# planet.linuxaudio.org

## December 09, 2013

### Create Digital Music » Linux

#### A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Add compression to any Pd patch, free. Photo (CC-BY) pedronchi

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression.

Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on.

The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. They’ve build a handy external for master compression in Pd. Their description:

tb_peakcomp~ is an open source external for Pd (and libpd: compiled, tested and used on our iOS and Android projects) that works well as a master stereo compressor. It features variable attack, release, ratio, make-up gain and knee smoothening. It is MIT Licensed — which means you can pretty much do whatever you want with it.

So, you can use it in your own Pd patches, or drop it in an iOS or Android app. Download it from their site:

A compressor for Pure Data / libpd

If you are interested in development, they’ve also put together a handy guide for making use of the creative coding tool Processing and libpd on Android:

Configuring Eclipse to work with Processing+libPd in Android [Two Big Labs]

That’s a nice combination: with just rudimentary Processing coding skills and some Pd chops, you can begin making full-blown Android apps. (My current recommended device: the second-generation Nexus 7 tablet. Best audio performance, most consistent experience overall, and it’s both fun to use and inexpensive.)

Via the CDM forums, where you can discuss this more:

A free and open stereo peak compressor

Thanks to Varun Nair for this.

The post A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile appeared first on Create Digital Music.

## December 07, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Using LaTeX for a Musical Edition

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

Of course we had known from the very beginning that we wanted to prepare the scores of our edition with LilyPond. But at one point we decided to use yet another plain text tool to put the pieces together into one complete volume: LaTeX. I will show you some LaTeX features I learned to love during this project. And as the question of integrating text and music pops up regularly on the lilypond-user mailing list it may be interesting to see some of the tricks we used.

I don’t know for sure about the chronology: Did I dive into version control to manage the LaTeX file or did I decide to learn LaTeX because it is a natural choice when using version control? Well, I’ll probably dig into that topic for another post because it might be relevant for others too. No matter why, I did the switch, made our Fried song book my first real-world LaTeX document – and I’m very happy with the decision because LaTeX offers quite a number of advantages for such a task.

###### Using Version Control

This time I won’t go into detail about the advantages of version control, but of course using LaTeX we did benefit from them without any drawbacks. And it does make a difference when both the scores and the complete volume can be versioned. Add to this the bonus of being able to edit files online with most Git service providers – in fact I could even encourage a few people who didn’t have any prior knowledge to review parts of the book and apply their corrections themselves through the web interface.

###### Handling Large Documents

Recalling earlier projects with considerably simpler tasks I wouldn’t want to imagine editing this 124 page document with heavy graphics (scores) in InDesign. It would probably slow down to the level of being completely unresponsive. LaTeX on the other hand is simply shrugging its shoulders about such dimensions because it doesn’t have to keep such a document “open” in memory, calculate layout in real-time and still offer editing features. The file size of the “main” document is just 8 kilobytes – note that if you create an empty document with a graphical program, it will probably be bigger! (Of course this isn’t a fair comparison but it may show you what I mean.) Reordering content – e.g. moving a paragraph, adding an image etc. – doesn’t add anything to the CPU or memory usage because it’s simply a matter of copying a few bytes of plain text – whereas a graphical DTP program would instantly have to reflow the whole document. Well, recompiling the whole book admittedly does take its time, but thanks to include-files one can work on short segments most of the time – and what’s of particular importance it doesn’t interrupt me immediately and automatically as soon as I want apply a change.

But apart from these general features of LaTeX there are some particular characteristics that make your life as a document author and typesetter more enjoyable.

###### LaTeX commands

LaTeX provides predefined “commands” – but you can also create custom ones. These can be used as formatting styles – as not using manual formatting should be a matter of course even with word processors – like for example \opus{3, 2} which would be defined to assign a certain font face to the content “3, 2”. But LaTeX commands are much more powerful than word processor stylesheets. I could for example define that \opus command differently, so that \opus[2]{3} would add the comma and a typographically correct space between the two arguments while \opus{3} would not print the comma and the space. Actually I can define commands like a programmer.

For the revision report of our edition I created a command \revEntry (for “revision entry”) which takes four arguments: a measure number, a position in measure, the affected instrument, and the entry body text. The separators and space between the different entries are intelligently handled so I could have entries such as

\revEntry{45}{3. \crotchet}{\lh}{Missing slur in OE.} \revEntry{46}{}{\lyrics}{OE prints “sie” instead of “er”.} \revEntry{}{last \semiquaver}{\rh}{Wrong pitch c\oct[2].}

which would result in

Here you can see several commands in action: some simple shorthands guaranteeing consistent formatting and typography for abbreviations (\rh, \lh, \lyrics), a nice little function typesetting octave ticks (\oct), and finally the revision entry itself that formats the entries differently according to the presence or absence of the different arguments.
While actively working on the report I used a modified version of the command to typeset the entries in a much more tabular and generously spaced form that simplified working with them. Note that I’m not only talking about character formatting but of a complete layout with different spacer characters, order of elements etc.

So, the exact same input code as in the previous example:

\revEntry{45}{3. \crotchet}{\lh}{Missing slur in OE.} \revEntry{46}{}{\lyrics}{OE prints “sie” instead of “er”.} \revEntry{}{last \semiquaver}{\rh}{Wrong pitch c\oct[2].}

produced

###### lilyglyphs

One more type of command you see in these examples are the rhythmical notes (\crotchet and \semiquaver). Using notational symbols in continuous text was something I had been looking for since I began writing about music, but I’d never found a simple and satisfying solution. Having switched to LaTeX I gave it a new try but I didn’t find a proper solution there either, each one was limited in some way or the other: some were restricted to a certain set of symbols, some couldn’t scale with the text size, some simply looked awful.
So I took our edition project as an incentive to create a really good solution once and for all: lilyglyphs. This LaTeX package makes glyphs from LilyPond’s Emmentaler font available through predefined or generic commands, and provides an infrastructure for easily creating commands with arbitrary LilyPond notation (the notes for example aren’t part of the OpenType font but are drawn directly by LilyPond, and lilyglyphs includes them as small PDF image files). You can get a first impression and see how easily it can be extended in my previous posts.
By now lilyglyphs is included in TeXLive (and presumably other LaTeX distributions), so users can simply type

\usepackage{fontspec} \usepackage{lilyglyphs}

in their document preamble and start using LilyPond’s beautiful notation in their text documents right away.

###### Script the sources

Another nice feature of plain text files is their accessibility to automatic processing. Above you’ve seen the command \oct that typesets octave ticks. I noticed that this command didn’t work well with the note f because the bowl at the upper extender of the f collided with the first tick. The solution was simple (it isn’t the only possible solution but I went this way because it seemed the most straightforward one): I created a new command \fOct which adds just that necessary amount of space between the f and the ticks. Propagating this change throughout all the files of the revision report was a matter of one call to rpl "f\oct" "\fOct" *. Oh, of course I first had to install this tool, which involves the complicated and tedious process of typing sudo apt-get install rpl, entering my password and hitting enter. Compare this to the traditional approach with normal style sheets…

###### Tyopgraphy

One last “LaTeX advantage” I’m going to cover is its extraordinary typesetting quality. After all we’re interested in “beautiful scores”, so why should we make compromises in the typesetting of text?
LaTeX (or rather the underlying TeX engine) has been developed for typesetting texts, with a strong focus on books, particularly scientific ones. One of the major consequences of this is a paragraph formatting and page layout quality that one shouldn’t even start to compare with that of word processors, and that is completely up to par with any competitor in the DTP segment. But for the sake of making the point I will make a comparison with output from LibreOffice, copying two paragraphs from our edition to empty documents. Both were set to the same font size and page layout, I chose justified paragraph alignment with automatic hyphenation and that was all. In LibreOffice I stripped everything that can’t be realized (e.g. lilyglyphs ), and in LaTeX I used the package microtype.

Two paragraphs typeset with LibreOffice (click to view PDF)

The same paragraphs typeset with LuaLaTeX and the microtype package (click to view PDF)

Even looking at these downscaled preview images you can see that the LaTeX rendition is more evenly spaced while the LibreOffice version has many holes in it – between the words but occasionally even between the lines. If you now open both full-size images in new tabs to easily compare them more thoroughly you can see more details. One aspect to note in particular is the shape of the left and right borders of the text block. In LibreOffice the elements are aligned to a perfectly straight line. In theory this should be what we want, but in reality you’ll notice that particularly the hyphens make the visual impression of that border quite jagged. LaTeX, on the other hand, makes hyphensprotrude in the right page margin (it would also do the same with quotation marks and even with lighter parts of letters such as “A” or “T” but this just didn’t happen here) – which makes the overall impression much better (if you have trouble seeing this effect, try looking at the samples from a distance). In old books – back when people cared about the things they did more than they do now – protrusion really was the standard, while today it is a rather rare feature.
The other technique is “font expansion” that uses tiny bits of squeezing and pulling at the character shapes and the space between them. This allows LaTeX to distribute the text more evenly on a line, to make the whitespace between words more consistent and – perhaps most important – to reduce the number of hyphenated lines.
This is professional typesetting out-of-the-box.

##### Tips and Tricks for Merging Text and Scores

There are several ways to mix text and music in a document, but in a case like ours where we have scores and text neatly separated on individual pages it’s quite natural to create one LaTeX document for the whole compilation and include the scores’ PDF documents through \includepdf from the pdfpages package. While this is basically very straightforward there are issues to consider, namely page layout, headers and footers and finally page numbering.

I think page layout in music books heavily differs from that of text books and therefore of LaTeX’s default behaviour. In general you will have much smaller margins on A4 or similarly large paper. In text typesetting you are confronted with the issue of reducing the linewidth in order to improve legibility – an issue that is completely different with scores. Therefore you should happily ignore LaTeX’s inclination to calculated type areas and hardcode it with the geometry package to fit your scores’ margins.

The next topic to consider are page headers and footers – who should print them, LilyPond or LaTeX? We decided to do it on the LaTeX side because this automatically takes care of page numbering. Page numbers remain consistent even if there are changes, for example through inserting pages with illustrations, and of course it would have been difficult to get the formatting of footers and page numbers identical. Fortunately it’s easily possible to include the PDF documents as a whole while still printing page headers on top of them.
But when working on a single song you normally work directly with the score, and you may consider it impractical to have a printout without page numbers. So what to do about this situation? Our solution was part of a concept we used to call Draft Mode, which I can only recommend to adapt in one way or the other. Basically we had include commands in each file that could load either a “draftMode”, a “prePubMode” or no style sheet.

% Optionally activate draft Mode or prePublication mode
% Both modes print a "progress bar" in the header line.
% draft mode additionally applies coloring to many manually applied tweaks

\include "../includes/config/draftMode.ily"
%\include "../includes/config/prePubMode.ily"


These modes did a lot which I may write about another time (just one note: adding the Layout Control Modes to Frescobaldi was a direct consequence of this project). But in particular they printed a “status bar” and page numbers. One little noteworthy trick was that if no mode-stylesheet was included the status bar was printed anyway but with an empty string. This way it didn’t affect page layout and we could safely switch modes on and off until the last day.

Managing such a song book with alternating text and score parts in a LaTeX document is also very straightforward because the “sources“ are always only a single compilation away. Updating a score usually means simply to first compile the score with LilyPond and then compile the volume with LaTeX, and you’re done. And when we started versioning certain states of the PDF files too incorporating Janek’s latest changes in the main volume was a matter of

git pull lualatex -interaction=nonstopmode "main-volume.tex" evince main-volume.tex

which can conveniently be wrapped up in a one line script, so (e.g.) update-fried will get any updates from the server, compile and display the updated volume with one command!

###### “The Future of Scholarly Editing”

To finish off this long post I’ll outline one tool that I missed dearly during the final stages. It isn’t a deficiency of our set-up that annoyed me, quite the contrary. It’s rather that I see a potentially revolutionary perspective, and not already having that just hurts.

Within our “Draft Mode” we implemented a few editorial tools for “in-source communication”. With them we could insert commands like \todo in the LilyPond input file – which would highlight the affected notational element with a color and print a message to the console output. But I intend to vastly improve this functionality by a full-blown \annotate package. With this it will be possible to enter arbitrary annotations to a score, for example general remarks, TODOs, technical questions or critical notes. Apart from being used for visual annotations in the score (not affecting layout) these annotations are output to separate files as sorted lists – like LilyPond’s music this will support point-and-click so you can directly switch to the corresponding position in the input file when reading your TODO list. This will greatly increase efficiency when dealing with open tasks and questions during the preparation of scores, especially since this is a convenient way to pass along issues between collaboators.

But what I’m really looking forward to is having this functionality combined with a new LaTeX package that can read the output of LilyPond’s \annotate and retrieve entries for a critical report from it. Of course it will be non-trivial to implement this in a way that it can become generally useful. But I’m confident that it will provide a quantum leap for dealing with scholarly editions: When I notice something in a musical source I’ll add an annotation to the LilyPond input file. Once I’m decided about it I can simply say that it now is a critical remark and use it in the critical report of the LaTeX document. When proof-reading the score I don’t have to tediously cross-check with another document to see if there already is a critical remark for any given issue because I can immediately see it in the score and its input file. I can even make any improvements to the remark within my score editing environment. Maybe it will even be possible to realize these annotations in a way that they affected items are slightly highlighted and the annotation is displayed as a tooltip when hovering over the note.
The ultimate step to “editor’s heaven” will finally be the implementation of a graphical annotation editor in Frescobaldi – then it will be possible to right-click on notes or other elements to directly enter or edit the critical remarks for the printed report!

OMG, why can’t I simply fast-forward to the state when this is already available…

### Joan Quintana (Joanillo Media Art)

#### 50 ways… #6. Score Editors: Lilypond

In the previous post we have created a soundfont for de diatonic button accordion, castagnari.sf2, and with their sounds we played our prefered song: Una Plata d’Enciam, within the project 50 ways to play Una Plata d’Enciam. Let’s now see how lilypond score editor can create a music sheet that respond to the challenges posed by the notation for the accordion. What we will do in this post is not anything special. In the friend blog Scores of Beauty, http://lilypondblog.org/ you can see really complex notations made with lilypond.

Basically we want to correctly display the melody, chords, and how left-hand bass/chords (accompaniment) hve been playing. The idea is to create didactic music sheets that help my daughter to put her fingers in the left keyboard.

The first thing is to create the lead part, above the notes we put the chords as usual, and we will show when is it necessary to play a bass (b) or a chord (a) with the left hand. We will do the last with \lyrics, as we do with the lyrics of a song.

\version “2.12.1″
title = “Una Plata d’Enciam”
}

baixosnotacio = \chordmode {
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
}

partitura = \relative c’

\new ChordNames {
\set chordChanges = ##t
\baixosnotacio
}

\new Staff = "veu 1"
{
\clef treble
\key c \major
\time 2/4
\tempo 4=80

e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f f g e4
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f e f g e4
}
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
}

>>

\score {
\partitura
\layout { }
\midi { }
}

Now is time to write the bass part. If we write the bass/chord notes as usual in lilypond, it works, but the ouput is not usefull for reading the music. In fact, this music sheet is not correct. Since it was explained in the previous post, association between chords CM, DM,… and midi notes 24, 26,… was a convenant decision. This incorrect music sheet:

\version “2.12.1″
title = “Una Plata d’Enciam”
}

baixosnotacio = \chordmode {
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
}

partitura =

\new ChordNames {
\set chordChanges = ##t
\baixosnotacio
}

\relative c'
\new Staff = "veu 1"
{
\clef treble
\key c \major
\time 2/4
\tempo 4=80
%notes amb valors relatius
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f f g e4
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f e f g e4
}
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
}

\new Staff = "baixosnotes"
{
\key c \major
%notes amb valors absoluts
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f'8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
}
>>

\score {
\partitura
\layout { }
\midi { }
}

Now is important to note that we used relative notation for the lead part, and absolute notation for the accompaniment part, that simplifies alot editing the bass line, that normally alternates bass buttons with chord buttons. This music sheet is not correct for reading or printing, but the output midi file is perfect for listening. Is there a way to fix it? Definitely yes. We define a \score for printing, and another \score for the midi part. The result: the music score is perfect for printing (there are no bass/chord notes, just the position to put the fingers); and the midi file generated is also correct for playing:

\version “2.12.1″
title = “Una Plata d’Enciam”
}

baixosnotacio = \chordmode {
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
c4 c f c f g g c c c f c f g g c
}

partitura = \relative c’

\new ChordNames {
\set chordChanges = ##t
\baixosnotacio
}

\new Staff = "veu 1"
{
\clef treble
\key c \major
\time 2/4
\tempo 4=80
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f f g e4
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f e f g e4
}
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
b _ a _ b _ a b _ _ a _ b _ _ a _ b _ a _
}
>>

fitxermidi =

\relative c'
\new Staff = "veu 1"
{
\clef treble
\key c \major
\time 2/4
\tempo 4=80
%notes amb valors relatius
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f f g e4
e8 f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f f \times 2/3 { f f f } g e e f g g a a g4 \times 2/3 { a8 a g } f e f g e4
}

\new Staff = "baixosnotes"
{
\key c \major
%notes amb valors absoluts
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f'8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
c,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 c,,8 r f,8. r16 g,,8 r g,8. r16 c,,8 r
}
>>

\score {
\partitura
\layout { }
}

\score {
\fitxermidi
\midi { }
}

Finally we can listen our song Una Plata d’Enciam in the usual way that is played with a button accordion:

References:

### Recent changes to blog

#### Dubber, a LiveLooper plugin

Dubber is a 4 Channel Loop plugin, which could record, save, load and play *.wav files up to a length of 1,5 min for each channel. Loop files will be saved in plugin presets and can switched seamless by call a rack preset, a plugin preset, or by just press record.

