Tutorial : Generative music in Live

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Angstrom
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Post by Angstrom » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:32 pm

Modular wrote:
You mention in your original post that you have 2 methods for creating this type of thing, one being midi and the other audio, do you think it would be possible to post an example of how you do it with audio inside Live??
Hi, the other ('audio') method is demonstrated in some sets in this thread

http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?p=675149#675149

I'll repost them here - the 'sound based' generative music sets


Nick the Zombie
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Post by Nick the Zombie » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:49 am

Wow, I've arrived extremely late to this thread but it's been a fantastic read!

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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by atom heart » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:46 pm

can 't download the live pack ?
is it lost?
nice tutorial though
Last edited by atom heart on Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Angstrom
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by Angstrom » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:03 pm

It should still be there,
I notice my host has been acting a bit weird this month, and it seems to be off at the moment.

so perhaps try again in a while

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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by atom heart » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:06 pm

thank you for the reply!

Deccan
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by Deccan » Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:55 am

Thanks for the post...stick

evnthrizn
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by evnthrizn » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:07 am

i know this thread is old, but it completely influenced a track i just created lol.

i wrote similar midi effect rack channels for a drum kit, some synths, a drum rack with a bunch of FFT samples, and a drum rack with vocals samples. i made about 10 different clips in the two sample drum racks each with follow actions set to any clip changing by every 1/16th note with a ratio of 1:0. the info you gave was not only helpful, it was fun to mess around with! thank you for the post!

tl;dr great post, made a new track because of it.

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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by atom heart » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:09 am

evnthrizn wrote:i know this thread is old, but it completely influenced a track i just created lol.

i wrote similar midi effect rack channels for a drum kit, some synths, a drum rack with a bunch of FFT samples, and a drum rack with vocals samples. i made about 10 different clips in the two sample drum racks each with follow actions set to any clip changing by every 1/16th note with a ratio of 1:0. the info you gave was not only helpful, it was fun to mess around with! thank you for the post!

tl;dr great post, made a new track because of it.

upload the track plz :)

ikeaboy
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by ikeaboy » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:02 am

I'm glad it was bumped I missed it first time round. Angstrom you the man!

evnthrizn
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by evnthrizn » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:40 pm

atom heart wrote:
evnthrizn wrote:i know this thread is old, but it completely influenced a track i just created lol.

i wrote similar midi effect rack channels for a drum kit, some synths, a drum rack with a bunch of FFT samples, and a drum rack with vocals samples. i made about 10 different clips in the two sample drum racks each with follow actions set to any clip changing by every 1/16th note with a ratio of 1:0. the info you gave was not only helpful, it was fun to mess around with! thank you for the post!

tl;dr great post, made a new track because of it.

upload the track plz :)
gladly :-D

http://soundcloud.com/cheynebush/every-number-a-color

the only things not "generative" are the bassline, the kick/snare, and the lead synth, the latter which is improvised.

dburns
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by dburns » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:01 am

I'm new to Live, and to generative music. Thanks for this tutorial!

I've been using some of HG Fortune's synths, but the sound quality of the Live instruments is much better.

I really appreciate having your examples to study, Angstrom.

Thanks!
Dave Burns
Lowell, MA

More equipment than skill.

krismkelley
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by krismkelley » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:53 am

Man I'm loving this stuff. This is the first piece of anything I've made that I felt like sharing. The guitar sounds disturbingly real.
Lemme know what you think please.

http://soundcloud.com/krismkelley/generativeguitar

atom heart
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by atom heart » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:52 am

krismkelley wrote:Man I'm loving this stuff. This is the first piece of anything I've made that I felt like sharing. The guitar sounds disturbingly real.
Lemme know what you think please.

http://soundcloud.com/krismkelley/generativeguitar
and its not???

friend_kami
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by friend_kami » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:06 pm

krismkelley wrote:Man I'm loving this stuff. This is the first piece of anything I've made that I felt like sharing. The guitar sounds disturbed.
Lemme know what you think please.

http://soundcloud.com/krismkelley/generativeguitar

fixed.

HECTORFELIX88
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Re: Tutorial : Generative music in Live

Post by HECTORFELIX88 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:16 pm

Oh that's very interesting...good stuff...but...but...impossible to download your live pack...does'nt work correctly...with a left or right click...ca u help me?? Thanx ...Hectorfelix88
there is a LivePack to download with four examples of varying complexity.
Image Download the Live Pack



Why make generative music, or get Live to make music for you?

Generative music is a different beast from making a track of your own, it is more like planting a garden.
In fact a generative piece is like a glorified wind chime, why do people have wind chimes rather than stand in the garden hitting aluminium themselves? Because the sounds are quite beautiful and can be suprisingly interesting, with a wide range of expression a generative peice will sustain interest for hours!

Live is quite a good environment for creating generative music and I have two methods to do so, an audio based method and a midi method.

I will focus on the more midi-oriented method here.
There are limitations to how far you can go with Live and generative music, but what you can achieve is entertaining.


