|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN826 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
Composition tools - Music generators
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Basic principle [Professional] [Composition Pro]
The music generator is an object that can be created, modified and manipulated inside a document or in the library. Its purpose is to generate scores that can be used as building blocks in a music composition. The scores created are displayed like other scores, inside the node of the music generator and they may be seen, played and used by dragging and dropping them inside your composition. All kinds of criterias can be given to construct a music score generator and to influence the type of scores that will be generated. Let us start with a practical example.
- Open the Ex086 example in configuration 2, examples folder. You can see the following:
The icon with some circles in it is the music generator icon. Its name is here Random notes. This generator has been designed to create 10 series of 7 random notes taken from the set [ C3 - D3 - E3 - F3 - G3 - A3 - B3] with each note being used only once in a given score.
- To see the generated scores, click on its "+" sign, in front of the icon. You get:
- Use the method explained previously to see the content of each of these scores (drag the mouse over the blue background icons and see the content displayed in the main part of the conductor view; click on it to hear it play). You have for instance the first score:
The exact content may be different on your computer, because the scores are generated on a random basis. But each score will have 7 notes, in random order, with each of the 7 notes being used only once.
As compared to the normal scores that are used in a document, the icon of these generated scores have the same icon (2 notes with opposite stem directions) but with a blue background to differentiate them. These scores are only potential scores and they are in fact generated "on the fly" when you drag and drop them or when you display them as above.
- Double-click on the music generator icon (or click with the right mouse button and select the Modify... menu item). The music generator definition dialog box appears:
This generator contains one musical structure represented by its main icon (top left) and it contains 7 scores, each one being a simple score with one specific note in it. The parameters you see on the right part of this window determine how the 7 scores will be used in that main musical structure. We will explain these parameters and the musical structures in the remainder of this lesson.
The musical structure [Professional] [Composition Pro]
A music generator is built on two basic blocs. The musical structure and the score. A musical structure may contain one or more scores and/or other musical structures.
A musical structure is like a folder. It can contain other folders and also scores. But it also has properties that determine how its content will be combined.
The scores used in a musical structure are only links to existing scores in the library. As you will see in a future lesson, the basic library of Pizzicato contain notes, chords, rhythms and various combinations of them. They form the basic elements of music and they can then be used in music generators to build more sophisticated music materials.
To use a score from the library inside a music structure is quite easy: you just drag and drop it from the tree library into the structure as displayed here above. Indeed, this dialog is not modal. You do not need to close it to continue to work with Pizzicato. You may even open several music generators and drag and drop scores and musical structures from one to the other.
We will create a new music generator that has the following purpose: create all combinations of drum scores, each one having some patterns of bass drum, cymbal and snare drum.
- Close the music generator dialog. In the library, go inside the My library folder (in configuration 3). If the document named Tests is not in it (you should have created it in a previous lesson), then create it by clicking on the My library folder with the right mouse and select the New document... item. Name it Tests and expand its node (with the "+" sign in front of it).
- Right-click on the Tests document and select the New music generator... item. You get:
- Double-click the music generator icon. An empty music structure is shown in the main part of the dialog:
- When a music structure is selected (in blue), the corresponding parameters are displayed in the right part of the dialog. As this first music structure is the main structure (the one that will contain all others), the following parameters are displayed. They are applicable for the music generator itself and they will not appear for the sub-structures that we will create in a moment:
Here are the explanations:
- The Calculate button may be used to generate the scores and update them in the library node, without the need to close this dialog box. This is useful to test the results of the music generator you are designing.
- The Sorting menu is used to specify how the various scores will be presented. According to how it is designed, a music generator may generate thousands of scores in one shot. You can sort them in sub-folders of 100, by the number of notes that are generated in the score or with no sorting at all. With the second choice, it means that Pizzicato will for instance create a sub-folder that contains all the scores generated that contain only one note, a score for two notes, three notes,...
- As the combinations may be innumerous, you may specify to Pizzicato that it has to stop after generating the Maximal number of results. If you keep this value equal to 0, Pizzicato will limit it to its internal capabilities as needed.
