Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Presets and Performances

A comment today from a Twitter friend got me thinking. He said that he did not like presets because they limited his creativity. I guess I can see where that might be true but in many ways, I am moving in a very different creative direction.

First, let me explain how I write music. First, I get an idea and then, I think of the synthesizers I could use to create it. Then I start programming by working with an existing preset and tweaking it or in some cases, developing and idea from scratch. Then I record one layer and repeat the process.

My compositions are often not complex horizontally. What I mean by this is that they are not long and have a lot of part to them. This is fact is my greatest self criticism and is what is going to get me to the presets and beyond.

Once of the reasons that I don't have a lot of parts to a composition is that it's hard to see the whole. I think the reason is that I have to break everything up. I am not playing it at the same time. So is this even possible. Yes, I think so. One way is to use presets and to change them with my feet. This way I can go from one movement to the next. I even want to use a Switchblade matrix router so that I can even change things like effects routing paths on the fly. I also want bass pedals so I can play bass with my feet much like an organists.

So my two paradigms that I am using to create a different type of studio are based on the pipe organ and the other based on the Orchestra. In many ways, these are the same things. But think of a symphony for a moment. A composer can change directions from one measure to the next simply by using different instruments in a different way. Now of course, the composer is not doing this in real time but imagine he/she could. With the type of electronic instruments we have today it's possible to perform works in real time.

It got a whole lot from listening to another Twitter friend, Mark Mosher, at the Electro Music festival for 2010 who was able to perform his works in real time by using various controllers and Ableton Live. The whole experience got me out of the paradigm I used before of piecing music together.

Now a pipe organ fits the paradigm as well. An organ can change while its being placed with stops.

So I now see composition as setting up a performance space and then using this space to create a composition in real time without stopping. Different settings of synths can be programmed to controllers and different presets also programmed and changed using foot switches or buttons.

So that is the direction I am going in. I just wanted to throw it out there and hopefully get a few comments back. I would very much appreciate responses.

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