Life, Projects, and Randomized Music

Since I finished up the initial pedalboard design my world has flipped, flopped, and spun in too many directions to count. A few short weeks ago my wife and I discovered we have a little one on the way. So all immediate plans to start recording have been put on hold while I prepare the house for this exciting little addition. One nice side benefit to this is that I get to move the studio (again). I always meet this task with a certain level of excitement and dread. It’s great to have a new space, but that always brings weeks of tweaks and room arranging. Hopefully this will be the last move for awhile.

On the project front I’ve started plans for two new boards which will augment my guitar rig. I don’t want to get into the details of one because it is just a little too awesome and ear-popping to give away in words alone… so more to come there. The second of these new boards is pretty simple. I’ve been playing around with Mobius and live looping with Albeton Lite. It’s quite a different animal than studio recording but I’m having some fun so far. I’ll be building a special controller for Mobius based on what feels right once I get more familiar with the system.

Now on to Conjure… my other pet project. I’ve briefly talked about this with a few people on Facebook but the Conjure project is a music composition system I’ve been working on since about Feb of 2010 but is finally getting close to a useful beta. It’s a rather complicated long-term development project but essentially Conjure is a preference engine for producing MusicXML scores. The idea is that given enough information about music theory with a combination of personal music preferences the system can create root song structures. The intent here isn’t to create complete scores as much as serving as a virtual muse. Going through the system has given me a great opportunity to relearn alot of music theory knowledge that’s been lost over the years. At this point Conjure has awareness of about 85 scales and some 60 odd chord structures and how they relate to all the standard western music keys. There is a title generation system, ensemble assembly function, GM MIDI database, drumkit constructor… and hordes of other tables cobbled together for one reason or another. Development has primary settled in with ColdFusion as the web services provider and a mix of XSL/XML/DHTML and possibly Flex for an alternative interface. The past two weeks have been consumed with providing Conjure information about song structures while I’ve just recently started refining the music key/scale selection criteria to introduce harmony and chord progressions (which will then be coupled with the structures.)

Here is an early twiddling from Conjure months ago when it was locked down to a single key but allowed to roam freely among orchestra instruments from IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik VST plug in.

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