- If there is any random choice inside one of the musical structures of this generator, and if the Random sequence base number is equal to 0, the results will each time be different, as the random number generator used internally will use the computer clock value to start the random sequence. If you specify a fixed number in that box, it will use it as its root, so that the random sequences will be the same each time.
- The next two text boxes are used to specify the time signature used in the generated scores.
For this example, we will leave these parameters to their default values.
- The following part of the dialog displays the parameters that are relevant to a musical structure:
Here are the explanations:
- The Name text box is used to specify a name to the musical structure. The name of the main musical structure is used as the name of the music generator. The name of an internal musical structure may be used to remind you what each sub-structure means in your design, but it is optional.
- The next popup menu is very important. It will determine how the scores and sub-structures placed inside this structure will be combined to create a musical content used in the generated scores. To figure out the following possibilities, just imagine that 7 scores of one note each are put in this musical structure, as it was the case in the first example seen in this lesson. Here are the possible choices:
- Full sequence: the items placed inside this musical structure are used in the exact order.
- Inverted sequence: the items placed inside this musical structure are used in the reverse order.
- Sequence of N item(s): the items are used as a sequence of N item(s). In this case and the following containing N, the value of N may be specified with an additional text box that appears below the popup menu when you select that option. Pizzicato will compute all possible sequences that contain N items.
- Sequence of N item(s) w/o doubles: same, but the sequence may contain each item only once.
- Random sequence of N item(s): N item(s) will be used, taken randomly
- Random sequence of N item(s) w/o doubles: N item(s) will be used, taken randomly but each item may only be used once.
- Simultaneous playing: In all the previous cases, the items were used in sequence, which means that they will be played one after the other. In this case, all items will be played simultaneously.
- Simultaneous playing of N items: In this case, N item(s) will be played simultaneously. Pizzicato will work out all possible combinations of N item(s).
- Simultaneous playing of N random items: Same, but the set of N item(s) will be choosen in a random way.
- Exact rhythmic combinations: All possible sequences of the rhythmic values of the items will be analysed and only the ones with the exact total duration will be used. The duration is the one specified below the Maximal total duration title in the above dialog (see further).
- Exact rhythmic combinations w/o doubles: Same, but one item may only be used once in any combination.
- N notes combinations: All possible sequences of the items will be analysed and only the ones with the exact total number of notes will be used. N is specified in the same way as above.
- N notes combinations without doubles: Same, but each item may only be used once in a combination.
- The Maximal number of staves will limit the number of staves put in the generated scores. This may affect the score if there is a Simultaneous playing option used.
- Domino effect and Start and stop are respected are two options used in a very specific case. The purpose is to create sequences of items (chords or notes) based on elementary sequences. For instance, take some basic sequences of chords that are respectively [C - F], [F - G], [G - C], [C - G], [G - A],.. For each sequence, we create a sub-structure containing the two individual chords. For the main structure, we may check the Domino effect and use the Sequence of N item(s). The program will then try to find all possible combinations of these basic chord sequences and place them in such a way that the last chord of one sequence will always be followed by a sequence that begins with that same chord, like a domino game. The Start and stop are respected check box will force Pizzicato to start the sequence with the first sequence and end it with the last one. This principle may also be applied to create all kinds of melodies that start with one specific note and finish on another specific note. Pizzicato may then compute all possibilities of combinations of the basic melodic sequences that you should put in the main musical structure. This is quite experimental work for advanced users... don't worry!
- In the Maximal total duration, you can specify the number of measures, beats and units (one quarter note is 480 units) used as a maximum for any results coming from that musical structure. If you keep it to 0, no maximum will be used.
- The Use all items ... time(s) is used to specify that the all set of items will be used more than one time. After the last item is used, Pizzicato starts again with the first item.
- The Use each item ... time(s) is used to specify that each individual item will be used more than one time. The first item will be used several times before the second item will be used.
- The next two text boxes are used to multiply / divide the durations of the items. They are only applied to rhythmic values.
- The Time flow may be normal or inverted. In the last case, the results are played backwards.
