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Generative apps for the iPhone! at Audio & Educational Technology

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Generative apps for the iPhone!

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I recently attended a workshop on iphone app development.  In light of that presentation and our research of generative music in Spore, I thought this new iphone app developed by Brian Eno called “Bloom” was interesting.  I downloaded the app for the iTouch (I’m on Verizon, so I don’t use the iPhone).


Here’s a Youtube clip that demos the app

The music the app produced was interesting–amazingly it sounded a *lot* like the stuff in Spore..  The app lets you either set a random setting to play music based on some basic choices, or you can interact by tapping the screen to make music.  Tapping the bottom of the screen generates lower pitches, while tapping higher generates higher pitches.

Some points:

  • Bloom has a 4 octave range
  • There are 9 different “moods” that can be selected to provide a different textural experience
  • Each “mood” changes the tonic of the scale that plays.  One “mood” may have a range from C2 – C6, while another mood ranges from G2 – G6, etc.
  • When you touch the iTouch, it generates pitches that then repeats a pattern using a delay.  There’s a setting called “evolve when idle” that I think takes a pattern & develops it so that something plays when you’re not.
  • For example, the mood “Neroli” is in the key of G, and I’m pretty sure in a mixolydian mode.  The lower areas of the touch pad isn’t as responsive to changes in pitch as the middle & upper registers.

Listen to a sample of me playing the iTouch with the  “Neroli” mood!

  • You’ll hear ambient background stuff that Bloom generates.  Also, the application was set to randomize the “mood” during playback (not sure what this does), and the delay was set a pretty short interval
  • The first part of the clip is me trying to play a scale from the bottom up.  You can hear me playing the same notes even as I’m moving up the touchpad.  I actually moved from I-V-I for the first octave before moving up the scale.
  • The later part of the clip is me “playing” the app.  Funny thing, last weekend I was in the middle of my music composition lesson when my tutor & I got into a jam session with Bloom.  He was on the guitar & we were just doing some ambient stuff.  I’ve *never* jammed with an ipod before.  That was a first.

Something arguably even more interesting is info on an iphone app called RjDj : http://www.rjdj.me .  It uses Pd and the iphone accelerometer & mic to sample audio.  Since I don’t have an iPhone, I can’t try this myself, but more info can be found here on this blog:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2008/09/02/iphonetouch-roundup-control-art-snow-patrol-visualizers-recording-one-for-india/ .

Written by Jason

October 21st, 2008 at 10:34 pm

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