Generative nodal rhythms and melody in Max/MSP

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 | Building Things, Forester, Max/MSP, Software News

I seem to be having a very intense Max/MSP week. Last night I was thinking about interesting ways of generating rhythm. In particular how to create structures which balance recognisable loops with random choices. Saw a really interesting page of flash design pieces which gave me the idea of using a nodal structure with one sound mapped to each node. 

In the first incarnation of my software (shown in the video above) the nodes fire out midi messages when they are hit by the red marker. The midi messages go to Logic Audio and play specific samples in a soft-sampler. The connections between nodes are created automatically. The rules are very simple. The marker must move on every beat (a regular pulse) it may only move to another node to which it is connected. The connections are directional so if the connection goes A to B the marker cannot move B to A unless another connection is made in that direction. If a node is connected to more than one node a random choice of the available targets is made. As the video progresses I randomly add more connections which increases the number of patterns available.

The Video below shows a later development of the software where the node locations are positioned by hand. Connections between them are also made by hand. The rules remain the same. In this example there are two discrete systems with two markers. As the video progresses the systems are linked. Again the nodes trigger midi messages which this time trigger piano note samples. I built in probability to this version so fore example you can connect A to B three times and A to C once. Which would make A to B three times more likely to occur than A to C. The connections with stronger pink lines have stronger probabilities. Note that some of the nodes are ‘rest’ nodes and produce no sound.

The output from these systems can become a little monotonous after a while due to the lack of volume dynamics and the regular pulse. All the same I’m very pleased with my days work. I’m hoping to be able to build some of these ideas into the new version of Forester…

Hope you enjoy,

Leafcutter John x.

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2 Comments to Generative nodal rhythms and melody in Max/MSP

Gabe Miller
December 6, 2008

Hello Leafcutter John im from Lemont,IL(usa). I downloaded your songs from itunes and thought you were from India. I wanna know who did the female vocals for “Khom?s” and if you are the singer in “Seba”? How old are you? If you make a new CD make more songs like “Seba”

Bertrand Fraysse
December 7, 2008

Very interesting new stuff !

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