- Transposition : all notes and chords are transposed by so much half tones. When used on chords, positive values will be interpreted with sharps and negative values with flats (at least when there is an ambiguity like C# or Db).
- For this example, select the Simultaneous playing in the popup menu, set the name to Drums and leave all other options as they are. The left part of the generator displays:
The node is shown with its name and the type of combination that has been selected.
A structure inside a structure [Professional] [Composition Pro]
In our example, we want all combinations of basic rhythmic patterns of three percussion instruments. That is why we selected the Simultaneous playing as in each combination, we need one pattern of each instrument, played at the same time. We will now create a new musical structure for each instrument.
- Right-click on the main node in the left part of the generator dialog box and select the New musical structure... menu item. The display becomes:
- Click on the Full sequence node so that the parameters of this new musical structure will appear to the right. Select the Sequence of N item(s) and leave N to 1 by default.
- We will now drag and drop some cymbal patterns inside this musical structure. Open the library folders on the left of the conductor view, so as to have:
- One after the other, drag the Cymbal 1, Cymbal 2,... Cymbal 9 scores ON the Sequence of 1 item(s) node inside the music generator. You will finally have:
- Right-click on the main node of the generator dialog box and select the New musical structure... menu item again. Another musical structure is created. Click on that new node so that the parameters of this new musical structure will appear to the right. Select the Sequence of N item(s) and leave N to 1 by default. Then drag the 8 first prepared patterns that you will find in the Snare drum library folder:
- and put them ON the new node of the generator and you get:
- You may now do the same with the third instrument. Create a new musical structure in the main node and drag the 9 first Bass drum patterns found in the Bass drum - Prepared patterns library folder. Your generator now contains the following structures:
Parameters of a score [Professional] [Composition Pro]
- When you drag a score inside a structure, some parameters are also associated with it and apply for that score alone. Click on the first score of the generator, named Cymbal 1. The left part of the dialog displays the following:
- The first parameters are exactly the same as explained for the musical structures, except that they only apply to that specific score.
- The last 4 check boxes are used to specify which aspects of the score are used in this music generator. You may independently select to use the rhythmic values, the notes, the chords and/or the instruments specifications. The aspects that are selected will be used within the musical structure it is included in.
Here are some other operations that you can use while working with the music generator:
- Right-click a score or a music-structure and a menu item lets you delete it.
- You can drag a musical structure from its position to another musical structure, for instance to include it in it. The same holds true between two different music generator dialog boxes. You can then take a musical structure that you have created and use it in another context in another music generator.
- When you navigate through the library, you can drag and drop scores inside a musical structure but you may also drag and drop a group of scores. If you hold down the CTRL key while doing this, Pizzicato will automatically create another musical structure and copy all the scores that are in it. Otherwise, the scores of the group will be added to the target musical structure.
- You can display and play a score from inside the music generator dialog box, just like you can in the library. Move the mouse over the score and click to hear it.
Now let us see what is the practical result of our experimentation...
The generated scores [Professional] [Composition Pro]
- Close the music generator dialog box. In the My library folder, inside the Tests document, you may see the following:
- If you did it exactly as described until here, Pizzicato has generated 648 scores (= 9 x 8 x 9) of drums. All combinations have been created, that combine one of the cymbal patterns, one of the snare drum patterns and one of the bass drum patterns. You may now display them one by one if you want and hear them playing. Pizzicato has placed these scores in series of 100 in various sub-folders. If you find some that are interesting, you can drag and drop them in your library folder to use them later in a composition. Or you can just use them directly from that generator.
- Be aware that the scores you drag inside the music generator are only references to the original scores. If you modify the original score and use the generator again, the resulting scores will follow the new content of the original scores.
This example is quite simple and shows the power behind this kind of tool. With some more imagination, you will be able to create very interesting musical structures for oriented random melodies, rhythmic patterns, instrumental setups, chords progressions and many more combinations of all the basic music blocks available in the Pizzicato library. Don't forget that you can also create scores and use them in the music generators. Possibilities are innumerous. You just need to imagine and put it in practice with the composition tools of Pizzicato.