#1Introduction

The design evolution follows the same paradigm of life: it is unpredictable but it is recognizable by the DNA of the living being.

Generative art is a bi-product of the world we have built. Most forms of art we know are dependant on modern tools and technology. I started making generative art in the pursuit of real-time film making(story-telling). I started making visuals driven by music and gestures. Some of the projects I did were the closing performance at Cyberia, Filament, Spilt milk and Four hands, Six eyes and you can see my rest of the work here.With a little support from the Canada Council of Arts, I was able to explore further and integrate music into my work. This is a documentation of my explorations to understand music theory.

I started by learning about music in the scope of generative art under the guidance of Roisin Adams. We started by studying the historical context of aleatoric music and composition. Musical movements of the 20th century: Spectralism, Minimalism, Indeterminant Music, Deep Listening Techniques, Continuous MusicComposers: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Anthony Braxton, Earle Brown, Steve Reich, John Adams, Terry Riley, Ann Southam, Pauline Oliveros, Lubomyr Melnik.

#2John Cage

John Cage incorporated many aspects of randomness into his work over the years, a form of the composition called aleatory music.

Cage's approach to random music is so inherently generative. He tends to leave room for improvisation, in his composition and performance. One of his famous methods was to use I-Ching

In 1951 he was given a copy of I-ching by his pupil Christian Wulff. Cages interest was caught and this text became the basis of his compositional method for the rest of his life the I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese text dating back to around a thousand BC used for divination but which has been a source of inspiration for philosophers artists religion and literature in the east and the west its current sequence is said to have been created by King one king of Jove in the late Shang dynasty. To use the I-Ching the user obtains a random number originally. This number corresponds to a line that is either strong or weak yang or Yin when six have been obtained you have a hexagram. There are 64 different possible hexagrams, which you then look up in the I Ching and read the interpretation for example if we got the hexagram lin the meaning is approached or if we've got the hexagram Fung this would mean abundance further interpretation from these meanings can be drawn to produce divination it's slightly more complex than this but that's the general idea. Cage would ask the I-ching a question and use the hexagram obtained to make the decision firstly he would consult the sound chart to see which note if any should play then a duration chart and dynamic chart would obtain the note required Cage would also use a tempo chart to set the tempo changes for the piece works created This way Kage wanted to free himself from his own preferences and allow indeterminacy into the process. For Cage using, randomness meant imitating nature.

These are the the hexagrams in the I-ching

As I'm not a composer yet, so I haven't tried this method. John Cage also explored a prepared piano, A piano which is customized euphonious objects like nails and clips. Below is my attempt with a digital prepared piano.

Excuse the audio mismatch. Couldn't recover the original file.

Special mention goes to Kelly Moran, as her work with the prepared piano has been a heavy influence on my work.

#3Lubomyr Melnik

Roisin Adams introduced me to Lubomyr Melnik's work in continuous music through her piece in Spilt Milk.

"Continuous music is a natural progression of classical piano techniques when a pianist eliminates the world and puts aside everything else and simply has this instrument and his fingers and his hand and his heart and his soul and that's all that exists in the universe, the whole universe, that's it , then something beautiful starts to happen ...modern people have tragically lost the understanding of the universe and the world as a metaphysical thing, but it's not the physical universe that we live in, that's its a spiritual metaphysical element with different dimensions and so I think this piano music, reawakens people from this sleep. I know people can be transported to other dimensions, other realms and it is not something we should fear."- Lubomyr Melnik.

Lubomyr Melnyk is a composer and pianist of Ukrainian origin. Melnyk is noted for his continuous music, a piano technique based on extremely rapid notes and complex note-series, usually with the sustain pedal held down to generate harmonic overtones and sympathetic resonances.

Currently, I feel closest to his work. As I'm not as skilled yet, I have been exploring continuous music through arpeggiators. You can see the influence of his work in my work

Me in a L

Simultaneously I was learning the piano focus on developing strength and velocity as well as improvisational techniques. I build up my basics with major, minor, pentatonic scales, and practicing voicing with all chords. This built confidence that I could express my thoughts.

'Me in a L' is a collection of tracks, remembering the time I was stuck in a loop.

In style, this collection is my attempt of playing continuous music.

P in a L
#3Audio-reactive Sketches

A collection some Audio-reactive sketches

One of the objectives of this research was to enhance my existing programmed sketches with a better understanding of music. Most of my sketches are made in Processing, but to share some examples I have translated some to JavaScript.

These are not audio-reactive to avoid technical problems, but the interact with mouse gestures.

Click here to see more of my programming sketches

#3Caider

Algorithmic music with algorithmic visuals

Meanwhile, I collaborated with DerekKwan, an algorithmic music composer. He programs his music live, I took the opportunity to program the visuals live too. In Some of our live performances we share our coding screens with the audience. Code helps you see the blue prints of the music. These are some of our performances.

#8Other Visual Experiments

Virtual spaces given the times

Given the pandemic, I have been exploring ways to create virtual stages. This is a recording of performance I did remotely.

Since this performance was recorded on Zoom, some frames have been dropped.

Some of my Jamming sessions, testing the pipeline for a virtual stage

Halarath Bran jamming on the piano

I have not started implementing AI to generate music yet. But I have tried a few visual experiments of the same. I applied my understanding of continuous music into it.

#3Miscellaneous Exploration

Generative Digital Piano

Now being able to understand it better, I started creating generative music. Using a SinWave and calibrating the frequency of middle C to 261.626Hz. I replicated the piano digitally, created an array of all the chords.

HERE is a list of all frequencies

AxiSong

I also considered composing using an Axidraw. Since I had limited access to the Axidraw, I could only do a rough test. You can see my other work with the Axidraw here.

#5Conclusion

I should mention a workshop I did, 'SOUND MIND' Listening Workshop facilitated by Viviane Houle. A workshop for the basics of deep listening. More about the workshop here.

It goes without saying that this is ongoing research and I will be learning the piano for at least another year. If relevant I will update this like otherwise, I'm sure it will reflect in my upcoming projects. Feel free to contact me, to discuss my research.A Special Thanks to Canada Council of Arts, Roisin Adams, Derek Kwan, Yin Cheng-Kokott, Charles Higson, Processing foundation, Brahman.ai, and Art Music Lit Space.

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