Loops could be trimmed by cut and clip to select the part of the file for looping.
They could play forward/backward with various speed.
The loop output could mixed to the audio stream of the guitarix rack.
As usual in guitarix, all controllers could accessed by Midi CC via Midi learn.

## December 06, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] OpenAV : Luppp Announced!

From: Harry van Haaren <harryhaaren@...>
Subject: [LAA] OpenAV : Luppp Announced!
Date: Dec 6, 2:10 pm 2013

--089e01294db27d2bc204ecde0ae8
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hey!

Its my pleasure to announce Luppp, the flagship project of OpenAV!

Its a live-looping program with a grid based workflow. This the Luppp
has features like NSM integration, ArtyFX integration, JACK integration,
and powerful MIDI binding! The real-time capable Luppp engine is
designed for on-stage live performance.

Luppp is being released under the OpenAV release system:
http://openavproductions.com/support

The target donation amount for Luppp is 520=80.
The suggested donation amount is 10=80: http://goo.gl/Nw12YN
Any amount can be donated though: http://goo.gl/xThJow

Still interested? Checkout these Luppp feature videos!

Hopefully releasing soon, lets get Luppping ;) -Harry

--089e01294db27d2bc204ecde0ae8
Content-Type: text/html; charset=windows-1252
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hey!

=
Its my pleasure to announce Luppp, the flagship project of OpenAV!

>Announce video:

Its a live-looping program with a grid based workflow. This the Luppp
r>has features like NSM integration, ArtyFX integration, JACK integration,=
br>and powerful MIDI binding! The real-time capable Luppp engine is

designed for on-stage live performance.

Luppp is being re=
leased under the OpenAV release system:

ons.com/support" target=3D"_blank">http://openavproductions.com/support
=

The target donation amount for Luppp is 520=80.
The suggested donation a=
mount is 10=80: http://g=
oo.gl/Nw12YN

Any amount can be donated though:
.gl/xThJow" target=3D"_blank">http://goo.gl/xThJow

Still interested? Checkout these Luppp feature videos=
!
Using Sends:=A0 =A0
=

Sidechaining: =A0

>

MIDI binding:=A0
=
br>
NSM / ArtyFX:

r>

Hopefully releasing soon, lets get Luppping ;) -Harry

--089e01294db27d2bc204ecde0ae8--

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] [ANN] Simple Scope LV2 v0.5

From: Robin Gareus <robin@...>
Subject: [LAA] [ANN] Simple Scope LV2 v0.5
Date: Dec 6, 12:52 pm 2013

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Hash: SHA1

SiSco.lv2 a Simple Oscilloscope LV2 plugin for scientific measurements.

source: https://github.com/x42/sisco.lv2
manual: http://x42.github.io/sisco.lv2/

I recently had a need for a proper software-oscilloscope and there was
also the the case about providing a LV2 example to transfer Arrays of
LV2-Atoms. The latter is now available as eg05-scope.lv2 from lv2plug.in

"Gentlemen, when two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to
the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention."
(Dale Cooper)

SiSco is not a waveform display but an audio scope which accurately
reproduces the signal up to a maximum resolution of about 1μs/pixel
@48KSPS (corresponding to 960KHz resolution) to facilitate
measurements of an audio stream.

While it may seem advanced, it is still rather simple compared to
current technology hardware oscilloscopes:

* 1-4 channels
* grid-resolution min: 50μs, max: 1 sec (max buffer time 15 sec)
* per channel horizontal & vertical offset and amplitude scaling
* automatic and manual trigger with optional hold-off
* two time-axis cursors (shared among channels)
* numeric readout (RMS, P-P, dt) per channel
* display memory (freeze display - not acquisition - of any channel)

It is already available on various GNU/Linux distributions (although
maybe not yet the latest version) as part of the "x42-plugin" bundle.

Cheers!
robin
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_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
Linux-audio-announce@lists.linuxaudio.org
http://lists.linuxaudio.org/listinfo/linux-audio-announce

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### ‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic

Ambient, and — actually, literally ambient.

Mikronesia’s “Edge of Nostalgia” is a chilled-out 7-track record of gentle grooves and crystalline melodies, delivered as an app. That’s nice enough. But with the aid of your iPhone’s microphone, you and the environment around you become part of the soundscape. Ambient sounds are fed through great washes of reverb and chattering chains of delays. Recently updated for iOS 7, the result is an album that is different each time you listen.

As the creator notes, plenty of records include stock sounds of field recordings. Here, those sounds come from you. Instead of shutting out the world, your headphones become more connected with it.

It’s not a new idea. The free and open source library on which Edge of Nostalgia was based, libpd, was indeed created in collaboration with RjDj. RjDj’s team and a community of Pd users championed the idea of using Pure Data as a way of taking responsive sound off lone hackers’ computers and onto the growing explosion of smartphones worldwide.

But this notion may grow in popularity gradually in time, both for artistic and practical purposes. I routinely see pedestrians and cyclists wearing headphones, which of course numbs them to important sound information. Thinking of how to intrude on the music soundscape could become a safety measure.

For its part, “Edge of Nostalgia” is a wonderful way to spend 99 cents. Mikronesia’s music will appeal to any fans of the ambient and chillout genres, but adding the microphone is more than just a short-lived novelty. Walk around the world, and you may find yourself hearing passing cars or barking dogs in a new way. Even in a quiet room, it can be transformative. Turn the microphone level from “big city” to “library,” and even faint sounds you might otherwise have ignored sound new. Lightly stroking my finger or rubbing together my hands on the surface of my desk sounds like a rush of astral wind. The typing on my laptop turns into a cacophony of rattling percussion. A light inhale, the hum of the radiator — and then you may find yourself singing along, the delays turning a whistled tune into harmony. It’s kind of remarkable how much some simple effects can do.

Mikronesia’s studio. Check him out on Instagram.

In fact, one feature request: it’d be really nice to turn the music down and listen just to the mic. Unfortunately, both the pause button and playback volume fader turn down the entire mix, mic ambience included.

You can share your results with others, via AirDrop, social networks or email, and AudioCopy.

The app is the work of Philadelphia-based composer/programmer Michael McDermott, with assistance from Jonathan Moniz at DOHK.

Enjoy!

http://mikronesia.com/eon/

Visit libpd.cc for links to the free libpd library.

More music:

The post ‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic appeared first on Create Digital Music.

## December 05, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] please post: announcing Operacraft premiere

From: Ivica Ico Bukvic <ico@...>
Subject: [LAA] please post: announcing Operacraft premiere
Date: Dec 5, 7:50 pm 2013

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
--------------090303060801060309010402
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Apologies for x-posting...

It is my pleasure to announce tonight's premiere of OPERAcraft. Hosted
by Virginia Tech's Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, in
collaboration with the School of Performing Arts (SOPA), and Linux
Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork), this week will feature a premiere and a second
performance of a newly produced opera. While both events are sold out,
they will be also streamed live online (please see below for a link and

OPERAcraft couples traditional opera with a custom mod of ubiquitous
Minecraft designed at Virginia Tech specially for this purpose. Using
Linux Laptop Orchestra's pd-l2ork software Minecraft's custom mod is
transformed into a full-fledged staging environment, with animated
character mouth movement driven through pd-l2ork's speech analysis
engine, hand and body gestures, multiple camera angles, camera view
mixer, subtitles, behind-the-scenes performer warnings, and a full scene

A 20-minute opera titled "The Surface: a world above" is desiged by and
large by high school students, including story, libretto, costume and
set design. The project is directed by Prof. Ariana Wyatt, Virginia Tech
School of Performing Arts' voice faculty. The music is an adaptation of
Mozart's arias performed by Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts'
piano faculty Dr. Tracy Cowden. Operacraft mod and supporting pd-l2ork
infrastructure was imagined and designed by Virginia Tech School of
Performing Arts' and ICAT computer music faculty Dr. Ivica Ico Bukvic
and devised in collaboration with Virginia Tech Computer Science

Virginia Tech Center for the Arts Page:
https://www.artscenter.vt.edu/Online/ (click on Performances & Events ->
Other Events)

Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
http://www.icat.vt.edu/funding/operacraft

Livestream (December 4th 730pm EST, December 7th 2pm EST):
https://new.livestream.com/operacraft

L2Ork and Pd-L2Ork:
http://l2ork.music.vt.edu
http://l2ork.music.vt.edu/main/?page_id=56

Best wishes,

--
Ivica Ico Bukvic, D.M.A
Composition, Music Technology
Director, DISIS Interactive Sound & Intermedia Studio
Director, L2Ork Linux Laptop Orchestra
Virginia Tech
Department of Music
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0240
(540) 231-6139
(540) 231-5034 (fax)
disis.music.vt.edu
l2ork.music.vt.edu
ico.bukvic.net

--------------090303060801060309010402
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

charset=ISO-8859-1" />
charset=ISO-8859-1">

Apologies for x-posting...

It is my pleasure to announce tonight's premiere of OPERAcraft.
Hosted by Virginia Tech's Institute for Creativity, Arts, and
Technology, in collaboration with the School of Performing Arts
(SOPA), and Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork), this week will feature a
premiere and a second performance of a newly produced opera. While
both events are sold out, they will be also streamed live online

OPERAcraft couples traditional opera with a custom mod of ubiquitous
Minecraft designed at Virginia Tech [message continues]

## December 04, 2013

### Joan Quintana (Joanillo Media Art)

#### 50 ways… #5. How to make a soundfont for Accordion

My daughter has started playing the diatonic button accordion. It’s a button accordion, Castagnari maker, Studio model, with two button rows in the right hand (G-C tuning), and 8 bass buttons in the left hand (4 bass and 4 chords). This is the kind of accordions that were possible to listen in the summer festivals in the little villages of the Pyrenees. When there was still no roads to reach these little villages, during the XIX century and well into the XX century, musicians had to go up to these villages on foot or mule. So it was necessary lightweight instruments. Many times just a violin and an accordion was enough to rock the dancing in the village square.

This time, since I can play with a new instrument for me, I want to practice editing a new soundfont from scratch, and in the future I can use this accordion sound in different projects. Obviously, the first step is to sample the whole range of the instrument. A good microphone is needed, trying to record in a quiet environment, with an enough signal level, long notes, no saturation, just one channel. Samples are saved with the proper names. To record the samples I used an Ubuntu 12.04 32 bits, Edirol UA-25EX interface and a Beyerdynamic TG I52d microphone. I used this sentence:

arecord -r 44100 -f cd -t wav -D plughw:UA25EX accordion_C4.wav

We must be careful specially when sampling bass and chords, since are special buttons and sounds. Once we have sampled the whole range, with Audacity we can edit the waveforms. We take a significant part of each sample, trying a whole period of the envelope, and of course we don’t take the edges of the waveform. We ensure that the sample does not have saturation, and we amplify the sample to a reasonable level, so all the samples have a similar volume. The result of the sampling:

Then we can start using Polyphone, that it will be the graphical environment to design the soundfont. The first thing is to import all the samples, and we relate each sample with his frequency or root note. Then we create a new instrument (i.e. Accordion), that it will be the only instrument in our soundfont. Now is time to associate each sample with a midi note in this new instrument that we are editing. For instance, the sample accordion_C4.wav:

• root key = 60
• key range = 60-60
• attack = 0,2s
• release = 0,2 s

Bass notes that we trigger with the left hand are the following midi notes:

• Bass C = 36 (C2)
• Bass D = 38 (D2)
• Bass E = 40 (E2)
• Bass F = 41 (F2)
• Bass G = 43 (G2)
• Bass A = 45 (A2)

And a special case are the chords that we trigger with the other 4 left hand buttons, associated by covenant to the following midi notes.

• Chord CM = 24 (C1)
• Chord DM = 26 (D1)
• Chord EM = 28 (E1)
• Chord FM = 29 (F1)
• Chord GM = 31 (G1)
• Chord Am = 33 (A1)

And it is important to emphasize that this association is by covenant. When I play the midi note 24 the sampled sound assoicated with the chord CM is triggered.

For bass and chords the attack and release parameter is set to 0,6s.

To finish defining the soundfont we create a new preset associated with this instrument, so we can found the accordion sound in bank=0, channel=0 (000:000). Finally is time to save the soundfount, castagnari.sf2, and time to test it, in this case with fluidsynth, playing my prefered song: Una Plata d’Enciam, in the way that is played the diatonic button accordion: tune with the right hand, and alternating bass and chords with the left hand.

/usr/bin/fluidsynth -s -l -j -a jack -m jack ./accordion_castagnari_studio.sf2 ./una_plata_denciam.midi

In the following post we will explain how lilypond can generate the midi file that we have just listened. I wanted to make a post about lilypond, and now that my daughter is learning accordion, how is it possible to use lilypond for printing accordion scores.

References:

## December 03, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] KXStudio 12.04.3

From: Dan MacDonald <allcoms@...>
Subject: [LAA] KXStudio 12.04.3
Date: Dec 3, 9:02 pm 2013

--089e0115e84a063a3304eca135f5
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

KXStudio 12.04.3 RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT

system that focuses on audio and video production. The installation disc
includes a comprehensive selection of ready-to-run multimedia production
software such as the Ardour, qtractor and REAPER DAWs, the KDEnlive video
editor, the Renoise, Sunvox and Rosegarden sequencers, GIMP image editor,
k3b CD/DVD/BD burner, 100's of effect plugins and virtual instrument
plugins and much, much more. KXStudio allows everybody to hit the ground
running with an optimized and largely pre-configured free software based
digital studio.

Multimedia-focused GNU/Linux distributions are nothing new, so what makes
KXStudio special?

* KXStudio includes Cadence, a suite of custom tools that makes it simple
to manage the various layers and features of the various Linux audio
sub-systems, integrating them seamlessly via a single app. If you've
attempted audio production under Linux previously and struggled, you may

* The easiest way to get going with KXStudio is to install afresh from its
DVD ISO but more experienced Linux users have the option of adding the
KXStudio software repositories onto an existing Ubuntu or Debian
installation so that they may easily install a wide variety of multimedia
packages and just take what they need. This allows for many more
installation and customization options compared to other Linux
distributions and puts the proprietary operating systems to shame in
comparison.

