Saturday, 27 August 2016

An investigation of folksongs

The full PDF can be viewed at:

(highlight link and paste in search engine)

Monday, 22 August 2016

Parallel 5ths.

A section

Pitches           Beat pattern   

0,7         2+2+3+2/2+3+2+2/3+2+2+2

2,9         x  2+2+2+3/2+2+3+2/2+3+2+2

Use sine waves, add a touch of reverb


First pair             t-1,  -2,  -3,  -4,  -5,  -6

Second pair         t+1, +2. +3, +4, +5, +6

Retain beat pattern

To thicken the texture

Duplicate tracks, transpose up minor third

Place new tracks on beats 3 and 5.

B section

Transpose all of A section up augmented 4th

Overlap sections.

C section

Mirror A section and overlap B section.

The intention of “Parallel 5ths” was to put together a process that was so simple in design that two people could have arrived independently at a similar outcome. It is a minor experiment to assist the blog writers in the search for what constitutes the composer’s voice.

There should be enough information here to replicate the sounds with basic sound generating equipment.

What makes this design individual is the use of reverb and spatial positioning. Though many would consider these as of secondary importance when the content is consists of such a basic design even the smallest adjustments have the effect of “customising” the final product.

Should any reader / listener feel inclined to replicate or vary these sounds please share with us your work.

As Nurtan and I write (and reread) these blogs we inevitably find certain themes recurring even within very different contexts, here it is the rhythm of this process which leads us into shared blog material. We might anticipate that the systematic use of duration and basic sine wave tones would produce a very static, regular pulse. Judge for yourselves whether the music is static or fluid, iso- or polyrhythmic. I believe that Nurtan has been considering the nature of rhythm and perception, in the autumn we will be offered some insights into his findings.

I add Nurtan's comments on the resulting soundscape which I found thought-provoking:

On parallel fifths – Nurtan Esmen e-mail 24.08.2016

The use of resonators was an idea that was developed in a laboratory to reduce the motorway noise by putting a fence of hollow thin tubes of different sizes. I was asked to look over the data – the laboratory results were impressive but in the real world it is not only the tire noise but the big huge lorries travelling 70 mph that generate a lot of unspecified frequency waves (from the turbulence) and unfortunately that did not reduce noise but increased it.

The resonators were set into motion at the fundamental frequency of the tire noise absorbing some of the energy so that at a distance the overall noise level was lower than the normal free field. It is interesting idea but in reality it was not workable. As the wind noise enhanced the amplitude of particular (within the available overtones) frequencies, the dominant being the most prominent of the tube length determined fundamental, so the result was a smaller level fundamental coupled with a highly enhanced  strong 5th and about the same level as the fundamental third and above, sort of a weird organ sound. So the resonators stayed as an environmentally friendly noise reduction for heavily travelled motorways.

 In your synthesis, a similar phenomenon seem to occur but it produces a very nice sound – it is somehow soothing and the superimposed different rhythmic structure of the ‘’pitches’’ is very science fiction like.  I can hear clearly 3 other than the lower pitch grinding like sound straight away and perhaps two more by listening carefully. The pulse is definitely longer for higher frequency – i.e. inversely proportioned. I think it is a great resource for musical applications, sound effects etc.