Liquid Notes, the “intelligent composing assistant,” has been updated to add its own library of instruments and a track assignment editor.
Liquid Notes is an app that integrates “music intelligence” algorithms based on the theory of harmony: chords, scales/melody, and harmonic movement. These algorithms assist the user during the music production workflow: from finding the basic chord progressions to applying complex multi-track alterations to a composition.
The library includes basic instruments, ranging from percussion to bass, leads, pads, mallets, classical instruments, and a variety of other sounds. The addition comes in handy when composing without connecting to a sequencer, as the new features allow the user to work without one.
Eric Ross’s Composing For the Theremin is an interesting and concise article that reviews the unique challenges and opportunities of writing music for the theremin:
To write for the theremin effectively one should know its strengths and weaknesses.
The theremin is a monophonic instrument; which is to say, it can only produce one pitch at a time. It has about a five-and-a-half octave range. Its low range can sound like a cello or string bass, mid range to upper range can be vocal-like and the top end is brilliant and piercing. But with effects or MIDI you can extend both the range and timbre of the instrument.
Theremins work on the principle of heterodyning?that is, mixing the output of two radio frequency oscillators to produce a beat. When this frequency is over 50 Hz or so, an audio signal is produced which is then amplified.
The theremin is played by changing the alternating magnetic fields that surround two antennae. The resultant waveform is variable. One hand controls pitch, the other volume.
The theremin is difficult to play well. There’s no keyboard or fret board for reference. Spatial perception is only part of it. One must have a good ear, since ear training certainly helps in hitting the intervals correctly. It’s important to be relaxed physically and concentrated mentally to hear the note before it is played. You’ll need to make the right adjustments instantaneously to hit the note cleanly in the center of the pitch. There are several different styles and finger work that can be used to do this. Some players concentrate on the right hand which produces pitch, but the left hand which controls the volume and attack is equally important. In a way, the right hand is the artisan and the left hand is the artist.
Create a piece of music using only one piece of gear
Don’t use MIDI
Eschew polyphony. Think contrapuntally.
Create ten new sounds
Transcribe a piece of music/make something exactly like….
Buy yourself a gift – very often a new toy is inspirational.
Consult Eno’s Oblique Strategies.
You’ll have to visit Davidson’s site for the full list, but here’s my vote for number 9:
Do Something Wrong
It seems like a lot of the most important ideas in electronic music come out of people either naively or intentionally doing things “wrong” – things like twiddling 303 knobs to create acid basslines, ambient music’s use of “guitar” effects on piano, Eno’s use of asynchronous tape loops, glitch music’s exploration of “broken” sound and Reich’s use of phased repetition.
What can you do that’s “wrong”?
Let me know if you’ve got other ideas to help get inspired.
Electronic Musician has released their latest podcast:
Film-and-TV composer Ramin Djawadi talks about his score for the hit movie Ironman, and comments on examples from it. He also discusses working in Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control complex, the differences between film and TV composing, and more.
What’s New: Len Sasso looks at Rob Papen’s Predator synth, two new versions of Native Instruments Guitar Rig, and Haunted House Records’ Electronic Critters, a sampling DVD of circuit-bent childtren’s toys.