* GNU/Linux audio plus its installation and configuration is no longer
shrouded in mystery thanks to the concise and easy to read KXStudio
documentation available at http://wiki.linuxaudio.org/wiki/kxstudio_manual

If you'd like to be creative with your computer and free of the demands and
limitations of the corporately controlled alternatives, KXStudio is
arguably the best option available!

http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/

--089e0115e84a063a3304eca135f5
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

KXStudio 12.04.3 RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT

KXStudio is a=
s on audio and video production. The installation disc includes a comprehen=
sive selection of ready-to-run multimedia production software such as the A=
rdour, qtractor and REAPER DAWs, the KDEnlive video editor, the Renoise, Su=
nvox and Rosegarden sequencers, GIMP image editor, k3b CD/DVD/BD burner, 10=
0's of effect plugins and virtual instrument plugins and much, much mor=
e. KXStudio allows everybody to hit the ground running with an optimized an=
d largely pre-configured free software based digital studio.

Multimedia-focused GNU/Linux distributions are nothing new, so what mak=
es KXStudio special?

* KXStudio includes Cadence, a suite of custom =
tools that makes it simple to manage the various layers and features of the=
various Linux audio sub-systems, integrating them seamlessly via a single =
app. If you've attempted audio production under Linux previously and st=
ruggled, you may find Cadence to be the solution to your Linux audio diffic=
ulties.

* The easiest way to get going with KXStudio is to install afresh from =
its DVD ISO but more experienced Linux users have the option of adding the =
KXStudio software repositories onto an existing Ubuntu or Debian installati=
on so that they may easily install a wide variety of multimedia packages an=
d just take what they need. T [message continues]

## November 30, 2013

### linux.autostatic.com » linux.autostatic.com

#### Living in a shell

Since I started working for my new employer the amount of time I'm spending inside a terminal window is rapidly increasing. And I like it. I'm learning more in a few months than I did in the past 5 years. I'm discovering superhandy commands and utilities that I had never used or even heard of before. Utilities like w, last and the various *stat utilities. And I'm becoming better and better in using utilities that I already know but that always remained hard to grasp simply because I didn't use them extensively. Think of Vim, screen and sed. Or on a lower level, the Bash shell itself.

I'm particularly starting to develop a fondness for Vim. I've worked myself through a complete Vim book and when I finished it I was like, Vim is not arcane at all, it's actually quite simple. It's all about terseness, doing things in the fastest, most efficient way, memorizing the most important commands and forcing myself to use it for things I would normally do in say, gedit. So now I find myself easily copying whole blocks of text, commenting and uncommenting multiple lines with just a few keystrokes, using markers and buffers and browsing faster through files than possible with a mouse.

Currently I'm reading a book on Bash and it already provided me with a lot of new insights and ideas that I could use in my daily work. My scripting skills are a bit feeble so hopefully this book will help me to improve these. Luckily I have great colleagues that are very knowledgeable when it come to things like Bash and Vim so I'm coming along just fine. But I want to be able to purge a Sendmail mail queue filled with spam like I saw one of my colleagues do recently. What he did on top of his head was just amazing:

for i in ls | grep qfr; do w=grep example.org $i | wc -l; if [ "$w" != "0" ]; \then echo $i | sed -e 's/^qfr//'; fi; done | sed -e 's/^/*/' | xargs -n 50000; This allowed him to create a list of all spam messages which he simply ran through rm. It's no rocket science but I'd really like to be that proficient too. Another colleague of mine is just awesome with regular expressions and Vi. For example, I recently asked him how I could delete all text between parentheses including the parentheses, for example a list of packages I copied from /var/log/apt/history.log, and he immediately replied %s/([^)]*)//g. Yes, I'm blessed that I can work in such an inspiring environment. ## November 29, 2013 ### Create Digital Music » Linux #### Black Friday – Cyber Monday Deal Roundup, Codes Black Friday, the ominous-sounding American retail holiday named originally for the day when retailers broke even (think black ink), is of course on today. Fortunately, for music and sound, there’s no need to get trampled to land some discounts. Here’s what’s in the CDM inbox – these aren’t paid placements and they’re hardly comprehensive, but some deals I thought were especially nice: Vinyl lovers everywhere, you may want to check your local store today. Record Store Day’s BACK TO BLACK FRIDAY is on. (I guess they resisted the urge to call it None More Black, Spinal Tap style.) Audiofile Engineering, the terrific OS X audio developer, has a sale on many of their apps, including the audio editor Triumph. Twisted Tools, who make some of my favorite creative tools for Reaktor as well as some fascinating samples and the like, have 25% off with code TTblackfriday through the evening of the 2nd of December (11:59 PM California time on Monday). Native Instruments has a massive sale they’re calling XXL. A whole swath of software is available at 50% off – not everything, but still a lot of choices, including instruments and effects from Komplete, expansions for Maschine, and Traktor Pro 2. Upgrades and crossgrades are also all 50% off, meaning now is a smart time to upgrade. And iOS apps iMaschine and Traktor DJ are also on sale on the App Store. Traktor DJ at US$1.99 is a particular deal; iMaschine is sorely in need of an update but still a fun way of capturing samples for Maschine desktop software and is also at US$1.99. If you’ve waited to pick up the very-lovely iMini and unique iSEM apps for iOS, they’re US$4.99/€4.49 Friday through Sunday. And they’ve added iOS 7 support with interapp audio, too. Find them on the app store at Arturia’s section, before they revert to ten bucks.

Elektron has 10% off their machines, including Analog Four, Octatrack, Machinedrum UW, and Monomachine.

Wonderful boutique maker Bleep Labs has $5 off. Serato has a 50% off Black Friday sale, including vinyl and some really pretty swag. (Not the software, though!) Teenage Engineering have 15% off everything, meaning an OP-1 is €679 instead of 799. The Oplab, a unique hardware platform, is also back on sale and discounted to €237. Training site macprovideo.com, who cover loads of audio tools, have 50% off HD downloads and 40% off the online library subscription. That includes new training on Logic Pro X, for example. SSL has their Alpha Channel Analog Channel Strip at US$750, normally $1099, via ProAudioStar through Sunday. Akai has 27% off their compact LPK25 keyboard and LPD8 pad controller, making them both US$49.99.

Harrison Mixbus, makers of a fine Ardour-based DAW solution, have their XT-EQ on sale for US$19 with code XTEQBF, and XT-MC multi-band compressor for$69 with code XTMCBF.

Applied Acoustics Systems, who make some really great software instruments (Ableton users have special versions of some of them), have 50% off in their webstore until Monday. That could make it a great time to upgrade if you’ve got an older version of their Modeling Collection, for instance.

Turntable Lab has a sale that starts at 10% off US$100 and scales to heavier discounts as you spend more. Also, free shipping to continental USA. minimalsystem, makers of lots of plug-ins and presets and Ableton goodies and the like, has 50% off absolutely everything this weekend. Coupon code 9786. With discount code BLK40, The Loop Loft has 40% off their content, plus 75% off bundles on tools like Ableton and Maschine (and MIDI content). Samplephonics has discount code BLKWKND through Monday for 50% off purchases of £99 or more. BeatMaker 2, still arguably the best iOS all-in-one groove production app, is on sale for a terrific US$4.99 – 75% off. No reason not to grab that one, iOS users.

US Apple reseller PowerMax – one of the most affordable ways to grab iPads and MacBooks, particularly used – has a big sale on. I’ve bought every recent machine I own from either them or NYC’s Tekserve. Never pay retail, folks…

Finally, for a nice round-up, see Synthtopia, with some 63 deals there now:
Holiday Deals For Electronic Musicians 2013

And Synthtopia picks up on a bunch of deals at Sweetwater:
Black Friday Gear & Software Deals At Sweetwater

Moog Music has steep discounts on their Animoog and Filtatron apps, making now a perfect time to buy – $.99 for Filtatron,$1.99/$4.99 for Animoog on iPhone and iPad, respectively. Highly recommended, and they’ve just done a new sound pack for Animoog. Details on Synthtopia for that, too. Oh, yes, and one more sale – us. MeeBlip anode is on sale for US$109.95 / 109,95€ / £94.95 with $/€/£10 shipping to North America, Europe, and the UK ($20 elsewhere). Get one through 3 December with coupon code THANKSGIVING.

Black Friday Audio Plugins Sales Overview [Logic Pro Blog]

Deals, deals, deals [rekkerd.org] – loads of plug-ins, software, sounds

£15 for Oli Larkin’s Endless Series V3, 50% off [KVR forum discussion] … this calls for an explanation:

A unique effect based on the Shepard Tone auditory illusion, which generates mind bending risers, infinite scales, psychedelic drones and fascinating sonic textures.

Fascinating. Thanks!

The post Black Friday – Cyber Monday Deal Roundup, Codes appeared first on Create Digital Music.

#### Bitwig Audio Clips Video: No Need for Bland, Endless Loops

Yes, you know the phenomenon – loops sometimes get repetitive, cycling without variation. You can’t really blame the tool; Ableton Live, for instance, certainly allows loads of variation with automation envelopes. But as demonstrated in the latest beta video, Bitwig Studio will provide plenty of functionality for editing changes in audio clips.

I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some other audio. But the features look very nice indeed:

• Multiple audio events inside a clip
• Drag to slice up new regions inside a clip (ideal for reordering, editing)
• Extensive options in the Inspector, for quick access to time options, edits, reverse, legato, pitch, and so on
• Without needing envelopes, make edits to regions, including adding silence
• Precise tools for working with the stretching algorithm with independent settings for regions inside the clip.

There’s also the usual transient detection and so on found in most DAWs. But the ability to freely create regions inside the clips – regions inside regions – opens up editing powers with less work.

And if you can keep with it, watch as they start getting into lots of micro-edits toward the end. For compulsive editors, it’s neat stuff. It’s another chance to bring back IDM.

The bad news: you still have to wait for Bitwig. But there are some nice ideas here.

The post Bitwig Audio Clips Video: No Need for Bland, Endless Loops appeared first on Create Digital Music.

### zthmusic

#### Insomnilund: Celebrating 1 year since first album was made

It’s roughly a year ago since I put out my first project ever finished, called Insomnilund. Since I’m doing no Friday Interview this week, I figured I’d do a quick re-cap of Insomnilund. I’ve been meaning to do a more in depth post about that since forever, but motivation…
Anyway, whenever I finish something, I don’t really listen to it more than occasionally. I more or less hate whatever it is, and I’m usually just happy to get rid of it when I put it out online . The same has been true for Insomnilund. I haven’t really listened to it fully more than a few times this last year. So, this little re-cap is a nice re-visit to the actual songs too.
For those of you who haven’t heard it at all, you can find it at Soundcloud and Bandcamp. You can also use the embedded player under here.
There was also an article written on Libre Graphics World about Insomnilund. That covers a lot of how I went about doing the songs technically. I’ll try and go through this a bit more and deeper in this post.
Before I go further though, I’d like to express my enormous gratitude for anyone who has listened, shared, and enjoyed the album this last year. The album has been downloaded at least well over 200 times (from the places I can track), and I got tons of great feedback and comments. I cannot express enough how glad and grateful that makes me. Some of you even choose to pay for the album at Bandcamp (and some were very generous!), and that in itself is something I’m also very grateful for. So, a huge thanks to all of you, you’re awesome! I really mean it.

The cover of Insomnilund.

## Insomnilund track by track

I figured I’d go through each track, and primarily talk a little about how they were made, and the thoughts behind them. They differ in style quite a lot, and some of them have some background which could be fun to show and talk a little about.

More or less all of the tracks were mainly made in Ardour 3. A few of them were composed in OpenOctave MIDI, and then mixed and arranged in Ardour 3. Needless to say, it was all 100% made in Linux, and with as much open source and free tools as possible.

Anyway, lets look a bit closer at each track.

### 1. Breeze

This track was composed fully in OpenOctave MIDI, and then mixed and finished in Ardour. At the time, I used OpenOctave MIDI quite a lot, just because it has awesome MIDI. Unfortunately, it’s currently a dead project, and I’ve moved away from it completely.

Breeze more or less consists of a few pianos, some strings and a few rhythm instruments. I believe all the pianos used are Pianoteq, which I used a lot of at the time. I’ve moved away from Pianoteq more or less completely nowadays, mostly to Salamander Grand Piano, which is a great, free and open source SFZ sampled piano instrument by Rytmenpinne. Pianoteq is really nice, but I couldn’t afford to upgrade at the time, and I like staying as free as possible, so I’m sticking with the Salamander piano.

What I wanted to do with Breeze, was originally to do something purely orchestral. I had just began dabbling with the free orchestral library Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra at the time, and I wanted to do something I hadn’t quite done before. It didn’t end up purely orchestral, but pretty close.

The result turned out to be something quite similar to a pure orchestral thing, but not quite. I’m pretty happy with how it all ended up, and it was fun to do something that was radically different to what I usually do.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
• Pianoteq
• Salamander Drumkit’s hihat
• …and more that I don’t quite remember.

### 2. Search and Repair

The second track of the album was also me trying to do something I had more or less never done before. What I probably love the most about music is transitions. I love how some artists can make songs that seamlessly flow from one part to another. Even if it’s just bringing in another instrument into the mix, I really pay attention to, and like, transitions. It’s something I’m trying to work on and get better at in my own music as well, and it’s something I usually spend a lot of time on.

Search and Repair had the goal of Breeze smoothly transitioning into it. As Search and Repair is more of a classically structured track, with a steady beat and a few repetative loops in there, I wanted it to be very similar to Breeze, so that they felt almost like one track. The way I did this was by actually making Search and Repair out of Breeze itself, with a few parts of Breeze playing in reverse.

I took the MIDI from Breeze, and put it on a much lower BPM. Then, I just simply exported most of Breeze again, but at this lower BPM. I then reversed most of the sounds, at least the main piano rhythm part. Then, I started chopping up and re-arranging the various loops inside of Ardour, which is where I made the entire song more or less.

So, in short, Search and Repair was intended to be a more “hiphop”-remix of Breeze.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Virtually the same as in Breeze
• TAL NoizeMaker for the pad sounds, and for the other electronic synth sounds
• A few drumsamples I really can’t remember which they were

### 3. The Last Time

This track was very fun to make. It started out as me wanting to do something that was pretty classically beaty, and that slowly progressed into something kind of glitchy. However, it turned out to be quite hard in the end. I did however manage to stick some glitch in there.

This was in a period where I was completely hooked on the “phasing panning” thing, which the main guitar in the song has. The “phasing panning” is more or less simply the pan going smoothly back and forth in the stereo field, which I’m sure you can hear. This was accomplished by using the Calf Pulsator, which I still use quite a lot for similar effects. I’m sure the effect has as many origins as anything, but for me, it was The Roots that brought the effect to my attention. They use it quite a lot in their songs, and I really like it.

The song also has an electric piano, which is the MDA ePiano. It’s virtually the only electric piano I use.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Pianoteq
• My electric guitar
• MDA ePiano
• TAL NoizeMaker
• …and more

The Last Time session in Ardour.

### 4. 9 Lives

Ahh, 9 Lives. This is my personal favorite. The reason for that ties on to its name, 9 Lives, which “symbolizes” that the song has had 9 lives. 9 lives you say?! Well, the base melody that I use there is actually from the first full thing I ever recorded together with a friend back in 2010, which was a cover of El Perro Del Mar’s original “A Change of Heart”. For those of you interested I’ve put it up for listen here below. Mind the horrible mixing etc please.

So, back to the 9 lives thing. 9 Lives is just one of the songs where I’ve used parts of this song to make something new. The vocals of the original recording return in this remake of the song, and there’s parts of the vocals of the original song inside of Simply Let Go on this album as well. There’s also quite a few other both released and unreleased songs where elements from that very first recording has returned. At one time I was considering making an EP or similar, with each track containing something from the original 2010 recording. Luckily enough, I never did that .

Needless to say, the first full thing I ever recorded has been properly recycled, and can be put to rest with a satisfactory feeling of being very useful to me .

Anyway, 9 Lives is based on the base melody of that first song. I then just went on modifying that some, and then I started building on it further, with more guitars and so on. I guess the origins of it is why it’s my personal favorite.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Virtually only my acoustic guitar
• A little Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
• Me playing a *drumroll* shaker egg

### 5. Who Stole My Stuff

The fifth track was really a hiphop attempt more than anything. I wanted to make something classically hiphop, with just a main repetative melody, and a few variations.

This was one of the easiest songs to make, just because it was more or less a basic melody with a few things thrown on top of it. I threw a few strings in there as well, mostly for variation. It is what it is. I’d do the song very differently today, but at the time, I was just happy I could get something fairly coherent and hiphoppy together, without boring the listener to death (although I realize quite a few actually was bored to death with it ).