How it is achieved in Live


To make generative music we need to make Live play or do something whenever a condition is met, we get flexibility by giving the program some freedom. Instead of saying "EVERY time a bar starts play a C minor chord", we want variation. An example might be "Sometimes play a chord (from a selection of chords) on either the first or third beat, and if you do then perhaps play one of these ralated chords after it, or perhaps think about playing this tune instead"

So now we have a random event which is constrained by a limited set of outcomes, it sounds passably like music.


Tools of the trade


Midi Devices
Random - togenerate random pitches
Scale - to make those pitches be less random
Velocity - to make random note start triggers
Pitch - to transpose phrases chords and notes
Note Length - to give variation to the note length
Chord - a variety of uses

Audio
AutoPanner - can be used for 'cross-fading' between one component and another
AutoFilter - similar but different
BeatRepeat - repeating random stuff makes it sound like you meant it!

obviously the other Live devices such as Reverb get used, but the above are the ones that are strictly 'generative'




Getting started - 'plinky plonk world'


Lets make a bad start!
Drop a Midi instrument on a track so you can hear what is happening during the exploration process, use a simple patch like an electric piano (or a Simpler with a triangle wave in) and give it a long release. At the start the output will sound pretty dull, trust me it gets better.

we need a timing pulse to begin with, I use a single midi C3 note in a session clip, I loop this on a quarter bar.

Image
This gives me a nice regular trigger at a 120bpm for the random events to take their cue from. Thats all the midi programming we will need done!


next we need to make that 'trigger' random
, to do this we use the Velocity device. Actually two velocity devices, like this

Image

The first takes the incoming repetitive note and randomizes the velocity.
The second one only lets notes through which fall in the selected velocity range.

This is the core concept of how we will select and filter random values in Live. How we can decide "do I do something, or not?"

In the image that range is from 0 to 59. You will see that I assign the range to a macro called 'chance'. Try this, it will soon become apparent what 'chance' does.
Remember to set the Velocity device to 'gate' mode.

You might notice I also set the 'random' high on the second Velocity - this is so that further down the chain I have a ready made scattering of random values to make use of for further filtering (you'll see!)

Now we need to make the pitches change, the most brutal way is to use the Random Device, simply dropping it in the rack after the Velocity section will give you an annoying random 'tune'.

Give it some pattern with the use of the Scale plugin, choose a nice preset or set your own if you know how ... and there you have your first very basic generative thing. A bit shit though isn't it. It plays random notes, they have random pitches which conform in a brutal way to a scale. It's a start. It's hardly music though.

Image




Make it sound more interesting

There are a few things about our example above which make it a bit dull, unpleasant and it just .. well, un-interesting.
It sounds very machine like in its random nature rather than musical, there is no tonal variance such as there might be in a human musical peice, there is no sense of drama, no sense of space or *cough* ambience. If we can simulate any of that, it would help.



Conditions of Interest

We used the velocity devices to set a 'condition', if the value is within a certain range the note sounds. We can expand this to become what programmers know as an 'if - else' conditional.

Image
Here we set two ranges, one produces one outcome, the other will produce another outcome.
This can help us get some drama and tonal variance in there, for example: by allowing any (random) value between 60 and 70 to trigger one chord, while anything between 70 and 80 might trigger a different chord.

Those are 'conditions' , when a condition is met an action is taken. To a programmer this might read as if (var>60 && var<70) { do this } else if(var>70 && var<80) {do that}

We can make our piece more interesting by cascading the variations, or to put it in English " if the value is between 60 and seventy then do either this chord or that chord, if you do that chord then consider these further three variations"

A second choice of conditions follows the first, cunning use of these cascades provides potentially musical output.


Cascading The Variations . You saw how I set a 'condition' with two Velocity plugins, and how we can set two different outcomes using 'if - else'. Now imagine dividing the random values up into many zones, this way you can create little themic areas.
You can start to go further down the fractal tree, each conditional zone can have a new random value generated to make new notes for itself. Each 'conditional zone' can be a different part of your song. The 'riff' , the 'bassline' , the 'chords' .
Each of them can watch a zone and do some more complicated 'riff' or 'chord' related actions anytime that rack is triggered by the main condition.

here we have the zones of a random seed divided into themes

Image

and in this example the watched zones are further divided to play notes of a riff, each riff note is also conditional. The cascade effect first decides if a note should play on a particular beat and then it decides which note from its small pallet of notes. Out of view here, a further conditional decides whether to transpose the eventual riff.

Image


This is making my brain hurt!

Although this sounds very technical, in fact (if you are anything like me) you will simply set up a few conditions and then add stuff where it seems right, until it makes a nice noise. Once you have an idea of the basic principles you can simply sculpt or garden yourself a tune in an ad-hoc manner. You will notice that my example files aren't exactly exemplary of order and fore-thought.
But it certainly helps to have some kind of plan!

I think that's enough to absorb for now.
So, here are some example files



Examples

Zawinul - a complex peice which should sustain a lengthy listen
Harpist - an example of riffs riffing away
Experimentaloid - a more simple example
Infinity Plus one - more of the same.

Image Download the Live Pack[/quote]

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