Monday, 25 June 2012

Musical Evolutions.

In my own quest of finding a excellent tune if I am in the mood to make some music to kill a few minuets while waiting for something better to come along. I find my self stumbling along for ideas and it doesn't help if you are hearing arguments down the hallway or if someone is playing the TV too loud.  If I do get in a rare moment of composing, I have to feel a ethereal presence before I lay down some foundation of beats and melody. I somehow need to get a sense of tempo and then later a drum loop to state which way I would go musically speaking. But there are many different ways to get inspired to write a song.

look at it in a logical way where upon you look at its structure and see what genera you would like write for. This can determine the drum beats and drum style of the song. Write for each section for verse chorus and bridge, with difference of melody for verse and chorus. Normally finding a chords for verse and a small variation change for the chorus. In my process of writing I would start the chords and hum notes to find a melody for that chord structure.
Heartbreak seems like a good source of inspiration, it allows sympathy and bond on some level with the listener. Though there may be a large amount of songs written to this same subject matter, its can often lead the writer down a pathway full of cliches and repeated imagery.
Bob Barrett famous music producer used to collect song lyrics and keep them in a long scribbled list on scraps of paper. These ideas soon became 250 songs, these song ideas came from life and over time collected from conversations and with friends, newspapers everyday phrases and play on words.
Doodling on a piano or guitar could also stimulate a melody or spark up words for a potential song.
Paul McCartney sat down on a piano and was doodling in the key of E Major. When he had a quote from Spike Milliagn in his mind “You know, it’s a funny kind of thing – black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks.” This idea would later evolved to the song Ebony and Ivory.

Collaboration with a friend or a group of like minded musicians can often produce unique results, which probably would not be constructed by one person. Once john Lennon and Paul McCartney had both half of a song which fitted together perfectly.

Spontaneous musical ideas can flash into someone's mind like a prewritten song or a whole melody which triggers lyrics. Beethoven best melody ideas came to him while out walking through a field, Mood can also trigger spontaneous ideas too.
People them selves can inspire composers to write a musical form of a biography, Bernie Taupins song Daniel sung by Elton John was about a Vietnam Veteran  who after the war, lost his eyesight and decided to leave the US and live in spain. While The Beatles wrote about "Eleanor Rigby" and several other people in situations that move us.

What is inspiring and what causes us to compose was seemed to be ethereal, an immeasurable quality which can not be explained. Darwin Tunes is a music program which creates bursts of noise that gradually evolve based on the preferences of thousands of human listeners who visit Darwin
Darwin Tunes is the brain child of Robert MacCallum and Armand Leroi from Imperial college London.
MacCallum suspects that musical styles evolve through Darwinian natural selection. They are copied and modified from artist to artist and generation to generation, with the popular ones more likely to be copied get more exposure.
The experiment began with two parent 8 second long loops, each encoded with a digital genome which are shuffled and produce daughter loops which mutate. This also mimics the way composers would merge musical styles together while inventing new motifs.

The experiment began with 100 randomly generated loops, on the website listeners would then on a scale of 5. After every 20 listens, the top ten would pair off and would produce 2 daughters. At any one time 100 loops would exist, leaving less popular loops to die.
To date the loops have been evolving over 3000 generations.  A upward rise of appeal will last 500 or 600 generations, before it hits a plateau and will stop evolving. This is because loops get so complex that their intertwining melodies and rhythms don't merge very well. The act of mating rather combining the best of both parents ends up in splitting the elements that work well together. Or it maybe because some styles are trapped in an adaptive peak, which explains why old musical styles tend to be conservative, changing little over the years.
Darwin Tunes offers insight to the evolution of music via musical loops, it may be applied to the evolution of the pop culture of music in the real world. I cant help but agree that when ever I compose music I mix elements of previous generations of music from favorite songs of mine.
Though I think more about the artistic elements I bring on board then the cold merging algorithm of a computer program. I was worried that this kind of technology would replace the composer but the level musicality from these loops make me think they are no better them lame 90's ring tones.

I am not sure if the computer will be composing at the same level as humans. I know that it can be used as a powerful tool to compile musical elements. As music sequencers can quickly bring together instruments and loops to form a song. The future will still have a human element which needs that degree of empathy. Without that human element comes that slow decline of interest and back on the road of dystopia.

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