Instruments involved in this song:

• Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
• My electric guitar
• TAL NoizeMaker for bass
• Drumsamples which I also don’t quite remember

### 6. Simply Let Go

This song was heavily inspired by the artist Cloudkicker. Cloudkicker makes some really cool songs, where it’s basically just loops on top of loops, slowly building up. That really inspired me, and I wanted to do something which more or less just had a steady beat, which it built upon.

It was also the first time I tried doing a bass that sounded somewhat dubsteppy, which also was fun. Admittedly, I’m not a dubstep-guy per say, but I do enjoy it occasionally. The dubstepness of the bass was very basic, but it was pretty fun to play around with some of the dreaded “wub wub wub”.

Also, like previously mentioned, this song contains a few vocals from the original A Change of Heart cover, shown above under 9 Lives.

In case you missed, I’m also a complete sucker for atmospherical sounds in my songs. Most songs on Insomnilund has some form of atmospherical sound, and in this, it’s rain. It’s hard putting rain in your song without appearing as you’re ripping Eminem’s “Stan” off though. I guess that’s because that’s kind of what you do. Like anyone has heard “Stan” and not thought the rain sounds were really really cool?

This was also one of the by far oldest songs on the album. I think I made the bulk of this song way back in late 2011. I’m usually pretty hesitant to even show people older stuff, just because I’m still developing pretty quickly I think, so with months in between my work, it usually sounds very different.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Mainly my acoustic guitar
• My 12-string acoustic guitar. Yaay! Gotta use that more
• TAL NoizeMaker for dubsteppy bass, and a few more sounds
• Drumsamples etc

### 7. G.B.C

This song basically sprung from the bass sound that makes up the intro of the song. The first time I discovered that, I really thought it sounded cool. Going back and listening, I realize it leaves a lot to wish for (read: I could’ve made it sound way fatter and meaner), but what can you do.

I guess this was intended as kind of a “doom” song. I don’t know whether I succeeded or not, but it at least has some kind of raw edge to it.

Instruments involved in this song:

• Bulk of the sounds was made with TAL NoizeMaker
• MDA ePiano
• Some Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (including the male choir that’s used)
• Drumsamples etc

### 8. Flow

This is another of the songs which has a kind of long back story to it. The guitars/melodies in this song is actually originally from one of the first hiphop beats I ever recorded. I’ve attatched it below for you to listen if you interested, but like stated previously, beware of lousy mixing and production.

I’m sure you can hear the similarities.

The original hiphop beat ended up having vocals recorded on it, but then got “outdated” too quickly. before it could be put out online. I still liked the guitars of it though, and they were pretty fitting for a purely acoustic track, so I went ahead and tried recording an acoustic version of that beat. The guitars got some string company, and then that was it.

Instruments involved in this song:

• My acoustic guitar
• Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra

This was a really fun album to make. Mostly because it was the first thing I ever finished by myself, and actually dared publishing publically. But also because I kinda did “what I could” at that time. Personally, I think of myself as a little more oriented towards electronic music, which I guess my latest album Ordinary Day Montage shows. But I find myself going more and more back to the original ideas that I had making Insomnilund, when I sit down and make music these days.

And I think that’s really fun for me. The only instrument I can claim playing *a lot* is the guitar, and especially the acoustic guitar. So for me, it’s fun and nice to go back to that now in modern times, and try and make more music revolving around the acoustic guitar.

As a final note, if you’re still reading, I’d like to thank you so much for taking your time reading through this. Please let me know if there’s any questions and all. Thanks!

The back of the Insomnilund cover.

The post Insomnilund: Celebrating 1 year since first album was made appeared first on zthmusic.

### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Modifying Already Beautified Scores

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

In his recent posts Janek shared with us his struggles with several Engraving Challenges that made him ask for more or less significant improvements in LilyPond (and in one case he actually implemented the needed improvement himself, as he’ll show you soon). So I think it’s time for a real success story in between (appropriate for our 50th (!) post). This will round off the first part of our series which was originally estimated to have three posts in total…

But I will start off by confessing to a mistake. Our intention was to finish the musical text, do the beautification after that, and do a last proof-reading run while approving Janek’s work. But it turned out that we had to apply nearly 200 fixes to the musical text on the 94 pages of the edition after the beautification was considered finished. So it clearly seems we let Janek prematurely beautify the scores.
The necessary fixes ranged from capitalization in lyrics or titles (completely harmless) over fixes in pitch and adding/removing/parenthesizing accidentals (potentially dangerous) to one extreme case of a slur which spans three measures and was accidentally hidden (asking for disaster).

Anybody who has ever prepared publication quality scores can easily see the awful mess this could have created. But LilyPond saved our day by really graciously accomodating these post-beautification fixes! Thanks to the use of versioning the whole process of beautification and proof-reading is meticulously documented, so I can give you a quite specific report on how LilyPond coped with the task.

One nice thing about managing an edition project with LilyPond and version control is that I (as the editor) can directly apply any fixes to the shared source files without worrying about file conflicts. I don’t have to choose between sending Janek (the engraver) a list with fixes (letting him do all the work and requiring me to proof-read again afterwards) or asking him to send me a copy of the score file (which would be asking for trouble if he would ever think of editing it himself in the meantime). So I applied all the fixes found while proof-reading myself, committing them to the repository one by one. This gave me the opportunity to judge their implications individually and pass my comments along with them. But to my (pleasant) surprise the phrase I used in the vast majority of commit messages was “No side-effects noticed” – if there were any changes in layout, they were usually not for the worse.

In a typical run-through for a single song I applied five to ten fixes to the musical text and wrote a list of four or five “beautification requests”. These were rare cases where an issue may have escaped Janek’s eye or the even more rare ones where I was even more picky than he is . When Janek was assigned to finish off the song he would first process the beautification requests and then look for the issues created by my modifications. Usually I found only one or two commits post-processing my modifications, and actually there even were numerous songs he didn’t have to touch at all. Considering how delicate it is for an engraving software to accomodate subsequent changes I can’t say anything else than this was a success story for LilyPond’s performance.

##### Examples

In the remaining part of this post I will show you some examples of changes in the musical text and their impact on the layout. There will be some with and some without side-effects. Note that I didn’t collect these examples along the way – I have created them now, thanks to the fact that version control lets me inspect any past state of the project .

I wouldn’t have expected fixing the poet’s name to have any negative impact, so this is just an initial example.

Parenthesizing an accidental in the third beat of the left hand slightly changed the horizontal spacing, but was accomodated gracefully.

Changing the beaming and a slur is already an involved change – actually I’d have expected this to break the line’s layout. But again LilyPond managed to do without requiring further tweaks: the staves were automatically moved to accommodate upward stems.

Restoring the voicing to that of the original edition. Although there is enough space available mungling with the voice distribution could be dangerous – but not for LilyPond.

Removing the natural before the c'' actually did cause a regression: The tie on the fis” is now too short (previously LilyPond used more horizontal space here because of the accidental).

The right end of the lower phrasing slur was attached to the wrong note. Of course reattaching it caused a regression (as this clearly is a kind of slur that you couldn’t seriously expect to be handled perfectly by a computer program) – but notice that everything else is still working and nothing was broken.

And finally the example that surprised me most. While proof-reading I noticed that there was a long phrasing slur missing that should span nearly the whole system, from the g' in measure 27 to the last fis'' in measure 30:

I was sure adding this would severely damage the layout of that system. But please see now how gracefully LilyPond managed to insert that slur: slightly increasing the distance between the staves to prevent the new slur to collide with the crescendo hairpin, but completely without any negative side-effects. This is really near the automatic engraving we’re after !

## November 28, 2013

### blog4

#### new Notstandskomitee remix released

took delivery today of the Jonteknik Remix CD 'People At An Exhibition' with the Notstandskomitee version of their track 'Music Machine', get yours at
www.jonteknikmusic.com

## November 27, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] QMidiArp 0.5.3 maintenance release

From: Frank Kober <goemusic@...>
Subject: [LAA] QMidiArp 0.5.3 maintenance release
Date: Nov 27, 6:13 pm 2013

--398296598-1457556848-1385490740=:87846
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Dear all,=0A=0AQMidiArp 0.5.3 fixes a number of bugs and should from now on=
replace 0.5.2. It also has some minor functional improvements, all is list=
ed below.=0A=0AWith thanks to all reporters, contributors and translators.=
=0A=0AAnd....enjoy!=0A=0AFrank=0A=0A------------------------------------=0A=
QMidiArp is an advanced MIDI arpeggiator, programmable step sequencer and L=
FO for Linux with ALSA and JACK MIDI backends.=0A--------------------------=
--=0A=0Aqmidiarp-0.5.3 (2013-11-26)=0A=0ANew Features=0A=A0 o Random functi=
ons for sequencer and LFO steps and arp repeat mode=0A=A0=A0=A0 (feature re=
quest #5 Keith Milner)=0A=0AImprovements=0A=A0 o NSM support now handles im=
port/export/clear to facilitate=0A=A0=A0=A0 getting started (Roy Vegard Ove=
sen)=0A=A0 o Tempo is now MIDI-controllable (MIDI-learn)=0A=A0 o Sequencer =
transpose slider is now MIDI controllable (MIDI-learn)=0A=A0=A0=A0 (feature=
request #7)=0A=A0 o Sequencer pattern maximum length extended to 32 bars=
=0A=A0=A0=A0 (feature request #6)=0A=0AFixed Bugs=0A=A0 o LFO offset jumped=
back to fixed value when MIDI controlled=0A=A0=A0=A0 (bug #6 distrozapper)=
=0A=A0 o Arp trigger behavior was not practical with chords pressed on keyb=
oard=0A=A0=A0=A0 (bug #7 Burkhard Ritter)=0A=A0 o JACK Transport no longer =
worked when no JT Master tempo was present=0A=A0=A0=A0 (bug #5 Barney Holme=
s)=0A=A0 o Deleting an arp pattern in text window while running caused cras=
h=0A=A0 o Note lengths were not consistent between alsa and jack backends=
=0A=A0 o Note lengths did not account for current tempo=0A=A0 o Sequencer d=
id not honor "D" button when MIDI controlled=0A=A0 o Seq note length is now=
a 16th at half slider scale
--398296598-1457556848-1385490740=:87846
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

lveticaNeue, Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, Lucida Grande, sans-serif;fo=
nt-size:10pt">
Dear all,

QMidiArp 0.5.3 fixes a number of bugs a=
nd should from now on replace 0.5.2. It also has some minor functional impr=
ovements, all is listed below.

With thanks to all reporters, contrib=
utors and translators.

And....enjoy!

Frank

-----------=
-------------------------
QMidiArp is an advanced MIDI arpeggiator, prog=
rammable step sequencer and LFO for Linux with ALSA and JACK MIDI backends.=

------------------------------------
h=
ttp://qmidiarp.sourceforge.net/

http://sourceforge.n=

>------------------------------------

qmidiarp-0.5.3 (2013-11-26)

>
New Features
o Random functions for sequencer and LFO
steps and arp repeat mode
(feature request #5 Keith =
Milner)

Improvements
o NSM support now handles import/expo=
rt/clear to facilitate
getting started (Roy Vegard Ov=
esen)
o Tempo is now MIDI-controllable (MIDI-learn)
o S=
equencer transpose slider is now MIDI controllable (MIDI-learn)
&n=
bsp;  (feature request #7)
o Sequencer pattern maximum lengt=
h extended to 32 bars
(feature request #6)

Fix=
ed Bugs
o LFO offset [message continues]

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### MeeBlip anode: Compact Bass Synth with Analog Filter, A CDM Collaboration

The challenge: fit everything you really want from a bass synth into a 4″ x 4″ square. Make every parameter hands-on, with full-sized knobs and switches. Give it an analog filter that can be angry, not just nice.

Our solution: MeeBlip anode. It’s the new collaboration between CDM and instrument designer James Grahame. Together with James’ engineering work, we’ve cooked up a little package that focuses on packing personality:

• Digital oscillators meet an original analog filter
• Grungy, bass-heavy sounds
• Compact, 4” x 4” case (approx. 100 x 100 mm)
• Modulation, envelope, tuning, and pulse width controls
• MIDI input for compatibility with vintage and modern hardware, computers, and (with a compatible adapter) iPad and iPhone

And here’s what anode sounds like – completely unprocessed, recorded straight out of the anode’s audio jack (more sounds to come):

Price: US$129.95 / 129,95€ / £109.95 From now through December 3, though, you can it at a special Thanksgiving discount for presale customers: US$109.95 / 109,95€ / £94.95

Presale means these are built to order – we are able to more quickly scale up volume of case manufacture – and shipped to you as quickly as we can after final assembly and testing in Canada. (ETA from now: 7 weeks.)

anode is our biggest release since the original MeeBlip three years ago. It’s been a constant reminder of why I want to be making hardware as well as writing about it. We can’t wait to get it in your hands.

Hell, yes, digital. MeeBlip has always been about straight-to-the-metal digital coding. The variable-pulse-wave oscillators on anode alias at the low end for extra grunge, with anti-aliasing higher for more versatility on melodies. So, we still have digital oscillators – newly tuned for sound that’s like MeeBlip, but better.

Hell, yes, analog. For anode, James Grahame devised a new analog filter. It’s a departure from most of the KORG MS-style or transistor/diode filters currently popular on the market. It still behaves like a classic low-pass in use, but it sounds aggressive, especially as you add resonance. We wanted to make sure there was no part of the filter range that felt boring or conservative; that’s not what this instrument is about.

Simple, playable. Each knob, each switch, each range has been carefully considered (sometimes, hotly debated) to result in anode. You get hands-on control, plus a MIDI message corresponding to each parameter for automation (with the exception of analog filter resonance).

Hackable. anode is designed with the assumption that many players won’t change a thing. But if you do, we’ve made it easier to modify both firmware and software. Component swaps can transform that sound of the filter; you can add features you want like audio in or CV in if you really want. We’re also busily finishing the next-generation MeeBlip micro board, a pre-assembled board that you can easily build into your own projects, so we aren’t ignoring DIYers. MeeBlips are now all assembled projects, but if you want to solder and construct and write code, you can build on what they give you.

And yes, it’s still open source hardware

The New MeeBlip anode @ MeeBlip blog

Or skip straight to getting your own:
http://meeblip.com/get-one

All images here rendered by
Arvid Jense, industrial designer and musician.

The post MeeBlip anode: Compact Bass Synth with Analog Filter, A CDM Collaboration appeared first on Create Digital Music.

### KXStudio News

#### New releases and future plans

Hello everyone, there have been a couple of releases and changes on the KXStudio world.

First of, a new release of the KXStudio Live-DVD is now available.
This is a bug-fix for the 12.04.x series, which current users should already have if their systems are up to date.

Several new versions of Carla have been released since its first announcement, the last one currently being 1.2.2.
For a change-log you can check the git log (stable branch) in github.
This way you can see what actually changed in the code, instead of just seeing a description list.

A new DISTRHO release is planned for release next month, and a few minor plugins.
Hopefully the Plugin Toolkit will be ready by then, which should help the creation of new audio plugins (soon!).

Lastly, after much discussion and consideration, the KXStudio repositories are moving to Debian.
The current 12.04.x release is still fully supported, this is something that will happen slowly through 2014.
Having the KXStudio repos in Debian means any Debian based distribution can make use of KXStudio goods, and not just Ubuntu ones.
Although there are already happy users with Debian + KXStudio, this process is not yet complete.
We'll make a new announcement once the Debian repos are ready for wide use.

Oh, and the KXStudio website is currently being redone a little.
Give it a visit now! http://kxstudio.sourceforge.net/

## November 26, 2013

### zthmusic

#### Libre Jam: Audio workshop for kids – Review of event (Part 4)

This is a part of a series of posts on a workshop about making music using free and open source software, that will take place the 8th to 10th of November 2013, in Gothenburg, Sweden. You can find all of the posts in this series by following this link.

Hey again. Lots has happened since last post. I didn’t really have enough time to continue actively writing, so this post will be a round up of what happened at the event and so forth.

