far are pretty basic: varying partial content in an additive synthesis framework (back to the analog synthesis era!), and perhaps in a more contemporary vein, using the data streams as varying co-efficients for spatial representations.
It is gratifying to at least hear some sound (sorry not for public consumption just yet, please allow time for craft)
We are now hoping (thanks to correspondence with Alex Stahl from California) to building a spherical speaker array to play our realisations, when they have reached the stage of approaching music. It seems reasonable to present the realisations in this way, creating an amplification of process towards a social scale, from something mind-bogglingly small.
So we could walk around within a represented genetic function.
It is interesting to consider the whole style cache that seems to have accompanied “genetic”-like explorations in past and contemporary practices. Genetic programming is a familiar and large area of computer science, and has in the past been used in computer music, but this is some distance from what we are exploring. Rather than seeking musical mechanisms from analogy or metaphor with the processes, we are perhaps closer to exploiting the meaningful possibility of a direct link between data and compositional process (which is really a trivial mapping) that tries to honour the meaning of the whoel scientific endeavour.
We haven’t as yet, solved our ethical dilemma (see previous posts), but soldier on with data of a similar form to the real stuff, which may end up coming from us.
The easy part is linking data to sound — the difficult part is honouring the link through sensitive and relevant compositional mappings.
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Thinking about the implications and generative impulses behind making choices for timbral association with the genetic process data.
Instrumental western canonical groupings of the orchestra, chamber ensemble, wind ensemble, brass band, string quartet- these collections of instrumentations/timbres are central to the western canon of composed music, and bring with them associated group behaviour, understandings, associations as well as particular sound elements.
Timbral choice made via frequency…sine tones, spectral morphologies emerging.
Timbral choice made via sounds that the human body can make…vocal and percussive.
Messian’s timbral colors with birdsong.
And then the timescales. Western forms of large time scales as investigated by Feldman.
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