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Re: Loopstock aftershock - gestural control

At 12:25 PM -0800 3/6/02, Andre LaFosse wrote:

>One thing I like about the drum machine idea is that it's an extremely
>basic MIDI task, which could almost certainly be applied with any $50
>pawn shop drum machine in town.

This is an excellent point. It's all very well for someone to be able 
to do interesting work with a multi-million dollar computer music 
instrument (cf. Pierre Boulez and the IRCAM 4X machine) but some of 
the liveliest music comes out of the dust bins of our technological 
culture. One of the most striking segments in "Scratch" was a DJ 
"digging" through huge piles of vinyl detritus, searching for 
forgotten gems.

>(The one I was using was already "obsolete" when I bought it back in 

I strongly recommend Laurie Spiegel's new CD "Obsolete Systems."

>I wonder how easy it would be to send program change data from a drum
>machine, in order to control a Repeater in an elegant real-time manner...?

You need to map the status byte of a note-on to be the status byte of 
a MIDI control change message. This can be done with a MIDI Solutions 


Of course, if someone is using a Powerbook with Max or other MIDI 
programming language, this is a near-trivial task.

>when I actually walked over to the side of the stage and looked over your
>shoulder, it FELT more like a performance, you know?

If I'd spent more time preparing for that performance I could have 
eliminated a fair amount of "hunt and peck," but in recent years I've 
tended to put myself in the hot seat by forcing myself to confront 
the bottleneck of the standard user interface.

>I know Torn has talked a lot about wanting to find ways of implementing
>visual, gestural parameter commands in a performance context, in order
>to help draw the audience into the process.  I got the feeling last
>night that the drum machine interface was helping in that respect: I
>could very visibly reach over and hit a button, and suddenly the loop(s)
>would change in a really obvious way.

Cf. Michel Waisvisz's observations, quoted elsewhere.

I will often exaggerate some of the gestures required to operate 
equipment, partly for visual interest and partly for proprioceptive 
(look it up) feedback. In the best of situations it is an immersion 
in the theatrical gesture. Pete Townshend's leaping and windmilling 
is an obvious example. The hand-crossings in the second of Webern's 
"Piano Variations" is a more esoteric one.


Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202