Michael Svolos 220c

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This is Michael Svolos's wiki page for Music 220c during spring 2019. It'll contain updates on what I work on from week to week.

April 18

My initial idea for this project was to create a piece that involved (1) live input and (2) variable-length delay with feedback. I'm doing this because I made a patch in VCV Rack, a virtual modular synth, that had a delay whose delay length was modulated, and it created some really cool audio fragments that I hope to incorporate into this piece. I also like the idea of performing a piece live and want to take this chance to hone my compositional skills. I plan on performing this piece on alto saxophone.

I wrote some initial code that implements variable-length delay with feedback, which can be found here. Feedback is sent to 0.95 so that sounds stay in the delay for a long time. Two delays are used that alternate between each other, and each is sent to a different channel to create stereo interest. I am thinking about expanding this to more than two channels. To modulate the delay length, I use a sine wave LFO that works exponentially to match the exponential nature of the pitch domain. I also added a light chorus effect and reverb.

This week, I took some time to play into this program and see how different parameters felt. Some of the more interesting results were when the delay lengths were short enough to be in comb-filter territory, and the modulation changed the comb filter frequency which added really cool motion to the sax's sound. My overall finding, though, was that I need to look into more effects, and potentially some synthesized sound. Some directions I could go are adding the functionality to sample a certain amount of sound and have it loop independently of the big delay line. I could also look into pitch tracking to control different parameters or events - there's a Chugin that does pitch tracking pretty well.

April 27

Today, my goal was to start composing and get some notes set down. My process was to write notes in Sibelius with corresponding delay directions, which ranged from specific lengths and types that I had in mind to more vague directions that I'd figure out later. I did this without verifying what they sounded like until I had a decent chunk of music set. Then I went through the process of programming each step in ChucK. This involved using an HID In to control the sporking of different functions, each of which modified or modulated different parameters of the delay. After that, I went back and forth playing the piece as it stood, troubleshooting and modifying, then playing it again. I recorded a take of what I have that I'll try to show in class on Tuesday. Going forward, I intend to keep writing and exploring the options that I have with this medium.

May 29

I've been able to think through the arc of this piece, and I'm almost done writing down all the notes. My next task is to implement the code needed to accompany the rest of the piece. I'll also be modifying the keyboard handling to use an external keyboard that I can play with my feet.