Songs of CCRMA”

220a | Final Project

Alison Rush

A composition in sections, modeled loosely on Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, based on texts submitted by CCRMAlites. I solicited texts from CCRMAfolk using a Google form, which logged all text submissions and gave each one a timestamp.

The form asked users for a short original text with a title: a poem the user wrote, an excerpt from an old term paper, a tweet, a dramatic monologue, surrealist ChucK code – anything. I received four submissions in this format:




11/13/14 02:16 PM

My Poetry Is (Sometimes) Better Than This

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I just passed the Turing test

How about you?

Using ChucK (example code from text 4), I generated music in a key and time signature determined by the information contained in the timestamp:

A more detailed view of the key signature mapping system (in 24-hour time; blue indicates minor scale):

These ChucK-generated chord progressions became the backbone of each section – I layered them in GarageBand and Audacity with spoken (text-to-speech by Wolf Paulus and Google Translate) renditions of the texts, as well as actual recordings of my voice and other live instruments. Although the backbone in each section was automatically generated, and part of the challenge of the project was to arrange these voices in a way that remained true to the feel of each text – without breaking too many of the algorithmic rules set by the timestamp – I took liberties with those rules when I thought it was warranted.

Here are the texts (click title to hear individual sections):



Your text

Your name (optional)

11/21/2014 07:59:44 (G Major, in 4)

Performance Prediction and Simulation

The hope is to someday run a predictor slightly ahead of real time and beat network delay. A `pretention' algorithm would allow synchronous, global performance. Like speech, the exquisite precision of trained performance and mastery of an instrument does not lead to an exactly repeatable performed musical surface with respect to note timings and other parameters. The goal is to achieve sufficient modeling capabilities to predict some aspects of expressive performance.

Chris Chafe

11/21/2014 11:41:51 (B Major, in 3)

The Burden of Reasoning

I am too logical for my own good.My analysis has trumped my heartOne too many times.It has left her pounding on the walls of my chestScreaming to be released into the spontaneity of the unknown.She has conceded every time,Allowing Warden Intellect to dictate her few hours of sunlight.At night, my heart writes love letters in her cell.They’re scrawled on her walls.The underside of my skin reads sweet as Neruda.Her bars, my ribs, are etched with her passions.In the morning, she slips a few into the hallways,Left there for the Warden’s guards to findThat they might show them to their wives.At least then, my heart’s rapture might escape the walls of logic.Maybe my love will still be unaware.Maybe those prison bars will spread out of meKeeping him at arm’s length.But the blood in my veins and the guards in her hallwaysWill carry my passion for meThat the burden of reasoning may be not liftedBut shared.

Matt Horton

11/21/2014 12:43:05 (C minor, in 4)


...the soft beach dress with no structure but the curves you lent it...

11/22/2014 12:30:40 (C minor, in 4)

Um dia em Aisa Tanaf

Levantei-me, passei em frente dela, toquei-lhe no joelho e fiz-lhe sinal indicando os meus ombros enquanto me sentava no mesmo banco mas de costas voltadas. Senti as mãos dela a passearem-se pelos músculos tensos, aquecendo-os. Esbocei um sorriso, quase um riso, quando ela ordenava “solta, solta”. Nunca sabia como relaxar os músculos voluntáriamente, mas o certo é que ao fim de algum tempo resultava.Por fim ela apertou-me os músculos dos ombros com força, como a querer magoar empurrando-me suavemente, e no meio do ruído impetuoso da àgua caíndo à nossa volta, sussurou-me ao ouvido, … “louco”. Levantou-se e sentou-se à minha frente a fitar-me, construíndo uma ponte invisível entre os meus olhos e os dela. Como um arco-iris, aquele olhar revelava um relacionamento profundo que havia entre os dois. Não amôr. Talvêz mais que isso.


Click here to hear the whole piece. Enjoy!