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DaqMusic "from the ether"

PostPosted: January 22nd, 2013, 3:01 pm
by DaqManDu
This is an open letter to David Byrne:

I thoroughly enjoyed "How Music Works"... very interesting, and great fun! I loved all the insider anecdotes; Bing Crosby funding Ampex so he could play more golf was priceless. (When you release a second edition, *please* include an index so we can find these gems more easily!)

The final section on "Self-Organizing Music" makes me think you would be interested in my free DaqMusic system for Windows computers. It uses simple scripts to operate the built-in MIDI synth in real time, allowing music creation "from the ether" using random processes. It's "machine-made" music, but you get to build and/or tinker with the machine. (You can even "humanize" it by slight random variation of the note-on times of different voices.)

As an example, the "Mountain Heather" MIDI file link at the top of <> used a setup called GlossyFishSticks, which creates live, listenable, non-repeating music based on a simple strategy that I call "Musical Frontiers": To keep listener interest, you stay near the border between order and chaos, where things are neither too tame nor too wild.

The samples on that page are each a minute or less, but with an endless live performance it's often hard to stop listening because you really want to hear what happens next. Or you keep restarting it to hear what the next random performance will bring.

However, I'm an engineer, not a musician, so my explorations have been pretty basic and my methods probably musically-unorthodox. I've been very pleased (and sometimes amazed) at the results so far, but I think a real musician (that would be you!), or even a non-musician who likes to experiment, could get truly great things from DaqMusic.

The basic DaqMusic system is free because it is part of the Daqarta scientific software that doesn't expire after the trial period. Just download Daqarta and run the DaqMusic macro (F8 key, then D) as indicated in the "First Run" message. Choose a setup file, or hit ESCape for the default GlossyFishSticks. Dozens of other DaqMusic setups are included, with features and scripts discussed in the built-in Help and the website copy. (Right-click on the Pitch-to-MIDI title bar to open specific Help for any setup you load; right-click any control for control-specific Help.)

I'd be glad to answer questions, either here or individually via the Contact page on the Daqarta site.

Best regards,

Bob Masta

Re: DaqMusic "from the ether"

PostPosted: January 28th, 2014, 5:42 pm
by DaqManDu
A whole year has passed since my post. The "from-the-ether" Windows MIDI music system is now called 'DaqMusiq' (note final 'q' instead of 'c') to distinguish it from a recording studio with the prior name. The new DaqMusiq discovery page is

More important, the new default setup is GlossyTracks (instead of GlossyFishSticks). It plays over 4 billion unique tracks, with about one minute of each by default. (You can set it for any duration you like, up to about 16 years/track.) Each track uses a random tempo with an adjustable range and bias, and a random scale selected from a list you can change.

Tracks typically start with an intro of up to 6 percussion instruments, then up to 8 voiced instruments coming in gradually. Instruments, patterns, and melodies are random (within constraints), overlapping and evolving, but the effect of everything together is (usually) amazingly listenable... not at all what you might expect. (Definitely not "New Music"!) It's more like a big jam session, where the players are each doing their own thing, but mindful of the overall performance.

Oh, yeah... each of those 4+ billion tracks has a unique randomly-generated title, displayed prominently along with its "seed" code so you can replay it if you want. You can tinker with the seed-to-title formula, but titles don't "know" anything about the track: You could get "The Fallen Soldier Dirge" for a spritely 300 BPM performance.

As an example, the "MossPiglet" MIDI file on the above-mentioned Web page has the full title "What Zooms To The Horrid Moss Piglet?". (With 4+ billion titles, you have to allow for plenty of goofy ones!) In this case, the music is much better than the title; sometimes it's the other way around...

All completely free, as always.

BTW, most current browsers (except Opera) will play the .MID files on the site just by clicking on them. Mobile devices may need to have MIDI players installed.

Best regards,

Bob Masta