Technology in Music Education Task 2: Update #2

So a lot has happened between now and my last post regarding this, however not so much has actually happened on this particular project. To be fair I’ve been doing my other assignments, but now is the time that I can start applying more of my brain’s CPU usage to this and I am itching to get started. I have, however, spent some good time brainstorming things I could potentially do for the interactive installation that I am creating and so I’m looking forward to actually attempting to realise those soon.

I went into Uni early on Tuesday morning to meet up with someone who has plenty of advice and experience in this area. I shared with him my idea of connecting various game controllers/gear to my computer to connect with the music programs I have. Showing him OSCulator (which he hadn’t seen before), we spent the next hour or so ‘fiddling’ with the various parameters in both Logic and OSCulator, getting my hardware to properly communicate with them simultaneously.

— Cue amazing artwork of a diagram that I drew on the train to aid those who learn visually —Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 4.09.54 PM

As a result I have a better understanding of MIDI CC messages and how I can map them to the various parameters and plugins within Logic.

Having just completed an electroacoustic/soundscape composition, I’ve decided to use that work in the interactive installation. I plan to remove two main instruments from the mix and give those who are interested to have a turn with the game controllers. They will have the opportunity to control and create a new version of the piece. Sound like fun? You can hear the piece here. I am still yet to do this, but so far I am thinking that the sounds you can play will be the Pad Sound, the ‘Water Sloshes’ (not sure on a good title for that part), and the Thunder (possibly some more). Along side the installation will be a small key for what each button does for each MIDI Controller so participants can musically decide their choices.

By the way if you are in Sydney and wish to come and see my installation and all the wonderful variety of projects that my classmates have undertaken, visit the Cafe in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Friday the 13th of November from 6pm to 9pm.

Please comment below if you plan on coming and come and say hi!

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Genesis

Yesterday I finished a composition! Check it out here:

It is in three movements and is inspired by water.
1. Waves
2. Waterology
3. Storm

An inspiration for this piece came from the creation story in Genesis from the Bible, where we are told that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. In my mind this piece aims to capture this ‘moment’ where both the calmness of God’s control and his creative genius are simultaneously ordered and terrifying.

As water is a reflective substance, the second half of the piece is largely a reversed version of the first half (it begins just after the storm).

I recorded, arranged and edited all the sounds that you can hear. Apart from my voice, no ‘normal’ acoustic instruments were used.
Some of the sounds included are (in order of appearance):
– foam packing (to create waves – first sound you hear)
– my mum washing up (used in conjunction with The Mangle)
– my voice (pad sound – again with The Mangle)
– hand sifter
– my dishwasher closing (thuds)
– body percussion (clicks, chest beats and tongue clicks)
– door slams (thunder – I am most pleased with this sound!)

The artwork was created by my Dad on his Surface Pro.

Let me know what you think in the comments!
Peace – Jonno

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.53.41 AM

Composition in Music Education Task 3: Update #2

So I’ve been sick for the past few days, but I can’t really afford to let that stop me (as tempting as it is). After a solid nap, I spent yesterday’s evening and night slowly working on my composition. My process for composition may seem a little backwards to some, but the way I’ve regularly experienced the creation process in music is in groups, jaming and sharing around ideas. So when I compose, I find it difficult to just sit there and write and so I try and create an environment in which I feel as though I’m collaborating with others. I create little loops of basic tracks in Logic X and then jam (improvise) with it until I come up with ideas that I like. Then I either notate or record them 🙂 (or both!).

I thought it would be a helpful thing to actually see the instructions that I am using from my iBook to guide this composition, so here’s a picture: (Note – this is just one page from my iBook, and the following pages help scaffold this task).

Composition Instructions

Steps 1 and 2 have been completed and now I am working on the rest of the arrangement. I was tossing up whether I will have an improvised solo section, but there won’t be enough time and so I will just have two instrumental sections where the main melodies are played. I like this idea as well, because it stays true to the version of Skye Boat Song that Pastance played when we filmed them (see earlier blog posts). For the rest of the arrangement I’m thinking I will try and add a few other melody/harmony parts, and when my voice doesn’t sound like a croaky frog I will hopefully track some vocals.