Unfortunately, I got a pretty severe tooth infection just two days out of the event, that put me down literally for about two weeks. Sadly, I was therefore not able to attend the actual workshop. It sucked since I put a lot of work into getting things ready, but at the same time, my friend Staffan did an awesome job of making the workshop happen anyway, despite not having used the software more than the few hours we spent preparing together. Enough whining for me, but I want to express my gratitude to Staffan for actually going through with this by himself, and for doing so in such a successful way. Great job!

Staffan in action at the concert which followed the Libre Jam workshop. Photo licensed CC-BY-SA, and taken by Ein Andersson.

## Libre Jam Workshop: What we ended up doing

So, what we ended up doing was along the lines of what I’ve described in the previous posts, but with a little twist. Instead of preparing a grand amount of different things you could do easily with the stick, we stuck (no pun intended) to having a small amount of things prepared. I’ll go through what we did in a little more detail.

### The USB sticks

The actual USB sticks ended up like we planned it to. All of them were 8gb sticks, leaving room for the user’s own creations on there. This is what it contained:

#### KXStudio

It was all based on KXStudio 12.04.3, which allowed us to have a large set of software already installed, and everything up and working by default more or less.

We put a few good applications out on the desktop too, just to expose the good stuff.

#### A “pre-startup” script

This set the environment variable for the Non Session Manager (NSM) to the port of which I later started NSM on. This enables any application that has NSM support to automatically add itself to the current session on startup. Perfect for easing into using session management. The actual code:

#!/bin/sh export NSM_URL=osc.udp://kxstudio:14000

#### A startup script

This script put the CPU governors to Performance (to maximize the performance of the computer), started the NSM daemon with the port defined in the pre-startup script, started the NSM GUI at the correct port too, and then finally, load our default session. The default session contained jack-keyboard, which is a virtual keyboard, and a few other applications.

#!/bin/bash echo performance | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/scaling_governor nsmd --osc-port 14000 & sleep 3 non-session-manager --nsmd-url osc.udp://kxstudio:14000 & sleep 3 send_osc osc.udp://kxstudio:14000 /nsm/server/open "Default session" 

#### A shutdown script

This shutdown script just reset the JACK device to hw:0, to ensure that the device is always set right on startup.

#!/bin/bash jack_control dps device hw:0

#### Result

What this gave us, was a solid platform that was usable with more or less any new computer, and had a basic configuration and setup that allowed the participants to crank out sound more or less instantly, after booting.

A participant in action with a booted USB stick. Photo licensed CC-BY-SA, and taken by Ein Andersson.

### What the participants actually did

When planning this thing, we came to the conclusion that there’s probably not going to be too much time for anything really. We still wanted to show as much as possible though, so what we figured we wanted to do was:

1. Try out a synth. This ended up being ZynAddSubFX, mainly due to its large preset library.
2. Try out sequencing drum beats. This was done with Hydrogen.
3. Put both together inside of a DAW. QTractor was chosen for this, where the participants got to put their drumloop from Hydrogen, and also sequence a few more synths. These synths ended up being TAL NoizeMaker, mostly becuase it feels very modern.

So, this was the plan going in, and pretty much what ended up happening as well. The particiapants got to try out a few different things in music making, and then also got to try and put it all together in a bigger application.

Like previously mentioned, I was not there personally unfortunately, but Staffan did the whole workshop by himself. This is what he has to say about how it was received:

We got great response to the workshop, and it was fun seeing all the people (children and grownups) using headphones and tweaking away on the softsynths. The only problem we ran into was with the Macs, which didn’t boot KXStudio from a stick. Our temporary solution (for the one guy with the Mac) was one he found out himself: Hydrogen was available for OS/X.

The three subjects of the workshop worked pretty good together, adding one element of complexity in each step: Sound, sound plus sequencer, sound plus sequencer plus audio track and mixing.
Of course, the participants didn’t have the time to produce any really finished work, but with a 2 hour workshop you can only give them a starting point and a direction.

I really have to thank zth/Gabbe for the fine work in preparing for this workshop. and the wonderful solution of using the KXStudio live-sticks.

Staffan Melin

Another participant in action! Photo licensed CC-BY-SA, and taken by Ein Andersson.

## The concert

Like mentioned previously in the post series, there was also a form of concert springing out of this workshop in the evening. Staffan can tell you more about this:

At the end of the workshop, I asked if anyone would like to participate in the live event. One child volunteered, so he, a grownup who earlier ran the electronics workshop for kids and myself, were to be the stars of the night!

The preparations consisted of me trying to mix together the tracks from the workshop. This was not possible to do in a consistent (working) way in the short time available, and as I only had the
WAV-files, I decided to remix them in Audacity. The end result was some kind of drone/noise-background, that we were going to jam to using two laptops running a virtual keyboard and ZynAddSubFX, and one Arduino-controlled Raspberry Pi running Pure Data (with some live coding going on).

The concert, which lasted for about 20 minutes, was well received, and one person even dared to join us. We strove for a kind of wall-of-sound experience, which worked quite well.

Staffan Melin

The concert was actually recorded, and will be put online in a few months likely. Here’s how the backing track for the concert sounded:

## Wrap up, and possible future improvements

All and all, this was a really fun project to do. It’s also a type of project I see a lot of potential in. Using a USB stick like this is great for many reasons. Especially the fact that it can be modified and save its various settings and modifications. Here’s a few thoughts on what could be improved for future editions of similar projects:

• A more integrated approach. This might be more of a Linux audio “issue” than with the particular workflow here, but it’s just hard finding some application that has a lot of good features, and still is newbie-friendly. Don’t get me wrong, music creation is very complex and not something you teach someone in a 2 hour workshop, but fact is it’s very hard to find a viable application that’ll just allow people to get started easily right away. There’s LMMS of course, but LMMS doesn’t play nice with JACK, meaning you’d need to run it without JACK started. And that’d effectively remove all the other benefits of Linux audio and JACK.
• Prepared pre-made songs to play with. This was a time-issue, there was simply no time to prepare semi-full song productions for people to play with. I’d love to take one of my old songs and just hook up the session for everyone, but there wasn’t time, and they are usually big sessions that demand a lot of resources. This could definitively be improved for the future.
• Resource guides, tutorials and similar. Where do you go after participating in a workshop like this, if you want to progress further? I put together a quick page addressing this here, which was linked to the participants, but still it doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

## Final words

Finally, I want to thank Staffan again for the cooperation and opportunity to do this. I also want to thank everyone who’s helped me with the preparation. Especially, in no particular order: falkTX of KXStudio, Jonathan Liles of the Non tools, and HarryHaaren of OpenAV. I’ve also gotten tons of good feedback from others (like ssj71), but I’m not making any list as I’m afraid I’ll forget someone .

Thank you again for helping, and thank you for reading and taking an interest in this!

The post Libre Jam: Audio workshop for kids – Review of event (Part 4) appeared first on zthmusic.

## November 25, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Regressions and Managing LilyPond versions

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

When we began working on the Fried project, LilyPond’s current development version was 2.15.37. Since that time a new stable version – 2.16 – was released, followed by a steady flow of 2.17.x development releases. How did the changes in the program affect our workflow?

###### Trying to keep up

Initially we tried to keep up with the updates and always use the latest development version. This was partly due to the fact that some new releases contained fixes for bugs that affected us – for example, we reported a problem with the formatting of hairpins (issue 2532), which was fixed in 2.15.39 release. However, this proved to be too much work: for each new version of LilyPond, Janek had to compile all beautified scores and make sure there are no regressions (i.e. check if the new version didn’t introduce any unwanted changes). Doing this meant visually comparing dozens of pages, system-after-system. And it wasn’t enough to check if the new version was the same as the old – most of the time there were subtle, harmless changes in spacing. Note that changes not necessarily are problematic – in general you can say that new LilyPond versions make the layout of your existing scores even better – but still you have to carefully check whether individual changes in the new version aren’t for the worse.
Our worst enemy here was the butterfly effect that Janek already mentioned in his post about slurs: some tiny difference in the positioning of a dynamic may influence LilyPond’s decisions regarding line breaks, and when line breaking changes everything becomes different. It’s almost impossible to swiftly compare two versions of a piece that have different line-breaking, because you cannot use “Alt-Tab comparison”.

###### Turning to a stable approach

At one point we therefore decided not to change the LilyPond version unless really necessary. Nevertheless, the situation wasn’t so simple: for quite a long time Mike’s skyline patch, which we used, was in active development and produced uneven results – some scores looked better with it, some worse. Because of that we used different LilyPond versions for different songs, which was very inconvenient. So we made one last change when Mike’s skyline patch was finished and merged into the official LilyPond codebase – since it was stable and consistent enough to be used in all songs, we upgraded all source files to 2.17.3, which once more involved some extra work to fix regressions.

We kept to this for a whole year – with one exception: For the beautification of Heiterkeit, güldene, komm! op. 7, No. 1 Janek wanted to use a special function he wrote and didn’t want to miss in this extremely complex song. Since the function required LilyPond 2.17.25 he decided to upgrade just this song to the latest development version available at that moment (2.17.27). Everything moved smoothly, but we wouldn’t want to go back to the earlier situation described at the beginning of this post. Particularly not if you consider that due to some internal changes it wasn’t possible to compile this song with LilyPond 2.17.29 (of course that’s not anything to say against LilyPond devs – it’s just the normal way of software development that in development versions anything can change at any time to be in the best possible shape for the next stable release).

As mentioned at the outset of this article checking for regressions was a significant time-sink. Unfortunately this problem appeared not only with changed LilyPond version – it appeared all the time: since any modification (to the music or e.g. to a function in the library) could change the layout of a score, we had to check for regressions after every big change to be absolutely sure that nothing broke. There was really not much that we could do about it, apart from being cautious. Fortunately using version control meant that if anything became broken, it wasn’t difficult to get back to the last known good state, even if the offending change wasn’t the last one. This allowed us to decrease the frequency of checking the scores – in the end it seemed enough to check every score once, after finishing beautification.

###### Returning to custom and volatile builds

The situation got a last turn right before the end. When seeing all those scores in their “beautified glory” Urs expressed a few more wishes because some design elements didn’t fit perfectly in the “style” of the scores. A characteristic of the style sheet that we had developed is that most of the lines are somewhat thicker than default – which makes it very enjoyable to play from the scores. Unfortunately there are elements that can’t easily be made thicker and consequently were now somewhat inconsistent – a fact that only became that obvious in the context of the beautified scores. In particular Urs wished to have portato dashes and chord brackets heavier but didn’t find any settings how to achieve that.

Janek quickly found out that the thickness of the chord brackets (actually they’re bracketed arpeggios) is for some unknown reason hardcoded in LilyPond’s C++ source files and that it would be a breeze for him to change that. As a LilyPond developer he could easily modify the source code and compile a custom build with which he then could compile affected scores (i.e. those containing chord brackets). Luckily he didn’t simply change the hardcoded thickness but added a settable property for it, so we can hope to see this improvement in default LilyPond soon. Unfortunately, since Urs didn’t have access to custom LilyPond builds, he couldn’t compile the scores containing chord brackets properly .

Now, portato dashes are part of LilyPond’s notation font Emmentaler and therefore naturally don’t have any properties that could be overridden in LilyPond input files. But as the source code of the fonts is also part of LilyPond’s source repository, and the fonts are directly compiled from them when building LilyPond, Janek could simply modify Emmentaler’s source files to make the portato somewhat thicker and compile another custom build containing this improvement too. Again, without access to custom LilyPond builds Urs was dependent on letting Janek produce new PDFs.

###### Conclusion

Our final judgement on the situation? Well, it’s really ambivalent.

• It is really nice that LilyPond generally improves, and that these improvements automatically affect existing scores. It is also nice that you can live “at the cutting edge of technology” by using the latest development versions - something you don’t have with big commercial products.
But it’s way less nice to experience the trouble that is tied to changing LilyPond versions.

• It is also exciting that LilyPond is accessible to actual improvements from within an edition project – by either extending it with Scheme code in the input files or by actually making modifications to LilyPond’s source code. This is really a unique feature of Open Source Software.

• Of course, not everyone has an actual LilyPond developer in the team, so some of these opportunities may not be available to you. But if you are able to compile LilyPond from source code (and Janek’s work on a special building script should make doing this easier), you may ask for assistance on the LilyPond mailing list and try using some custom improvements.

• We are now in a situation very similar to that of the beginning: the scores in our edition have to be compiled with specific, custom versions of LilyPond, ones that aren’t easily available but have to be built from LilyPond’s Git repository.

And our conclusions, tips and suggestions?

• Make a version freeze at the latest possible moment and keep any work following that moment as concise and short as possible.
• Try to determine all possible engraving issues before making the version freeze and before starting beautification.
• If custom modifications to LilyPond have to be done, do them once and at this point.

### linux.autostatic.com » linux.autostatic.com

#### Using a Raspberry Pi as a piano

Recently I posted about my successful attempt to get LinuxSampler running on the Raspberry Pi. I've taken this a bit further and produced a script that turns the Raspberry Pi into a fully fledged piano. Don't expect miracles, the sample library I used is good quality so the RPi might choke on it every now and then with regard to disk IO. But it's usable if you don't play too many notes at once or make extensive use of a sustain pedal. I've tested the script with a Class 4 SD though so a faster SD card could improve stability.

Edit: finally got around buying a better SD card and the difference is huge! I bought a SanDisk Extreme Class 10 SD card and with this SD card I can run LinuxSampler at lower latencies and I can play more notes at once.

Before you can run the script on your Raspberry Pi you will need to tweak your Raspbian installation so you can do low latency audio. How to achieve this is all described in the Raspberry Pi wiki article I've put up on wiki.linuxaudio.org. After you've set up your RPi you will need to install JACK and LinuxSampler with sudo apt-get install jackd1 linuxsampler. Next step is to get the Salamander Grand Piano sample pack on your RPi:

cdmkdir LinuxSamplercd LinuxSamplerwget -c http://download.linuxaudio.org/lau/SalamanderGrandPianoV2\/SalamanderGrandPianoV2_44.1khz16bit.tar.bz2wget -c http://dl.dropbox.com/u/16547648/sgp44.1khz_V2toV3.tar.bz2tar jxvf SalamanderGrandPianoV2/SalamanderGrandPianoV2_44.1khz16bit.tar.bz2tar jxvf sgp44.1khz_V2toV3.tar.bz2 -C SalamanderGrandPianoV2_44.1khz16bit \--strip-components=1

Please note that decompressing the tarballs on the RPi could take some time. Now that you've set up the Salamander Grand Piano sample library you can download the script and the LinuxSampler config file:

cdmkdir binwget -c https://raw.github.com/AutoStatic/scripts/rpi/piano -O /home/pi/bin/pianochmod +x bin/pianowget -c https://raw.github.com/AutoStatic/configs/rpi/home/pi/LinuxSampler\/SalamanderGrandPianoV3.lscp -O /home/pi/LinuxSampler/SalamanderGrandPianoV3.lscp

Almost there. We've installed the necessary software and downloaded the sample library, LinuxSampler config and piano script. Now we need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s because the script assumes some defaults that might be different in your setup. Let's dissect the script:

#!/bin/bashif ! pidof jackd &> /dev/nullthen  sudo killall ifplugd &> /dev/null  sudo killall dhclient-bin &> /dev/null  sudo service ntp stop &> /dev/null  sudo service triggerhappy stop &> /dev/null  sudo service ifplugd stop &> /dev/null  sudo service dbus stop &> /dev/null  sudo killall console-kit-daemon &> /dev/null  sudo killall polkitd &> /dev/null  killall gvfsd &> /dev/null  killall dbus-daemon &> /dev/null  killall dbus-launch &> /dev/null  sudo mount -o remount,size=128M /dev/shm &> /dev/null  echo -n performance \| sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor &> /dev/null  if ip addr | grep wlan &> /dev/null  then    echo -n "1-1.1:1.0" | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/smsc95xx/unbind &> /dev/null  fi  jackd -P84 -p128 -t2000 -d alsa -dhw:UA25 -p512 -n2 -r44100 -s -P -Xseq \&> /dev/null &fi

