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Author David Luebbert
Posted 6/27/13; 9:16:22 PM
Msg# 5962 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next 5961/5963
Reads 447366

I have a need to tell you about Tonematrixes

I need you to know that visitors to the SongTrellis site are able to create original music using a Tonematrix web page, many times a few moments after they have seen how it works.

Two tiny testimonials

Testimony #1

My own experience using the SongTrellis tonematrix page is that I always find a new idea that I want to keep every time I have a chance to use it for a few minutes. This, for example, was a three minute effort created this afternoon as I completed this page.

And once I find a new idea, I know that I can vary it in more ways than I can keep track of.

Visit this page, go to the bottom, and start the last MIDI controller on the page. This page shows submissions from last to earliest. You'll see and hear my original tonematrix idea.

Now work your way back toward the top, listening to each track. These are all variations I created using controls on the Tonematrix page. There's one matrix image that changes the tonematrix tempo and then two that vary the instrumentation for the animation. The next three tracks higher on the page were made by changing the pitch assignments of the tonematrix rows, which produces entirely different melodies which maintain the shape of the originals. The last two were created by shifting the original tonematrix pattern down and then up in their grid,

All of these variations were created by changing a control setting on a tonematrix page, and then pressing a button to generate a changed performance. Usually that's a 10 or 15 second process.

Pretty much everyone who's browser is setup to play MIDI files, will be able to play this Tonematrix generated music. If you click on any of the grid images on that page, the tonematrix loop corresponding to that gird image will play, provided you have a QuickTime Version 7 player plugin installed on your system. This link will explain why this software is currently necessary to run a tonematrix animation.

Testimony #2

In the last week, I've seen a 4 year old write their first piece of music after being shown the interface. Even after I had studied music for years as an adult, I never had an expectation that I'd be able to easily write a pleasing small piece as quickly as he did. Now that I use tonematrixes, that's always my expectation.

When I saw him the next day, he asked "Can I play that game with red and green squares again"? I was confused at first because I wasn't used to thinking of a tonematrix in that way.

What is thees thing, what you call it, a tonematrix?

A Tonematrix is a rectangular grid, a kind of music production tool displayed on a webpage, that performs a piece of music in a loop, as soon as one of the tonematrix grid squares is turned on via a mouse click.

A person who touches a Tonematrix interface for the first time, is likely to experience an interesting musical result as soon as they make their first mouse clicks in an empty, newly created Tonematrix.

Once they've been primed with a small number of hints, it's in their power to complete a musical sounding composition a few moments later.

The URL that launches a new Tonematrix is:

There's a "Tonematrix" link that appears in the link bar at the top of most pages on SongTrellis that will launch that.

Here are the hints:

1) Choose a grid square in the Tonematrix and click on it. The background of that selected square will change to be colored red in order to show that it now contributes a sound to the Tonematrix loop, and the loop will begin to play. When it's time for your chosen grid square to play its part in the loop, it's color will change to green for as long as it sounds.

If you click on a colored cell, you silence it and its color changes back to white to show that it no longer contributes to the loop.

Here's the lay of the land in a tonematrix, before we continue with hints 2, 3 and 4:

Squares that are in upper rows of the grid produce a high sounding pitch. Those that are in lower rows of the grid will produce lower sounding pitches. As you move lower in the grid, lower pitches sound. Grid squares on the same row will play the same preassigned pitch. There's an exception to this rule that will let you reach up or down to pitches that lay between the row pitch assignments, if you feel the need.

Squares in columns on the left will sound before squares that are farther to the right in the grid. All cells in the same column start and stop at the same instants and play for the duration that's been preset for that column. The instant that column's time slice is exhausted and its cells stop playing, its neighbor to the right starts any turned on any turned on cells it has. As soon as the last column stops, the matrix first column plays to restart the loop

Back to the hints

2) Now choose a square to the left or right of your first choice in a different row, and click there. You'll have created a two pitch melody that continually loops. If you've placed your two pitches in non-adjacent columns, click on some square in one of the empty columns that were left between your originally selected squares, in a different row than your first two choices. If the squares you clicked on first are in adjacent columns, click on another square before or after those.

3) Listen to the three pitch melody you've recorded in your tonematrix, if you don't like how that new pitch feels in combination with with your original two pitch choices, turn that square off by toggling it off with a mouse click and click on a square in a different row of the column.

It may be that you enjoy the sensation added to your piece by your last mouse click, but the pitch that this turns on, seems like it is sounding either too early or too late in your loop for your taste. In that case, toggle off your last choice, and click on an earlier or later square in the same row. Remember: all squares in the same row of a tonematrix sound the same pitch.

4) Turn on as many pitches in the Tonematrix grid as you need to, until you've created a loop that you enjoy listening to.

If you have questions, ask them here

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Last update: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:51 PM.