Ideas & Tools

Updated 2018-03-29

These are my key ideas and tools for composing art music in the 21st century. As short and concise as possible. Some ideas still need to be fleshed out.

Algorithm [idea]
An algorithm is an iterated and/or nested set of calculations designed to achieve a specific goal. It is the mathematical form of a machine and thus the ancestor of all Artificial Intelligence.
Composition [idea]
Conceptual Art [idea]
General MIDI (GM) [tool]
An industry standard for digital sound devices published in 1991 that arbitrarily defines a list of instruments called "programs". It also defines how many programs can be played simultaneously. There are 16 channels available, whereas channel 10 is reserved for samples with a percussive character.
Improvised Music [idea]
Microtonality [idea]
In classical Western music, the octave is divided in 12 equal parts (12 tone equal temperament or 12TET). In other music cultures, e. g. in the Arabic world, there are different divisions. Some of these tunings are using scales with other intervals than the usual semitone, e. g. three-quarter tones. These tunings are called microtonal.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) [tool]
An industry standard protocol published 1983 defining how data is exchanged between music-related digital hard- or software (e. g. sound cards, synthesizers, sequencer software).
Sample Library [tool]
An organized and systematic collection of pre-recorded tones, loops, and phrases of a certain real instrument that can be triggered by a Standard MIDI File. Sample Libraries are also sometimes called Soundfonts or Virtual Instruments.
Standard MIDI File (SMF) [tool]
A thread of control data using the MIDI protocol to trigger a Sample Library. A SMF doesn't contain sound. It is like a paper roll for a player piano. There are two relevant SMF formats: Type 0 and Type 1. These don't affect the sound the SMF triggers, but only the way the data is organized within the SMF. There are three important types of MIDI messages: Program Change (PC), Note On/Off and Control Change Messages (CC). While a PC determines the instrument to be used, Note On/Offs trigger the pitches and determine their velocity and duration. CCs are managing all other musical parameters needed like the status of the sustain pedal, the panorama position of an instrument or its relative volume in the mix.