This is the first section of the script. An if clause that checks if JACK is already running and if that's not the case the system gets set up for low latency use, a simple check is done if there is an active WiFi adapter and if so the ethernet interface is disabled and then on the last line JACK is invoked. Notice the ALSA name used, hw:UA25, this could be different on your RPi, you can check with aplay -l.

jack_wait -w &> /dev/null

jack_wait is a simple app that does nothing else but checking if JACK is active, the -w option means to wait for JACK to become active.

if ! pidof linuxsampler &> /dev/nullthen  linuxsampler --instruments-db-location $HOME/LinuxSampler/instruments.db \&> /dev/null & sleep 5netcat -q 3 localhost 8888 \<$HOME/LinuxSampler/SalamanderGrandPianoV3.lscp &> /dev/null &fi

This stanza checks if LinuxSampler is running, if not LinuxSampler is started and 5 seconds later the config file is pushed to the LinuxSampler backend with the help of netcat.

while [ "$STATUS" != "100" ]do STATUS=$(echo "GET CHANNEL INFO 0" | netcat -q 3 localhost 8888 \| grep INSTRUMENT_STATUS | cut -d " " -f 2 | tr -d '\r\n')done

A simple while loop that checks the load status of LinuxSampler. When the load status has reached 100% the script will move on.

jack_connect LinuxSampler:0 system:playback_1 &> /dev/nulljack_connect LinuxSampler:1 system:playback_2 &> /dev/null#jack_connect alsa_pcm:MPK-mini/midi_capture_1 LinuxSampler:midi_in_0 &> /dev/nulljack_connect alsa_pcm:USB-Keystation-61es/midi_capture_1 LinuxSampler:midi_in_0 \&> /dev/null

This part sets up the necessary JACK connections. The portnames of the MIDI devices can be different on your system, you can look them up with jack_lsp which will list all available JACK ports.

jack_midiseq Sequencer 176400 0 69 20000 22050 57 20000 44100 64 20000 66150 67 20000 &sleep 4jack_connect Sequencer:out LinuxSampler:midi_in_0sleep 3.5jack_disconnect Sequencer:out LinuxSampler:midi_in_0killall jack_midiseq

This is the notification part of the script that will play four notes. It's based on jack_midiseq, another JACK example tool that does nothing more but looping a sequence of notes. It's an undocumented utility so I'll explain how it is invoked:

jack_midiseq<command> <JACK port name> <loop length> <start value> <MIDI note value> <length value>Example:jack_midiseq Sequencer 176400 0 69 20000 22050 57 20000 44100 64 20000 66150 67 20000JACK port name: SequencerLoop length: 4 seconds at 44.1 KHz (176400/44100)Start value of first note: 0MIDI note value of first note: 69 (A4)Length value: 20000 samples, so that's almost half a secondStart value of second note: 22050 (so half a second after the first note)MIDI note value of second note: 57 (A3)Length value: 20000 samplesStart value of third note: 44100 (so a second after the first note)MIDI note value of second note: 64 (E4)Length value: 20000 samplesStart value of third note: 66150 (so one second and a half after the first note)MIDI note value of second note: 67 (G4)Length value: 20000 samples

Now the script is finished, the last line calls exit with a status value of 0 which means the script was run successfully.

exit 0

After making the script executable with chmod +x ~/bin/piano and running it you can start playing piano with your Raspberry Pi! Again, bear in mind that the RPi is not made for this specific purpose so it could happen that audio starts to stutter every now and then, especially when you play busy parts or play more than 4 notes at once.

Using a Raspberry Pi as a piano: quick demo

## November 22, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] The Friday Interview #8: Julien Claassen

From: Gabbe Nord <gabbe.nord@...>
Subject: [LAA] The Friday Interview #8: Julien Claassen
Date: Nov 22, 7:42 pm 2013

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8th interview here, this week with Julien Claassen. Julien's a long time
member of the community who most of us know well.

Thanks to Julien for a great interview!

The interview series will take a 2 week break with this post, and will be
back again on the 13th of December. Cheers!

http://www.zthmusic.com/julien-claassen/

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Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

8th interview here, this week with Julien Claassen. J=
ulien's a long time member of the community who most of us know well.
r>
Thanks to Julien for a great interview!

The intervi=
ew series will take a 2 week break with this post, and will be back again o=
n the 13th of December. Cheers!

http://www.zthmusi=
c.com/julien-claassen/

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### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Vertical Spacing

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

After analyzing horizontal spacing, it’s time to move to another dimension and talk about vertical spacing which has its own, quite different set of difficulties. The basic problem here is getting objects close enough, but not too close: on one hand, we want to avoid situations where systems are very tall because all objects have abundant space between them, but on the other hand we don’t want to cramp everything as closely as possible. The goal is to have a certain amount of space between objects – no more and no less.

When we started the project in spring 2012, Mike Solomon has been working on his huge “skyline” patch (see issue 2148 in LilyPond’s issue tracker), which vastly improved vertical spacing produced by LilyPond (before this patch, LilyPond treated objects like rectangles – now the actual shape of the objects is approximated with detailed outlines, which result in much better object placement). We saw that Mike’s work improved LilyPond’s output, and that with his patch creating publication-quality scores will be easier for us. For example, here’s an excerpt from op. 8 No. 2 – first without skylines:

(click to enlarge)

You can see that the piano staves are too far apart for no good reason. With Mike’s patch, the output looked like this:

(click to enlarge)

Much better! There was just one difficulty: when we started, the patch was still in development, and it wasn’t included in any official relase of the program. Therefore, in order to use it we had to build our own version of LilyPond from the source code. This is not a difficult task, but since Urs didn’t have experience with doing this, for some time only I was able to compile the “official” scores. It was quite inconvenient, but that’s the price one has to pay for living on the cutting edge of technology!

However, even with Mike’s patch the vertical spacing was often not perfect yet. Usually this was because of some cross-staff objects (for example when a passage of notes beamed together changed staves in the middle, the resulting kneed beam was often wrong), or because of dynamics. In piano music, dynamics that apply to both hands should be placed between the staves – LilyPond can do this, but their exact positions usually need adjustments.

Fortunately, when you move an object that is placed between the staves, Lily will adjust how the staves themselves are placed. For example, the default staff placement can look like this:

(click to enlarge)

After moving some of the dynamics, LilyPond repositions the staves closer to each other:

(click to enlarge)

Sometimes moving a few dynamics was enough to get the staves positioned nicely, but sometimes the distance was still wrong and I had to override it manually. This is a tedious process, as it’s hard to guess the appropriate value – one has to use trial-and-error, which takes significant amounts of time since the score has to be recompiled after each guess. Since any such adjustments are closely tied to the current layout of the score (if the line breaking changes, they have to be redone), adjusting staff distances must be done quite late in the score preparation process.

Such manual staff positioning was necessary in 62 cases (approximately 17% of all systems).

I think that it would be interesting if LilyPond determined the distance between staves based on the actual size of the white area between them (currently it just measures the distance between fixed reference points, and makes sure that there is no overlap. Here’s an illustration of this idea:

(click to enlarge)

Considering that we already have Mike’s skylines, implementing this shouldn’t be very much work… In fact, there exists a proof-of-concept implementation made by Joe Neeman, and I plan to expand it when I’ll have some spare time.

### zthmusic

#### Friday Interview #8: Julien Claassen

Hello and welcome to the Friday Interview-series. Here, I interview an interesting and inspiring member of the Linux audio community each week, trying to shed some light on the many great members of the community. Join me every Friday, and get to know the people in the community!

The Friday Interview will take a 2 week break after this 8th interview. The next interview will be published the 13th of December, 2013. Thanks!

Hi, and welcome to the 8th edition of the Friday Interview! This week, we’re joined by a talented musician with a knack for doing big, epic compositions, who also always has time over for delivering great feedback on other people’s work. He is also a shining example that you can make very complex and good music using Linux, even if you’re actually blind. I’m very happy to introduce the eighth participant of the series, interviewee #8: Julien Claassen! Lets get started!

## Introducing Julien Claassen

Julien Claassen is a student and accessibility consultant, currently studying Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Paderborn.

His primary interest in Linux audio is recording and mixing music, although he has started playing more with both soft synths and MIDI for a few years.

Outside of Linux audio, he enjoys playing his hardware synths and talking to numerous people from all over the world (the farther away, the better!).

Julien himself!

Hi Julien! Thanks a lot for doing this interview! What’s your full name, and where do you live?

My full name is known on the list anyway, so here it is: Julien Patrick Claassen. I live in North-Rhein-Westfalia in Germany, I have done so for all my life, in varying places, but not more than 200 km apart.

What’s your musical background like? What music do you like, and do you play any instruments?

I always enjoyed music. I had images in my head, when I listened to music, when I was really young, starting from early kindergarden days. My parents’ taste in music was eclectic and so my own taste did grow to be eclectic. I certainly wouldn’t say, that I listen to everything, but my main interests are in progressive rock (the more symphonic the better, at least in composition), some melodic metal (including Symphony X, Dream Theatre and Sonata Arctica), baroque music, namely Johann Sebastian Bach, early to mid 90s and early 2000s pop music (as in Britney Spears, Ace of Base, Roxette or Jeanette). There’s also jazz, especially saxophonist Eddie Harris, some dubstep, some electronica… I practically hate mozart (lower case intended), which someone – rightly – described as the “Dieter Bohlen of classical music”. That might translate to Simon Cowell.

My own musical education started early with glockenspiel. They tried me on the piano, but I was a little awed by it. So huge an instrument and me so tiny. I went through four years of recorder in primary school and enjoyed it. I still have my own and my mother’s alto recorder and I have used them in a recording once or twice. At age ten I started on keyboard. I got my first own keyboard, shortly before my eleventh birthday, i.e. christmas. It was a purely FM-based sound engine with all fixed parameters and a miserable excuse for a speaker.

I progressed through other Yamaha keyboards, until I bought my own first virtual analogue synthesizer, when I was 17. There the addiction started and now I’m sharing my room with nine hardware instruments, from a Hohner Clavinet to a Clavia Nordlead3.

My education on keys was kicked off by keyboard lessons. I progressed to piano, when I was 17. I had played a few classical pieces in my time, but I never had any intention to really change that. But then we listened to the D minor two part invention by Bach, played by Glenn Gould. We followed that with the two part invention in C major. Even though I don’t like pieces in major keys much, I was fascinated, by the clarity of the playing and the intricate composition. There was I, a snot-nosed simple keyboard player, listening to a counterpunctual composition for the first time with open ears and I could follow both melody lines at the same time.

Since then I haven’t played much else in my lessons. I still take them, for I never learned how to read braille notes. It’s possible, if you put your mind to it. So I’m still doing it by ear. The relationship between my piano teacher and me, is now allowed to drive a car, drink alcohol anywhere in the world and be fully responsible for any crime it commits. I think neither of us has regretted it.

What’s your history with Linux, and with using Linux for audio?

My first experience with computers at all was an MSDOS notebook. More like a portable computer. Together with the braille display it weighed about 15-20kg. Then I got my own second hand 386 small tower. I tried to install some audio software and even got a soundcard. But it didn’t do anything much for me. All really useful audio software was graphical or unusable for me.

Then my brother introduced me to Linux. He was studying computer science. In 2000 I got his Linux machine, since he was off for a while, studying abroad. Then we got internet as well. So I searched the net for audio software and discovered Ecasound. With Ecasound I made my first recordings. Not much in the way of high quality, but what do you expect from a novice in Linux and an SB16 soundcard? I had been recording music on my home keyboards up to that point. They included a step sequencer. So recording now meant something very different. It meant playing live and having to mix everything without the restricted, but also caring, system of my keyboards. In 2002 I got my first really good soundcard, that worked. My first piece, properly recorded and even released to the net was a 13 minute progressive piece. The beginning of my first album. Two or three years later, I came to meet Fluidsynth and thus fantastic drum sounds. They improved my comfort and sound quality.

Ecasound in action.

Nowadays I rely just as much on my hardware as I rely on software. Almost every sampled instrument I use is courtesy of LinuxSampler. My Hammond is setBfree, formerly Beatrix, my pipe organ is Aeolus. I’ve also thrown in the occasional bit of ZynAddSubFX – now Yoshimi – and Csound.

Back in 2008 Joel Roth, the author of Nama, wrote to me, asking, if I could test Nama and tell him, if it was usable for blind people. I was skeptical, but I thought, I’d give it a try and write a report. By that time, I’d been working with pure, unaided Ecasound for eight years and had recorded quite a bit of music. I did test Nama and have never looked back.

In the beginning Joel and me made up all of the Nama family. I’m glad to say, that this has changed a bit, though there are still far too few users for such a great software. Of course, every project has its own little quirks, but they do have their advantages as well. Nama has a fantastic built-in help system, good scriptability, a sturdy sound engine – Ecasound – and some helpful capabilities, which even Ardour lacks. Of course, there are quite a few things, that Ardour has, that we don’t have. It’s all a question of what you need.

Well Nama has improved my mixes and ambitions tremendously. With Ecasound I mixed off-line and I avoided more complex setups. Now all the real complexity and the long command chains are taken care of by Nama and I am free to worry about sound, arrangement, special effects and mixing techniques. When Midish – a MIDI sequencer – came into the picture, I even returned to my old haunt of popular music for a while. It was a good experience to do some tracking, quantising and once in my life, use cut, copy and paste. But I’ve mostly stuck to progressive rock and the occasional baroque recordings through the years.

For those of us who don’t know, what is Nama? Could you explain Nama, and how you make use of it?

If you have read any musical submission of mine in the past four or five years, you will have stumbled across the software named Nama. Nama is a DAW. It’s most interesting feature is, that it is text-based. So I have a shell, where I can type commands. We took great care over time to keep command names consistent, wherever possible. Nama has a small GUI as well, which also includes a prompt window. Old hands in the business will know, that having a way to script or shortcut functionality is always helpful, once you know your environment. So you can easily treat multiple tracks with the same kind of processing in a for loop. Or you can just as easily consult the help, as any beginner will need to do.

Nama in its text-mode, perfectly functional with a screenreader.

Nama isn’t as big as Ardour, but it is big enough. You will find most of the major concepts and ideas flying around in the audio editing and recording world and you will find a few ideas, which are rather special, I would say unique, but I won’t do that, until I have verified it. Nama has a very nice, helpful and small community. Joel, its developer and father, is very supportive and engaged in the project, when his time allows it. Nama allows recording, editing and mixing of audio and recording of MIDI through Midish.

I have used Nama for live recordings and dubbing over other live recordings. I’m mostly playing progressive rock and some baroque music. You can get an idea of my work on my website http://juliencoder.de. If not otherwise stated, music has been realised with Nama. I’ve also done cutting of presentations in Nama, though that was a little time-consuming. I’ve created podcasts in Nama, edited some samples, tried my best to polish some old tape recordings and practically everything, that springs to mind. I haven’t yet made a pot of tea with it. Though once my water-cooker is hooked up to the net, I’ll give it a go.

You’ve published quite a lot of music through the years, spanning a wide range of styles. Could you talk a bit about your favorite musical projects, and how they came about?

My interests in music are eclectic and of course I had an intention to try and imitate most of them. If only to see, that I can. That was why, I published a few electronic pieces back in this summer. Naturally it was great fun to do. I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a production for a very long time. Especially “be Frank” pleased me. The way I could record and produce it. This was together with Midish. the synchronisation between MIDI and audio is still slightly difficult, but manageable, if you know what you are doing. Fortunately these experiences and some new software, that has risen of late (jpmidi), will improve that in future and there are definite plans to hide the whole mechanism under the hood.

Though the project, that filled me with the most joy and pleasure has been “Soit-il la vie, Intense, Aimante?” I worked together with two other musicians, one recording with Nama, one recording with a different software. Jörn designed a beautiful booklet for it, added very creative ideas of his own to my original thoughts. Even more were involved by listening to it, giving me very productive feedback and criticism on the productions. I have never done something so widely cooperative and so professional before or after. In only six months the album was complete. Every, but one, track is downloadable from my website.

More about “Soit-il la vie, Intense, Aimante?

