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Après la pluie Trio

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Nice example, thanks.


This is a large OM program by any standard. I hope this program was written by hand and not auto-generated :-) 


I have a few questions for you (and other great composers here):

When faced with a composition task, how do you get started? Do you scribble some notations on paper and then refine it iteratively? How many iterations do you normally take?

Frankly, I can't even imagine myself writing such code!


I am asking these questions to gain an insight into the composer's mind. Coming from a s/w developer background, I am wondering if we can follow some modelling and design principles to propel us forward in this process of creativity. I am also sure there are good Design Patterns hiding in algorithmic composition, waiting to be discovered!


Thanks for being an inspiration to people like me!!




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Hi Rangarajan,


when composing, i always start in Opusmodus and do almost all in Opusmodus.

I use Score editor only in the very final phase of composition.

Because for me, the Opusmodus script is the Sketch of the piece and also the final piece. It is a bit like a stone in the hand of a sculptor, i start with an idea (rhythm, harmony, atmosphere, whatever...) and the vision of the piece emerge globally in my head and i try to render it in the Opusmodus script when writing the code by iterative successive refinement and more and more fine definition of what i want to hear and how to render it in a repeated loop between my imagination and the score script and Opusmodus output. But i need to precise what i often try to do with Opusmodus script is to define a musical relation between events and not necessary a fixed piece of music. For me the scipt is a model of my musical thinking and the script help me to output different instances of this thinking.


I think it is a training, typical from music composition (i suppose..), to have some idea and to learn how to develop this ideas and how to put this ideas and developments side to side in a global and coherent way in a full vision of the global form of the piece.


In my case, it took many years to gain this capability but Opusmodus can help a lot in the music composition knowledge acquisition process with his fast feedback loop between the user and the software.


For my part, i am not a good programmer, more a musician but i'm trying to progress in Lisp.

By the way, i have some question to ask to you about the Midi importation techniques in Opmo because your article on your blog was very interesting but it is not the place for this subject, it is another thread and i will write about it in the correct place 😉


Best regards



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Thank SB for that very interesting little description on how you work.


I'd like to share som tiny thoughts on my humble use of OM.


Today I do almost all in OM. My problem is that I seems to end up with tons of ideas but have to struggle a lot to finish anything.

Bits and pieces seems to be my destiny.

The nice part is that I do not have to finish anything so I am just having fun making all the fragments.

With a broad and diverse background in music and sound design I am happy to just investigate composition and different techniques with scales and melodies.

Opus Mudus is a fantastic tool for that.


So fun.




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I understand the challenges you are facing: "..end up with tons of ideas but have to struggle a lot to finish anything."


This is not unusual in an environment like OM where you have the flexibility of doing whatever you want through programming. Given that most musicians have comparatively less exposure to programming, expressing their musical ideas can be a bit of an uphill task. The good news is that Lisp is an extremely "malleable" programming language (some call it "programmable programming language") and it permits fascinating levels of freedom of expression. You can easily build higher levels of abstraction to suit your convenience of expression.


If you take OM, you will find "foundational primitives" that operate at a fairly low level, for example, gen-sine, vector-map, permute, etc. There is also a set of "compositional primitives" that operate at a higher level, for example, def-score, do-time-line, etc. I think as OM evolves, it will hopefully have more compositional primitives that allow musicians (like you) to glue together different ideas and compose music quickly, instead of operating at "foundational primitives" level.


If you are an advanced Lisp programmer, you can even roll out your own DSL (domain specific language) on top of Lisp inside OM! Maybe Janusz and his brilliant team are listening?


Hope I don't sound crazy!




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a critical statement...

i think by working with opusmodus (or PWGL or CM or whatever) there come up some "asthetical traps"...


#1 -> using the predefined "tools" (and not programming/thinking it for youself) could be like "cooking convenience food" (nice to produce fast and smart, but im my view not for ...)


#2 -> confound (?) the complexity of the algorithm with the "complexity of the musical structure" (inherent and historically) ... for example you can realize that in BOULEZ "répons"


#3 -> perhaps... you will only do, what the predefined "tools" can do


#4 ?




...whatelse could you imagine?






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Quite valid points I think.


I believe good tools/environments must provide multiple layers of usability. For the beginner, it is easy to experiment with basic concepts if the tool provides "canned" functionality. Next level is to be able to customise the "canned" functionality by tweaking some parameters. Ultimately, for the expert,the tool must give enough power to express his creativity, by delving deep into the system.


Finally, as I have expressed before, I would love to see a series of good books on Opusmodus, aimed at beginners and advanced practitioners! I am still having trouble understanding some of the aspects of def-score (just one of the many challenges). I am willing to toil till I get the concepts right! 


- Rangarajan

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...and of course...


how you want to work - what's important or not, if you have/want to to work fast or slow, if you are interested in tools/workflow - it depends on in which style/genre/... you are working in. of course it's different if you produce dance/filmmusic-tracks, if you want to imitate and explore "old styles" or if you are more into "avantgard-scene-music" (whatever that should be)... 


...but, i think it's interesting to think about such things.

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20 hours ago, lviklund said:


Today I do almost all in OM. My problem is that I seems to end up with tons of ideas but have to struggle a lot to finish anything.

Bits and pieces seems to be my destiny.



Lasse, i write many many unfinished Bits and pieces, and in past almost only that. 

Long time ago, when speaking with a friend, i said i never finish my piece but i said it was not to important because it was only training, but this friend reply: i understand but finishing a piece is also a training and finishing a piece is a different training than starting a piece....

From this day and discussion with that friend, i have started to finish some of my pieces :-)



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I think that it is very important to remember that, at least for me, I am myself my biggest critic. Good of course but also very destructible som times.


3 hours ago, Stephane Boussuge said:

finishing a piece is also a training and finishing a piece is a different training than starting a piece....


Yes indeed. Your friend is very wise :-).


Actually in my case I have done in the past a lot of composing even as a pro for many years but for now I just enjoy digging my bits and pieces....

Taking apart music by f.ex. Bartók with tools like OM and fiddle around with the snippets is very fun and you learn alot.

Using the sound of the blackbird as a blueprint for my new theme is very educational. The list of what you can do can be made very long.

The biggest problem is to find the time to do everything that is possible :-).


One more reflection is that when getting older and with better finances it is very easy to buy new gear and software.

Very fun but also very time consuming, so as said earlier in this thread, you have to make choices and decide on what tools to learn, what should be finished and so on.



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