In the next blog post (and when I have access to my scanner), I’ll pop up the lyrics so you can see them also. For now, I think that’s all!

Peace

Composition in Music Education Task 3: Update #1

You could say that this task is like a sequel to the iBook that I recently made for the last assignment. I am to compose a piece of music using my own composition task (found in my iBook) as scaffolding.

As the task in the iBook is loosely based around re-writing the melody to Skye Boat Song to an editable Garageband template, the challenge for me will be in extending this task and transforming it into a new piece of music.

So far I have just finished writing my original melody over the chord progression of Skye Boat Song using the G pentatonic scale (in accordance with my own instructions). I quite like it so far, particularly the melody in the B section (see below). Excuse the random 5/8 bar at the end haha that’s supposed to have an extra quaver pulse at the end tied on.

CME Task 3 Melody

So the next step will be the arranging process! Stay tuned.

Technology in Music Education Task 2: Update #1

Hi Everyone,

For our next Technology in Music Education assignment, we are to pave our own way – a DIY kind of assignment. Basically I get to choose what I want to do for this entire assignment, as long as I document my progress here on my blog. The catch is that it has to be technology based (who would have thought).

If you aren’t aware, for most of my life I have been a bit of a Nintendo fan boy and so I’ve decided to try and combine my love for that and my love for music. I’m not planning on composing any video game music, but I’m going to be focussing on this little idea:

‘What if you could play music like you play a video game??’

Using a program called OSCulator, I’ll be able to use my Nintendo Controllers as MIDI controllers with any DAW such as Logic Pro X/Mainstage or Ableton. This will enable me to map the various buttons (and motion control!) to different musical notes, instruments or effects. This works because (believe it or not) the nintendo controllers just connect simply via Bluetooth which means not only could I connect those, but I’ll also experiment with connecting and mapping my iPhone to the various music parameters.

I’m pretty excited to try all of this out, I’ll keep you updated as I go.

Skye Boat Song iBook Complete

I have finished working on my ibook and I’m excited to share this resource with you all. Click on this link to find the ibook (which you can use on your iPad or Mac computer) and a brief outline of how this resource could be used as part of a lesson sequence.

Feel free to use all of it or part of it. The only condition is that I would ask you to comment below and let me know how it went and whether I could make any helpful updates to make it better!

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 10.37.42 pm

Assignment Update #4 Composition Reflection

Some reflections on the composition component of my ibook.

As this ibook resource will be used as part of an informal learning context, I had to take some care in the scaffolding of the tasks – especially the composition related ones. As a result, I decided to provide all the instructions for the task on the first page of the composition section of the ibook. This way students know exactly what is expected and have a clear order of tasks. They can then find all the resources for the tasks in the pages following. As the resource is intended for Year 9 students (within Stage 5), it is really important that they are well supported in successfully achieving the completion of the tasks. To this end, the tasks were sequenced so that the students moved from familiar to unfamiliar territory. It is a requirement that students should use the recently analysed material (Pastance’s arrangement of Skye Boat Song) as a model for their own composition (a model for structure and a model for melody writing). Skye Boat Song has a A B Verse – Chorus structure with 4 bar phrases that are repeated and the melody has been composed with the pentatonic scale.

The composition task involves:

  • Students improvising with backing tracks
  • Composing and notating their own melody using the G pentatonic scale (and phrase structure of Skye Boat Song)
  • Record the newly composed melody into a garageband arrangement
  • Rearrange the provided tracks in the garageband project to create a unique arrangement
  • Compose any additional parts to the arrangement

I hope that I’ve structured this composition task in such a manner to helpfully support Stage 5 students in what I’d like to be a positive and beneficial musical experience.