music

RPM 2012: Year Of King Richard

Occasionally, between the software, traveling, work and more work, I get a rare opportunity to play the drums. The call usually comes at the end of January, and has become the most welcome distraction in February in years. It’s The RPM Challenge In February 2011, Tim Alexander asked me to “play on a few tracks” for his Letter Seventeen album. I hadn’t had a chance to record in over a year, so I eagerly accepted and contributed a few tracks.…

Casio MG-510 Midi Guitar

Back when I documented the repair of the Casio PG-380 MIDI Guitar, I had no idea that this post was going to dominate the traffic patterns to my little home on the web. Fully 1⁄3 of all visitors to this site come to that post, asking questions, posting comments, and requesting repairs. One request I’ve gotten over and over is a repair on the Casio MG-510. The Casio MG-510 is like the little brother of the Casio PG-380.…

Coffee Sack Sound Baffles

Several years ago I began acoustically treating my studio for recording drums and mixing. I did some research and pricing; it didn’t take a spreadsheet to discover that acoustic paneling was both overpriced and hideous. I searched some more and devised a solution that was both economical and classy. Acoustic paneling is simple stuff. You get some kind of absorbent material, optionally covered with sonically neutral fabric, and hang it on a surface.…

The RPM Challenge and The Power of Constrained Creativity

It seems like there is a time-boxed challenge for everything out there on the internet. For writers there is NaNoWriMo, for moustache growers there is Movember. Game programmers have Dream.Build.Play. If you do it, there is a challenge for it, and if there isn’t, you can create one. I’ve always wanted to get involved with one of these little challenges, but find myself unwilling (or unable) to commit the time.…

STFUnity, GOLSequencer, and a Month of Home Repair

Well, it’s been a while so a big rambling update is probably in order here: First, the wife and I made the decision to go ahead with a kitchen remodel we’ve been planning for several years this last month (May). I know the last time I posted was March, but April was busy for other reasons. Other than a little wall arranging, we did the entire thing ourselves from demolition to crown molding.…

STFUnity: GOL Sequencer Bank, Sound Design, and New Music

I’ve undertaken a new musical collaboration with a very eclectic (and eccentric) group of guys called [STFUnity][1]. The project for me started when Bill mentioned putting together a completely virtual collaboration between he, Jason Blain, and myself. The idea was that rather than the traditional setting of getting a couple musicians in a room, rehearsing some material, then playing it live, we’d instead pass around a bunch of tracks and see where each member took the material.…

Cheap and Easy Speaker Stands

I built some speaker stands recently for the home studio. Rather than go through the trouble to add all the steps here, I just created an Instructable for it. You can find it here: DIY Speaker Stands for Cheap I got the original idea from these guys, but I thought they were a bit small so I scaled them up. Here is a picture of them setup in the studio:…

Converting 24PPQ Midi Sync in Java/Processing

I would be the first person to say that for the most part, MIDI is perfectly acceptable as an interface between musical devices, and has survived for as long as it has because of how dead simple it is. MIDI is still plenty fast, and in terms of interoperability, has yet to be bested. However MIDI does have its shortcomings, and while helping John Keston over at AudioCookbook with his Gestural Music Sequencer, I ran in to a big one.…

Processing Harmonic Table 01

UPDATE: This is no longer the latest version, I fixed some bugs for Mac users and reposted. To get the latest version click here. Since I don’t have a touchscreen to test this with, I’m releasing the 01 version with mouse functionality, along with a few GUI functions to change the midi out port and the starting note number. At some point I’ll get a tablet and add the touchscreen functionality, or if someone has a tablet I can pass the source code on and they can test/implement that functionality.…

Processing Harmonic Table: Part 2

Since the last post I’ve had to make far more changes than I expected. If you looked at the previous examples, there was using a loop to create the hex buttons, making translations to relative to other translations on the screen. In the process I completely lost track of the absolute position of the button, which basically made it impossible to detect the location of the mouse on the screen in order to tell which button I was pressing.…

Processing Harmonic Table: Part 1

Earlier this year while reading Harmonic Experience by W. A. Mathieu, I was introduced to the concept of lattices to represent tones, chords and keys. These lattices can be used to represent the basics of music composition in a visual way that makes more sense than standard scales on staffs. Here is an example: The lattice is effectively several staffs of music stacked on top of each other, so that the note can be displayed horizontally and vertically.…

Java Midi Reference Class

Lately I have been doing some work with Processing to create visuals from music. One of the concepts I’m working with is live visuals based on video feeds from cameras that are tracking the show, or band, or whatever. This alone would be enormously boring, so to heighten the experience, I thought of using the audio output of the show to control features of the video feeds, like playback speed, positions, color and hue, etc.…