Bulk And Automated Processes Applied To Music Creation
I first became interested in this practice when I discovered the launchpad app, and that I could assign channel specific effects to different instrument voices in an arrangement, and create new ones altogether. In large part, at least initially, with stutter effects. This spawned a multitude of concepts and ideas I’ve employed in the years since. All for no other reason than my own enjoyment.
Audio to midi tracking:
This is extremely powerful technology. I use it in the form of Jam Origins guitar to midi vst software. I use it to track guitar, harmonic and even voice. Recently I’ve also found its utility for playing back audio through the software and tracking traditional recordings into a somewhat augmented ledger. This has a few useful applications I’ve found. One very profound one that I’ve just recently realized, is the ability to track recordings my deceased friend made before his passing, preserving velocity and bend, capturing the notation as well as the feel of his music, to be reformatted and applied in any number of ways. This will allow me to reasonably credit him for projects even after his passing. In that way music very much is, in the literal sense, god. I’ve found an effective way of tracking rough audio recordings like these, is running the track through a 10 band EQ pedal, notching just one range and adjusting slightly the adjacent ones, then running it to a compressor pedal and applying the compression parameters accordingly. The goal is to have an optimal responsive midi processing of the sound data, just to clarify.
Tracking mainstream recordings into midi:
This is probably controversial but I’m unashamed of the concept. I have done this as part of a process to bulk produce audio loops. I tracked about an hour’s worth of a variety of mainstream genre music. Once I had the midi split up into more reasonable lengths, I applied a series of midi functions and logical processes to use the existing melodic construct to catalyze something unique. The reasoning for starting with an unoriginal composition, is that you are more likely to find successful iterations, or more accurately speaking, you will find a higher rate of quality resulting material. The existing, strong consanat phrases provide a wireframe to work off of.
This is a very tentative practice that I am still learning. It is all about delicate sequence mindfulness. It involves these functions, but not in this order:
- Quantizing notes
- Quantizing note lengths
- Quantizing note ends
- Applying programmed legato rules
- Deleting Double note instances
- Restricting polophony
- Reversing the note order
- Mirroring the note structure within measures
- Deleting note overlap
Midi modifiers and freezing midi modifiers:
- Transposing notes into a scale restriction
- Randomizing as well as limiting high and low ends of velocity
- Randomizing note lengths
- Random note transposition limited by scale restriction and distance from the original note
Midi logical processes:
This is similar to midi functions, but involve an extra step or two requiring logic.
- Doubling tempo
- Reducing tempo by half
- Transposing the lowest notes one octave higher
- Transposing the highest notes one octave lower
- Deleting short notes (emphasized when tracking midi from audio; cleans the resulting midi to a degree)
- Filtering off-beats
- Emphasizing down beats with velocity
- Deleting every so many notes
I specify audio here because I have not developed an effective approach to midi yet. But with the midi file you can transform the output, and document the resulting audio. I’ve found the best tool for this to be a vst plugin called looperator. It allows you to sequence effects over a 16 slice grind ranging from stutters, splicing, looping, envelopes, filters, delay, reverb, time dilation, pitch shifting, and stereo manipulation. When you sequence well constructed combinations of these, you can, and often do, end up with entirely different resulting audio. This is a very signinicant practice in terms of generating unique musicality. Also endlessly entertaining.
I’ve found the only applicable tools here to be the bulk channel export being used at the same time as the export marker ranges utitility within cubase pro, and the DAW called reaper. Reaper enables bulk audio conversion which is decently cool and all. But the important thing with reaper, is that it can do bulk audio conversion while also doing a specified processing or FX chain to the audio. Moreover, it can apply VST plugins to the chain, and take a given midi file, run it through say Groove agent preset for a hip hop kit, and produce a wav file of that midi being played through it. And it can do this in bulk, by the thousands. This is incredible technology in terms of producing assets at scale.