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Author David Luebbert
Posted 11/22/06; 11:27:24 PM
Topic The purpose ?
Msg# 5054 (in response to 5050)
Prev/Next 5053/5055
Reads 684


My purpose in creating the site is to provide musical materials and software tools to help visitors compose, improvise, study and perform music.

I'm impressed that you were able to enter a three chord progression into your Workscore a few minutes after you became a member of the site. You stopped and sent your note just when you could have gotten into some very interesting work using some of the other Workscore editing pages of the SongTrellis site.

I've peeked into your Workscore as you left it, and copied that material into my own Workscore (nobody else on the site has that capability, but I do as the SongTrellis webmaster). You entered a C chord, C#mi7 chord and a F#7Alt chord into your score as whole note duration chords in 4/4 time.

The first thing you could have done would have been to press the "Submit To SongTrellis Harmony Projects" button which would have allowed you to send your proto-score to your listing in the SongTrellis Harmony Projects.

I've just submitted my current Workscore contents containing a copy of your chords as the Nigel's chords project in the Harmony Projects. This is listed under the Luebbert,David projects. If you had submitted your Workscore, a new project listing would have been created for "Nigel".

In the project page for Nigel's chords, you could have followed the SongTrellis Excerpt Service link for this project. Here you could have displayed the score for your project in a transposed form for an instrument that does not play in concert key. You could have also transposed the sequence to a new key. For either of these you would just change the setting of a popup menu and pressed the Play menu. After the new sequence or score was presented to you on playback you could have downloaded this new material to your computer's hard disk.

If your project had been a bit more complex you could have selected a range of bars from that and asked that only that part of your score be played. You could have auditioned this smaller piece of a larger progression and copied that (in transposed form if necessary) to the end of your workscore using the "Add Excerpt Chords" button. You could have performed this copy operation on any of the scores which provide Excerpt Service links (every Harmony project and 99% of the scores presented in The Changes section of the site).

These three chords you've entered sound like they could be the beginning of an interesting harmonic phrase. You could have used the Chord Entry By Grid page to audition a number of ways that you could have extended your original idea. Because the score could have been posted to the Harmony Projects, you might have enlisted more experienced collaborators who might have helped you find a cool way to extend the idea.

 I did use the Chord Entry By Grid page for ten minutes and discovered five new chords to extend your original idea out to an eight bar phrase. I auditioned a number of different chord types built on the twelve possible chord roots to find interesting sounding chords that lead from what was already recorded in the score into to new harmonic areas. After I added a new chord at the end of my score I used the Chord Grid again to discover the next chord that I cared to use.

I eventually decided that adding a Fmi9-Fmi(Ma7)-Bb7sus(b9)-Ebmi11-D Ma7 sequence created a phrase that looped back to the chords you began with. If I had worked for another half an hour I most likely would have found three or different progression with different musical character that I would have liked as much.

 Now I switched to using the Workscore Composer page which provided me with great tools to help me invent a new melody over this progression.

I first clicked on the Rhythm Pattern radio button in the topmost control grouping that is displayed to the left of my score in this page and then selected the "Serah Bell" rhythm pattern (an African bell pattern which I like a lot) from the Rhythm Pattern dropdown menu in this group to select the rhythm source that determined the note durations for the first two phrases I created for the piece.

 I then pressed the "Improvise New Idea" button to cause the web page to invent a new melody fragment over my chords that I might consider adding to my score. I actually liked the melody that was generated for me quite a bit which used the durations contributed by the "Serah bell" rhythm, but didn't like the last two notes that were proposed to end this nearly two bar phrase.

I used the Delete button in the second control group on the left to eliminate those notes, and added two rests in their place using the Insert New Rest button, and added a third so that my second phrase would begin in the middle of the first beat of bar three of my score.

I pressed "Improvise New Idea" to generate a second phrase based on Serah Bell. I didn't like this second generated phrase much, so I entirely erased it, and pressed "improvise New Idea" a third time, which created a worthy second phrase.

Next I added three rests using Serah Bell durations, and switched to eighth triplet durations to be my rhythm source. Over the next eight or nine minutes, I repeatedly used "Improvise New Idea" occasionally deleting entire ideas or parts of ideas to finally compose the last four eighth note triplet phrases of my little eight bar melody. After I decided that I liked each of the new phrases, I guessed how much I wanted to rest before I started the idea before I started the next improvised phrase.

If you think that you can top what I invented over this progression, you could use the SongTrellis Excerpt Service link in the Nigel's chords Harmony Project to copy the chords to your own workscore and compose your own melody using the Workscore Composer page.

I don't know of commercially available software that lets you compose in this manner much less a website which provides this capability.

 There's many other methods available in this set of control groups on the left side of the SongTrellis Composer page that give you a great chance of finding musically satisfying notes to add to your melody.

There are controls which will add notes that are the the next chord tone or scale tone up or down from your last melody. Using these two groupings you can scribble out an interesting melodic contour which will have an excellent chance of fitting well with the underlying chord progression you've borrowed or invented for your piece.

You can chose pitches from the accompanying scale, by specifying the scale step number of the next notes to enter.

 If you are entering notes from an existing score, you can type in the octave number in which those notes will appear, and the names of the notes which will be added to the score.

If you want to enter your melody by specifying the melodic interval which takes you to the next pitch, you can select the size of the interval and add the next note using it.

 After you've entered a note using any of these operators, you can revise it by tranposing it up or down by a half step or octave interval.

There's tremendous power for musical invention available on this page and I want to teach people how to tap this for their own purposes. I've not yet done a very good job of introducing these ideas, but I have confidence that I will as time goes on.

You should take a look at the link for the SongTrellis Music Editor which appears on nearly every SongTrellis page. The SongTrellis Music Editor for Macintosh is really the missing piece which explains the whole of the puzzle.

This link details a lot of the editing and composing features that are available in the software that performs the editing requests that you make for Workscores.  The edits requested are performed by a copy of the SongTrellis Editor which runs in the SongTrellis  server cluster.

The SongTrellis Editor is a Macintosh application that runs on OS X . It is still being beta tested. If you or anyone else would like to join the test, please send me mail and I can get you started with this software if you agree with the beta test license terms. The editor provides score animations and instant audiovisual feedback at a finer grain which make it possible to create music in the editor much easier than is possible using the website's Workscore pages.

With best regards,

I am your uppity (but obedient) servant,
Dave Luebbert

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Last update: Thursday, November 23, 2006 at 12:19 AM.