This a piece I've been working on in Pure Data for the past several days. Only a couple minute together (tentatively) as of yet, but I'm eager for feedback, hopefully critical on anything. Especially interested in how people view the sound design of the various voices...

Thanks in advance for any comments!
-Zack

WIP "Green Glass" Intro

New version uploaded - gently randomized timbres for a more "alive" sound, as well a few new minutes of content.

"Green Glass" WIP Intro 2.0

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  • What source material (samples / synths / whatever) are you using? Spectral music is always fun, but your piece is basically killed by all the long notes being extremely lifeless.

  • Everything I'm doing is just straight up single sine wave generation. Additive synthesis with Pure Data. (It's like Max, but open source.)

    So, there are no samples, and not what most people would consider synths either. Every sound is just a combination of sine waves. Hence, the lack of organic variation in the long "notes," as you say. Something I definitely have to look into...

    It's been bugging me, but I'm not very skilled at coding, so I haven't figured out a good way to introduce irregularity and uncertainty into the pitches yet, short of coding infinitesimal pitch and amplitude variations, etc. I'm lazy enough to hope there's a workaround! Also, my computer is struggling to keep up as it is, without all the added processing that would mean.

    One thing in favor of the consistency of the pitches, is that this piece has been in large part about voicing a harmony, and then shifting the pitches eeeever so slightly, just a few Hz here and there, and listening to the wide array of timbral and phase variations it makes... With organic instruments, aside from not having that level of control, that stuff just doesn't really come through.

    I love the feel of grasshoppers, cicadas, chainsaws, passing airplanes, etc, that droning, harmonic-rich field of, well, drone-y-ness... Hoping to get some of that in there.

  • Nifty piece. I like the gradual changes such as between 1:10 and 1:20.

  • Not much I can constructively add about a piece like this one, but whatever was happening at around 1:35 to 1:40, and then again at around 1:51 to 2:00, I really enjoyed.

  • It's been bugging me, but I'm not very skilled at coding, so I haven't figured out a good way to introduce irregularity and uncertainty into the pitches yet, short of coding infinitesimal pitch and amplitude variations, etc. I'm lazy enough to hope there's a workaround! 

    I'm not very familiar with Pure Data (I've looked at it a couple times, but never coded in it myself), but a very general approach I've used in other signal-level coding situations to try to get texturall variation is to just hook a random generator up to some other parameter of the signal. You can get some interesting stuff using basically stretched-out white noise (or some other distribution) to control things like frequency and amplitude modulation. It has to be subtle though and not modulate too fast/slow, otherwise it can end up sounding like noise on top of the other signal (rather than like variation within it) or like a slide whistle in the other extreme. 

    EDIT: oops! Top part of my originally written comment got cut off when I tried to paste in the quote, sorry. I meant to say I like what you did with "Green Glass." I don't find the long notes to be a problem at all; not everything has to be fast. Personal taste I guess. 

  • That's a pretty good angle of attack, using a noise generator to modulate a periodic signal. I just don't know how to ode it. YET.

    Regarding long notes: long pitches and harmonies are the reason I enjoy this type of music, so I wouldn't ditch them. I don;t think Greg Brus had a problem with the duration, just the consistency of the signal. I mainly agree with him. Pure Data can pretty much do ANYTHING you want, given the signal-flow and coding knowledge. Right now, I'm at the stage where, with patience, I can approximate what I want to write...


  • Zack, it's sounding good. Thanks for the post.

  • I've managed to re-code all the current material with some veeerry subtle, smooth randomized variations to pitch, timbre, and amplitude. Took some planning and busy-work, let me tell you! I'll have to restart my computer to get a clean take, but then I should be able to re-post, and see if you guys think it's a noticeable improvement, in terms of "liveness" of the sound.

  • I'll re-listen and give you my thoughts, thanks.

  • Hi Zack, I'm not really very familiar with this 'sound ' as a musical genre,

        but to my ear it's simply ' special effects ' and doesn't do much for me

        so to speak. Keep working at it and maybe it will lead to something

        unique and substancial.      happy harmonies      Roger

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