Ableton Composition

Here is my first composition in Ableton!

I’m so proud :) I have fought getting to learn this program for years, and I am happy to see what it can do. The process was clunky at first, but once I got the work flow from making the loops, to arranging them live, and then switching to arrangement view to do the finishing touches, it all made a lot more sense. I would still like to touch this song up for sure. The arrangement is a bit long.

As far as my project goes, I don’t know if lasers are still a part of the game.. As it stands now, the idea is for the user, who is let’s say at an interactive media show in a gallery of sorts, to use a wand to control an array of possible pitches via Midi. The song above would play and they would have control over the melody. There will be some visual elements as well to either guide them or simply entertain. I am also envisioning maybe two more songs that the user could “play” with different interactions on screen.

In a different song for example, the user would be using the wand to control a pin on the screen to pop balloons which would have note names on them. When they pop, they play a midi note. The final interaction would perhaps have a Guitar Hero aspect, less improve and more of a test of skill with the wand.I have some things to learn with MIDI and Arduino and p5 and Ableton!

Ix Music Concept

Inspiration for our concept came from on the song “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & Maze which is evocative of a typical African American barbecue in, say, Prospect Park. The piece would be on location, set up around the public barbecue pits and picnic tables in Prospect Park on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon in late Spring. As observers approach, they hear the song wafting and mixing with the odors of sizzling meats and skewered vegetables. Lurking is a large bottle of barbecue sauce (or 5). The closer that the observers get the more they can make out the individual elements of the song, and as they enter the scene, they begin to notice that each element of the song is mapped to a specific area or feature of the barbecue. In this R&B pop song, the vocals are central much like the fact that the whole barbecue scene centers around the barbecue itself.

From here, we mapped the musical attributes of the song in emotional or sonic characteristics to specific features of the barbecue, where a loudspeaker playing each musical element would be placed next to each element of the barbecue.

Our Oblique Strategy was “Cluster Analysis” which got us thinking of song elements in groups of rhythm, chordal, and melodic.

Here are some of the groupings we brainstormed:

  • the barbecue - vocals are most important

  • neighbor’s sprinkler - high hats

  • old men playing cards - bass

  • trees, grass - rhythm guitar

  • red cups - hand claps

  • tupperware - bongos

  • dog sounds - background vocals?

  • utensils, plate crashing - cymbals

  • birds sounds - shaker

  • kids playing - ??

  • picnic table - ??