It was written as a concept album of sorts. You can find it in the music. There are musical quotations linking the pieces amongst each other, take Whispers and Raw Magic, they are almost linked in a chain. There are instrumental links. Take a look at Shout, the first track. Listen onwards from nine and a half minutes. You’ll hear the tron flute and the synth lead. It’s a conversation. You can find these same sounds all through the album, picking up on that theme. In shout itself at that point, I tried to paint an auditory picture. A river at night with two bell-towers close by, slowly drifting into the background. I played a little with words and even print, of which I’m proud, albeit it is silly. Though linked on a higher level as a concept album, the pieces wander through different styles.

The last piece, the title track, is a symphonic poem. Each couplet is represented by one musical section. Again I cited some music, but this time not my own. I also used something, that I hadn’t used in year and even back then, I have never used it with success. Using notes as letters. It’s easy, there is the B A C H fugue, by Johann Sebastian Bach. I used the German system of notation, meaning that H is international B and B is international Bb. When I reached H, I just counted onwards on the white keys. There are probably more elaborate systems to do it, but it worked for me. In one part of the song, you will hear a bell, which is taken almost word for word from the original text. I used Csound, a tutorial on the creation of bells, numerous samples as basic guidance, to create it from scratch. Since I wanted my very own, personal bell. A member of the brethren of bell-lovers would have done better, yet it was satisfactory and the best I could do. In that poem I also took a shot at the tried method of programmatic music, by just using the melody and rhythm to convey a notion. You can probably hear the notion of dancing somewhere near the beginning, it can’t be missed, if you know, what you are listening for.

Technically this album was challenging as well. I had a special drum sound in mind. I’m always anal about my drums. I wanted a good acoustic room for the snare, which should only really come out with soft hits. So I created this acoustic room in Csound. I had to process the snare through Csound off-line, since it took up a lot of CPU and then load it back into the project. I still kept the original snare and then parallel compressed it. Also this was really the first time, that I cooperated in public. One of my two best friends from Düsseldorf played a lot of guitar for me, my other friend from the community also played some lap steel for me. In Raw Magic I also wrote the first real synaesthetic section of any length. Synaesthesia is the interconnection of two or more senses. So a sound can be green for me or red. I have these associations with numbers, words and letters as well. If you listen to Raw Magic starting around 11:30min, you will jump into the green section. Everything but the vocals and drums is green.

In short, the whole album was a pleasure to record and produce and cooperate on. It was also an education and the best thing, that I ever did, compositorially and technically speaking. Oh yes: and I played the flute. I’m not a flutist, as can easily be ascertained, I haven’t been taught officially. But my good, old secretive friend knows how to play the flute and he told me the basics, the rest took time and some effort. So I covered a lot of new ground with this album.

Another project, in which I took part, was the Packet-in.org project. It started as the Linux Audio Chillout-Band, back in 2008 or there abouts, when some good minds considered a list-based musical project. The project still exists and usually meets for the RPM challenge, which takes place every february. I’ve been involved three times. The first time with only one tune or so. The next time I played some keyboards and had two tunes thrown in the mix. The last time was RPM12, to which I contributed a few pieces and did a lot of recording. That has always been fun. It has not only shown me the joys of working together with other musicians from around the world, who introduce loads of different skills, but it has also demonstrated, that it is easily possible to join a multi-software project with Nama. A piece of cake to import tracks and export them for the others to do their thing. We’ve been working with Ardour, Audacity and probably more recording/mixing software and we all got along just fine.

Another piece, which means a lot to me, is still my first proper Linux recording from back in 2002. I had just bought my Nordlead3 and I already had an XP-30 (sample based). Thirteen minutes for a first isn’t too bad. All the albums, that I have recorded have educated me. Ecasound and then Nama have taught me lots of techniques and general concepts. Another project with some personal value has been the “Life on a Bridge” album, which was inspired by the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany. It’s a bridge with houses built on both sides, so you can’t actually see the river Gera. A friend of mine lives there and runs her pottery. The bridge in itself is a village inside the town of Erfurt. That album hasn’t been the only homage to my friends there. The other short side-note were the “Erfurt Sketches”, a first stab at some jazz. Those pieces are as much homage to Erfurt, as they were greeting and picture to a friend, who couldn’t accompany me.

Currently I’m working on two pieces I started last year. I want to see them finished quickly or never. One of them will be a nice long track with some cooperation again. The other will be of mid-length. I had to play drums for the one I’m currently working on, since a drummer, who wanted to join me for this, had to bow out. I was sorry to hear it, but “needs must, when the devil drives”. It will now mean a lot of mixing, some editing and then mastering. I will skip the lyrics, since they will have no meaning now and no recipient and I’m short on time to meet my deadline. No, I don’t usually set myself a deadline, but sometimes you must, or you’ll never finish, what you start. Usually a piece gets started and finished in one go. It’s a strange feeling to come back to an old work under construction and figure out again, what you were about to do. Both of them will come out as good, honest prog a la Claassen in the end. In the piece I’m on now, you will find some new influences. Some Spanish, almost Arabic, some big band jazz and all that gets thrown into the pot of my brand of symphonic progressive rock. Let’s see, how it works out.

Do you have any type of musical project you haven’t done, that you’d eventually like to do?
In my surreal moments I always wanted to compose and record an oboe concerto, which I haven’t done and probably never will do. There was an idea for a piano concerto, well a simple one, but still. This will have to wait for a long while I’m sure. – Beyond that I think, that I have done everything, that I wanted to do. I’ve covered all the styles, done my concept album with all the kinds of links, hints, quotations, images and whatever else there can be in stylistics. I’ve tracked some electronic pieces, I even did some almost dubstep with some rapping, which turned out far better than I could have expected. Here I’d like to bow to Karhu and their album “Sinfonia for a blunt Sword”, especially the piece “Vakuum (feat. Audio88)”. This has been an inspiration for the rapped part. There’s perhaps one thing, that I might have done, if I had got my arse off the ground at the time and that was composing an electro-acoustic piece called “Stairs”. Something, which we usually call “pling, plang plong” music, which isn’t fair to all artists.

Where would you recommend other musically interested people with vision impairment to start, if they wanted to follow along your path and learn to use Linux for music?
I have done exactly that, taken one or two users under my wing, if they will excuse the phrase, and tried to bring them on a road, where they could travel to their own kind of happiness. I’d recommend starting with Nama and Midish. Nama is still a little hard to install for a newbie, when he wants the latest version, which is recommended, but that will change over time, when new features and fixes slow down. It hasn’t happened yet, which is good. Midish is a good MIDI sequencing tool with a lot of functionality and a wonderful online manual. Otherwise I’d always recommend my favourite software instruments, i.e. LinuxSampler, setBfree, ZynAddSubFX (only for playback or hand-editing files), Aeolus and last but not least Csound. Csound is the power tool for the more ambitious project. I’ve used it for some 3D-editing and creation of customised rooms and other clever processing effects. Oh and never forget to install jconvolver and loads of LADSPA and LV2 plugins. They are my bread and butter. Then they should join the Linux Audio Users’ mailinglist and probably the mailinglists for Nama and Midish. That should see them through the scratchy beginning. They will find over time, that these tools are the ground of a sane and happy production environment. Not comparable to the big software giants on other proprietary platforms, but valuable and valid enough to do some good music and sound production. The advantages of a system, such as I use it, are numerous. Starting at the slim interface, which is easily viewed with a braille display or speech. There are workflows designed for a non-visual approach and the surrounding system environment is safe and reliable. I haven’t seen a console or my braille driver (BRLTTY) crash yet. Only if I really, really pissed the system off explicitly with root privileges and sinister intentions.

## Final questions

Do you feel like anything is lacking in Linux audio today, and if so, what?
There are always things, that you can wish for. I personally would like more applications with text-based interfaces, though there already are quite a few and people are usually nice about it! I’d love to see better MIDI audio integration with my tools, though that is on the way. I would like to see synth emulator Bristol with the option to load LADSPA or LV2 plugins for filters and sound generators, since the ncurses – vi-like – interface is fantastic!!! For my normal everyday audio work I do have everything though. I have the sample-libraries I need and I can load them and play them with LinuxSampler, with SFZ support now, I can even create my own sample-libraries or change something in existing configurations. I can record, mix, process ad nauseam and have all the weird fun in the world with it. There are things, which I can’t access, but I haven’t seen a way to access them anywhere else, so that doesn’t count. – Don’t ask me about the graphics, I’ve never been interested. I’d much rather like to spend my CPU-power on audio-related tasks then GUI overhead.

What?s your favorite free and open source plugin currently?
There’s a difficult choice to name a favourite. I love the LADSPA phaser with unique ID 33924, it’s so Isao Tomita! But I rarely use it, my music is not open enough. I still have a fondness for the Canyon delay, even though I haven’t used that in a long time. We used it at LinuxTag 2002 or 2003, when the fair was closed and we jammed some on the Linux Audio booth. Someone set there constructing an effect network in Glame – I think that was the name – and we had a microphone, Muse playing a simple hihat sequence and someone playing with some synth, probably AMS. When we stopped all audio input, the sound took one minute to die away. How can’t you love a plugin mainly involved in such a treatment? Most frequently used plugins and most helpful plugins would contain Fons’ 4-band parametric EQ, the stereo compressor with LADSPA unique ID 3309 and the CAPS plate reverb 2×2 (1795) and Fons’ g2verb (1950).

Where can people get a hold of you, and where can they find your work and music?
Almost all my music and some other work can be found on my website http://juliencoder.de . When I’m around, I am found by an e-mail or on the list. Well, when I’m not, I’m not. But you’d search forever on any so-called “social network” for me. Absolutely hate the data-mining brutes!

Thank you very much for the interview Julien!

That was Julien Claassen. Thanks to Julien for participating, and thank you for reading!

The post Friday Interview #8: Julien Claassen appeared first on zthmusic.

### blog4

#### Piksel 2013

I am at Piksel festival in Bergen, Norway and perform tonight, the 22. November, my Elektronengehirn﻿ concert at Piksel﻿, made in Pure Data﻿, in a quadrophonic setup:
http://13.piksel.no/2013/10/31/elektronengehirn-concert-reqpz

On sunday the 24. I will give a workshop about game engines used for realtime visuals:
http://piksel.no/2013/11/13/piksel13-open-workshops

## November 21, 2013

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### pMic is a 3D-Printed A-B Stereo Mic You Can Make Yourself; Hear It

Now, the next time you want a stereo microphone, you can hit print.

Well, okay – that’s not entirely correct. But a combination of last-century DIY (circuits for making the mic) with this-century DIY (3D printing for making a convenient housing) means a custom microphone you can build that’s exactly suited to your needs. And, oh yeah – it’s both cheap and fun.

Frank Piesik shares this project via Google+ and his blog. The plans are open-sourced and available on GitHub, so you can try making your own if you like; you’ll just need a 3D printer or 3D printing service for the housing (or you can try making your own via another, more traditional means).

Most importantly, the results sound terrific. Have a listen to some sound samples:

The ingredients:

First, the original project: Panasonic WM61 homebrew microphone design [Wildlife Sound Recording Society]

3D files on Makerbot’s Thingiverse

pMic on GitHub

Features:
On/off switch
Gain boost (which could be converted to gain damp)
Preamp (which could be removed and replaced with phantom power)

And in this case, an old iRiver h120 with Rockbox firmware does the recording – another abandoned product saved from turning into toxic waste. Upcycle!

Best of all, because of the design here, modifications are easy, which isn’t true of most consumer mic products. And it looks pretty:

Thanks, Frank!

http://frankpiesik.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/pmic/

The post pMic is a 3D-Printed A-B Stereo Mic You Can Make Yourself; Hear It appeared first on Create Digital Music.

## November 20, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] Rivendell v2.5.5

From: Fred Gleason <fredg@...>
Subject: [LAA] Rivendell v2.5.5
Date: Nov 20, 11:40 am 2013

On behalf of the entire Rivendell development team, I'm pleased to announce the availability of Rivendell v2.5.5. Rivendell is a full-featured radio automation system targeted for use in professional broadcast environments. It is available under the GNU General Public License.

>From the NEWS file:
*** snip snip ***
If upgrading from a v1.x version of Rivendell, be sure to read the
'UPGRADING' file before proceeding for important information.

Changes:
allow plug-ins to determine actual and predicted start times for events.

RDMonitor Enhancements. Extended RDMonitor to allow proper positioning

LiveWire Switcher Driver Changes. The switcher drivers for LiveWire
have been refactored into three separate drivers:
LWRP Audio - Allows switching of audio routes on LiveWire devices.

LWRP GPIO - Allows monitoring and control of LiveWire GPIO devices
via LWRP (both virtual and direct).

Multicast GPIO - Allows monitoring and control of LiveWire console
GPIO without the need for a virtual LWRP device.

See 'SWITCHERS.txt' for details.

RDSelect Enhancements. Added support for specifying CAE and RDXport
service assignments via RDSelect configurations.

Multiple bug fixes. See the ChangeLog for details.

Database Update:
This version of Rivendell uses database schema version 220, and will
automatically upgrade any earlier versions. To see the current schema

As always, be sure to run RDAdmin immediately after upgrading to allow
any necessary changes to the database schema to be applied.
*** snip snip ***

http://www.rivendellaudio.org/

Cheers!

|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Frederick F. Gleason, Jr. | Chief Developer |
| | Paravel Systems |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Focus on the dream, not the competition. |
| -- Nemesis Racing Team motto |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
Linux-audio-announce@lists.linuxaudio.org
http://lists.linuxaudio.org/listinfo/linux-audio-announce

## November 19, 2013

### Music, Programming and a Cat

#### Timpani Cat

just now, behind me

### linux.autostatic.com » linux.autostatic.com

#### A month on a Mac

During the second job interview with my new employer I was asked if I'd like to use a Mac or a Windows PC with the assurance I'd get a Linux workstation after my probation time. Just put me behind a Mac then, that's closer to Linux than Windows and from what I recalled it comes with a native terminal that does SSH. And what do I need more?

So there I am in front of a big, glossy screen and a tiny keyboard that lacks some familiar keys. My findings so far? Kind of neutral. I've got my terminal and I can run SSH from the CLI so I'm happy. There are some quirks that annoy me though (in no particular order):

• No Compose key and I had to jump through quite some hoops to map a key as a Compose key.
• No easy way to map a keyboard shortcut for opening a terminal. I had to resort to something called 'Automator' to get it working. And it still doesn't work the way I want too. When there are no windows open pressing the shortcut doesn't do anything. When there are open windows it works but why does it open two terminals when pressing the shortcut for the first time? Not a real big deal as I need multiple terminals anyway (I just can't get used to tabbed terminals).
• I prefer non-glare monitors to glossy ones.
• No Home, End, PageDown and PageUp keys. Not a real big deal either, in fact, it's a real good incentive to start getting accustomed to Vi(m) shortcuts since I kind of live inside Vim these days. I even bought this, great stuff.
• Can't get used to the default window management settings. For instance when you minimize a window and Alt+Tab to it the window doesn't open. So I'm not minimizing any windows anymore since this is really annoying. Haven't looked into changing this behaviour though, it's probably something relatively simple.
• Annoying pop-ups from updates and programs that are downloaded from the internet ("blabla" is an application downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?). Especially the latter ones are annoying. Disabling the pop-ups has to be done from a terminal. Wow, so much for a "user-friendly" OS.
• Clicking the close button of an application doesn't quit it. Cmd+Q does. This is something I won't get used to either. Actually I don't want to get used to the Cmd button at all.
• I prefer a panel with a window list on it. I don't know how other folks do it but this Alt+Tab stuff is counter-efficient in my case.

Are there things I particularly like about Mac OS X or the Mac itself? Actually no, can't think of anything. Yeah, the keyboard feel is really nice but that pro gets nulled out because of the missing keys, ~ being placed next to the left Shift key and the Fn keys being mapped to the F1/F12 keys. Add to this the meaningless keys with all kinds of arrows on them and this key with a crossed square. No idea what they do. On a software level MacPorts is nice, it allowed me to install some of my favorite tools that I found were missing. Other than that I can't wait to have my own workstation with Linux on it. The plan is that I get a Dell XPS 15 with a dual monitor setup. Something to look forward to.

And yes, I have to deal with quite some Windows servers now. I'm not going to dedicate a blogpost to my findings on that OS. Just one word. Meh.

### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Horizontal Spacing

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

Now that we’ve looked at structuring the input and beautifying slurs and ties, it’s time to move to the most important issue: how the notes are laid out on the page.

LilyPond usually produces very good horizontal spacing, mimicking traditional hand-engraved scores (in particular, it employs “optical spacing” – this is something like kerning for musical notation). However, there are two areas where default spacing is unsatisfactory:

• vocal music with long lyric syllables,
• very tight music.

In case of vocal music, the most important problem is that long lyric syllables disturb the placement of the notes – LilyPond always centers the syllables under the respective noteheads, and if there are some long syllables under short notes, LilyPond has to move the notes away from each other to make room for these syllables. Of course, lyrics usually should be centered – but in some circumstances it’s better to move them around. I attempted to improve this by working on LilyPond’s code in summer 2012, but I failed (I still hope to get back to it, but we have to release a new stable version before I’ll be able to resume this work).

As for tight music, there are several small issues here – most of them are very subtle, but when combined they may produce subpar results. Example: in cramped conditions, accidentals, arpeggios, dots and other such elements should be moved closer to the notes to ensure optimal spacing. In fact, it would be best to actually have special narrow versions of some glyphs (particularly accidentals) for use in tightly spaced music. Until LilyPond learns how to do this, the spacing will occasionally get wrong even if theoretically there was enough horizontal space to lay out all elements.

Here’s one example:

broken spacing in op. 5 no. 1 (click to enlarge)

We decided to change the line breaking to avoid this problematic situation. However, sometimes this isn’t possible – in opus 8 no. 1 we also had a problem with tight spacing, but there was no reasonable line breaking alternative. As you can see below, the triplets in fourth measure are spaced a bit weirdly, and the last measure is uneven (3rd beat takes much more space than other beats):

op. 8 no. 1 – problems with spacing (click for pdf)

Here’s how this system looks after applying corrections. Do you see what I have done?

op. 8 no. 1 after adjusting spacing (click for pdf)

There were two changes: firstly, some lyric syllables were moved around to allow for more even note spacing. Secondly, I have squeezed the notation in the right-hand staff: notes and accidentals are slightly narrower, and the accidentals are moved closer to their respective notes. Some long lyric syllables were squeezed as well.

While the problems with default spacing are nothing to be proud of, the fix is actually very nice, and it demonstrates the power of LilyPond. I didn’t have to grab each notehead and each accidental and manually change it’s size and placement (God forbid using the mouse for such fine adjustments!). I simply created a function \squeezeNotation, like this:

squeezeNotation = {
\override Staff.Accidental #'stencil =
#(lambda (grob)
(ly:stencil-scale (ly:accidental-interface::print grob) 0.92 1))
#(lambda (grob)
\override Lyrics.LyricText #'stencil =
#(lambda (grob)
(ly:stencil-scale (lyric-text::print grob) 0.92 1))
}

and then I called the function at the beginning of the problematic passage, and then reverted it after the passage. If I ever need to unsqueeze the notation here, all I have to do is to remove two lines from the code. And since I already have the function defined, I can use it in many other similar situations!

Unfortunately, fixing a spacing problem may sometimes require more effort. There is one such irritating bug in the spacing algorithm: when music with unequal subdivisions is stretched (or compressed) a lot, the horizontal spacing may become heavily distorted (issue 3304). Here’s an example of very uneven spacing caused by this bug:

bad note spacing in op. 7 no. 1

To fix this issue, I had to put every affected system in a new spacing section, and manually adjust common-shortest-duration property of the SpacingSpanner in each of those sections. It was a lot of work, but the spacing is now perfectly fine:

this looks much better!

Again, I have defined a simple function that made these adjustments more convenient to make.

Finally, I’d like to mention one situation where I had the impression that LilyPond just didn’t want to listen to me. It was the last system of op.7-3, and the task was to adjust the horizontal positions of the noteheads in note columns, so that interlocking voices didn’t collide:

what are the augmentation dots in second measure thinking? Also, notice that some ties cannot be seen because they are too short.

I managed to fix this, but it took me a long time (and I’m a fairly experienced LilyPond user!):

Now, this makes more sense

This problem may have been caused by inappropriate voicing, but I’m pretty sure this was not the case. Anyway, it would be nice to have a more fool-proof interface for adjusting horizontal positions of the notes than what we have now

That’s all for now. Next time I’ll talk about vertical spacing, and the biggest patch in the history of LilyPond!

## November 18, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] NIME 2014 London - Call for Proposals

From: Marco Donnarumma <lists@...>
Subject: [LAA] NIME 2014 London - Call for Proposals
Date: Nov 18, 9:10 pm 2013

--047d7b676fd0f1829c04eb727935
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hi all,

The New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) conference comes to London
in 2014!
We would love to receive contributions from LAU community, and given the
LAC conference is around the same time, this make the chance for a great
summer of weird sounds!

Please see below the call for proposal and circulate as appropriate.

The Performance and Installation call for NIME 2014 is out now and the
deadline for submissions is in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS' TIME: 1st
December, with no late submissions accepted. We would therefore like
to encourage everyone to get thinking about what they might like to
present in this category!

For NIME 2014, we will be hosting performances and gigs in a variety
of venues around Central London. We plan to make some of these events
open to the public and are looking for really high quality
performances, from proven performers and makers.

We hope to include a diverse range of performances, and so are keen to
receive proposals which are out of the ordinary. For example, work
which focusses on the body in performance, such as the human voice,
the body in dance, or indeed music which makes audiences dance. We
also encourage works which challenge the conventions of NIME, such as
notions of liveness, or the role of notation, language or code in
performance. Historical perspectives on music performance technology
are also welcomed, for example work which combines computation with
textiles, augments traditional instruments, or draws on
complementarity with visual forms. With the increasing influence of
the maker movement, we also welcome proposals which include ad-hoc,
DIY and open source instruments.

If you have something you'd like to show in a less polished way, you
can simply tell us you'd like to show a 'performance demo' and these
will be most likely programmed in smaller venues closer to the
conference site.

The call can be viewed at the link below.
http://www.nime2014.org/call-for-participation/

nime2014music@goldsmithsdigital.com

Hope to see some of you there!
best wishes,

--
Marco Donnarumma
New Media + Sonic Arts Practitioner, Performer, Teacher, Director.
Embodied Audio-Visual Interaction Research Team.
Department of Computing, Goldsmiths University of London
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Portfolio: http://marcodonnarumma.com
Research: http://res.marcodonnarumma.com
Director: http://www.liveperformersmeeting.net

--047d7b676fd0f1829c04eb727935
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

>Hi all,

r>

The New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME) co=
nference comes to London in 2014!

sans-serif;font-size:13px">We would love to receive contributions from LAU =
community, and given the LAC conference is around the same time, this make =
the chance for a great summer of weird sounds!

see below the call for proposal and circulate as appropriate.=A0

tyle=3D"font-family:arial,sans-serif;font-size:13px">The Performance and In=
stallation call for NIME 2014 is out now and the

message continues]

### Linux Audio Users & Musicians Video Blog

#### Israeli Reggae – Shivat Zion

Interesting combination of music and religious philosophy from Shivat Zion recorded live with Linux.

## November 16, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Importing Music into LilyPond

Imagine this scenario: you agree with the title of this blog and think LilyPond makes scores of beauty – in fact even better than the notation program you’re currently using. But migrating to LilyPond is not just like moving to another country, it’s like moving to another planet. What if you could just try out the “LilyPond appearance” with your latest [insert-your-current-notation-program]-score and then take it from there? The good news is that you can import your score into LilyPond – hopefully without greater efforts. This post will guide you through one way of doing this – using MusicXML as an intermediate file format.

## Prerequisites

There are three prerequesites for successfully following this post: having installed LilyPond itself, the LilyPond editor Frescobaldi, and – of course – an existing MusicXML file.

Most notation programs today can export to MusicXML files. There can of course be exceptions to this, but chances are very good that you can export a score to a MusicXML file from your current notation program. If you don’t know how to do that you will find an example file later on in this post.

Without LilyPond the idea of converting a score to LilyPond wouldn’t make much sense, would it? So you should go to LilyPond’s website where you’ll find installable packages with installation notes for Windows, Mac and Linux. [If you're running Linux you can also install the lilypond package through your favorite package manager, but this may not give you the latest stable release, which is 2.16.2 as of the time of writing this post.]

When you have installed LilyPond you may be irritated that you don’t find a program in your application menu or desktop to open. This is because LilyPond is a command line program that doesn’t have a graphical user interface to edit edit scores but rather reads in text input files and compiles them to beautiful scores.
So you need an editor to work on your text files. While you can do that with virtually any text editor I recommend you install Frescobaldi. Using Frescobaldi as your editing environment to LilyPond is not actually necessary, neither in general nor for the import of MusicXML files, but it is recommendable because this is the editing environment which will give you the smoothest transition to the mentioned “other planet”. If you’re not fluent with the command-line/terminal (or don’t even know what the command-line or terminal is) you’ll know that this recommendation is for you. And of course this guide is using Frescobaldi.
The download page on the website offers a full Windows installer, links to installation instructions for Mac OS X and instructions for installation under Linux. You can also install Frescobaldi through the package archives of most Linux distributions, but these will most likely contain older versions that don’t contain the MusicXML import interface.

Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this post to guide you through these prerequisites in more detail. If you’re having problems with these initial steps feel free to post comments or use the contact link at the top of the page. Please include information of your operating system and or the notation program you export from, and we’ll find some useful links to more information about this.

Ok, so given that you have these prerequisites in place lets take a closer look at Frescobaldi and its MusicXML import.

## musicxml2ly

Supplied with LilyPond is a little program called musicxml2ly which as the name implies does the conversion from a MusicXML file to a LilyPond .ly file. Just like LilyPond itself it doesn’t have a graphical user interface, i. e. it is a command-line tool.

As of Frescobaldi version 2.0.11 you can run musicxml2ly from within the graphical environment (just like you can run LilyPond), as a convenient import dialog. When you start Frescobaldi (especially if you had installed it earlier), please note the version number on the startup screen to ensure you have version 2.0.11 or later. Without this you cannot follow the next steps.

## Import settings

In Frescobaldi’s main menu choose File->Import->Import MusicXML. Now it’s time to find your MusicXML file in the file dialog. This first part should be trivial for an experienced computer user as yourself .

Next you are confronted with a dialog allowing you to set some options for the import process:

The import dialog with all options checked.

musicxml2ly has several (command line) options, but only some of the more important ones are accessible through UI elements in the import dialog. One reason is that some things can be easily done in Frescobaldi after import anyway, for example changing the note language. The other is that you can add options manually if you know what you’re doing (see below). Although you could certainly get away with skipping the options here and go straight for the import button (which says Run musicxml2ly), there are a few things to consider – so let’s take a quick look at the different options:

• No articulation directions: The musicXML file might contain information about on which side of the note you have put your articulations. This information is retained as long as you don’t check this option.
• No rest positions; In your original score you might have moved a rest to a different position or the musicXML file might for whatever reason contain information about the position of rests. This information is retained as long as you don’t check this option.
• No page layout: The musicXML file might contain much information about the layout of the score in the original program. But only some overall page layout settings can be converted automatically, including line breaks and page breaks. If you check this option layout information is ignored.
• Auto beaming: With this option the beaming information is ignored and LilyPond’s automatic beaming is used instead.

To let LilyPond do its job freely and to actually avoid some possible problems, I recommend checking at least the first three options. If you want to try out LilyPond’s engraving capabilities it wouldn’t make sense to use layout decisions of your original program. Maybe the articulation placement, the rest positions or the page layout as integral part of your editorial process, in that case you should of course uncheck the respective options.
The beaming is a somewhat more involved question. You can tell LilyPond to apply the beaming automatically, according to rules based on the time signature. Of course you can override this automatic beaming for each beam individually – which is dead easy – or you can modify the rules for any given time signature – which is more involved but possible. Except for text based music it is usually better to check this box too, use LilyPond’s automatic beaming and change any individual beams later. But if you don’t like the results or if you have put significant effort in the beaming in your original score you may consider leaving that box unchecked.

Below the checkboxes there’s a text box with some cryptic text. This represents the command which to invoke musicxml2ly with. One tip for the more experienced reader: if you’re missing some of musicxml2ly‘s options, add it manually in this text box.

If you like to check out the different options in more detail, here is a test file which includes articulation directions, rest positions, page layout and beaming information: .

## Post import

So, you made your choices and the import completed successfully. Now we can get a little more acquainted with Frescobaldi.

The source code of the test file after import with all options checked.

To the left you now have the newly imported LilyPond ly-file. Next step is to actually run LilyPond with that file. In the menu bar, somewhere in the middle, you can see the LilyPond menu. Here you have several so-called engraving options. I suggest that you memorize the keyboard shortcut (ctrl+m) for the first variant Engrave (Preview) and use that regularly while working on a score. When you are pleased with the result and are doing the final version you get back to this menu and choose Engrave (publish). When you run LilyPond the score should appear to the right.

The music view after import of the test file (with all options checked) and engraving.

I will not go deeper into the mysteries of Frescobaldi and LilyPond here, but only leave you with some tips on how to make some quick changes of the score. If the information about the title and composer are missing from the score, that information could be added in the \header section near the top of the file. Insert that information inside the curly brackets, for example:

header {
title = “Symphony no. 40”
composer = “W. A. Mozart”
}

If you didn’t check the option to ignore page layout you might be disappointed with the result. As said earlier this would mean that LilyPond has to respect page and line breaking, which may interfere considerably with what LilyPond would have done by itself. What you could do is delete the whole section which looks something like this:

#(set-global-staff-size 18)
paper {
paper-width = 21.0cm
paper-height = 29cm
top-margin = 1.0cm
bottom-margin = 2.0cm
left-margin = 1.0cm
right-margin = 1.0cm
}

This section is the result of trying to convert the page layout of the MusicXML file. Removing it would be equivalent to importing with the option No page layout checked, but you will still have the explicit line and page breaks. To remove them manually simply search for \break and \pageBreak commands in the generated LilyPond source code and delete them. Alternatively to completely removing the section you could try changing some of the settings, for example the global staff size.

One final note: musicxml2ly can sometimes fail to complete the import. Or the import might go through but then LilyPond will not be able to compile the file. If this happens and you have no idea what went wrong or how to fix things, sadly neither do I at this point. It could be any of several potential problems because the exchange of files through MusicMXL isn’t perfect yet (which is also true with other applications – the quality of MusicXML import and export is always a topic in different programs’ support forums). But I have still one advice that might help; you could try to import the file in another notation program and do a new export from there. There are a few free notation program that can be handy in this case.

I wish you good luck and lots of fun with your first steps exploring LilyPond and it’s world

## November 15, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] nxjsm 0.1

From: Pawel <xj@...>
Subject: [LAA] nxjsm 0.1
Date: Nov 15, 9:14 pm 2013

Hello,

I wanna share with community my very simple Jack session manager. It console app and is intended to use from scripts ( even if this is rc.local ;-) - or it could be linked to some icon/activator on desktop ;-)
It use libconfig for store settings and CDK ( ncurses ) for display while it "watching".

In save mode it works almost like jack_session_notify ( this part of code was partially borrowed, but was fixed, optimized and adapted - e.g. it doesn't store duplicate connections. take care of trailing slash in session directory, use libconfig etc. ).

Load mode was written from scratch. It start stored apps, restore it's connections and then it works like watchdog. It should be ( and it is at least for me ;-) useful for live performances.

There is also simple script which merge this two functionality, and it can also start start jack and wineserver (in persistent mode), export WINE_RT variables etc.

Check this url:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/nxjsm/

I use this already in my band, so let this publicity of our song will be my "salary" ;-)

Best Regards
Pawel

_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
Linux-audio-announce@lists.linuxaudio.org
http://lists.linuxaudio.org/listinfo/linux-audio-announce

#### [LAA] The Friday Interview #7: Dave Phillips

From: Gabbe Nord <gabbe.nord@...>
Subject: [LAA] The Friday Interview #7: Dave Phillips
Date: Nov 15, 9:14 pm 2013

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Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Seventh interview out, and this week we talk to Dave Phillips, a well known
face around here.

You can find it at: http://www.zthmusic.com/dave-phillips/

--001a11c20976dc7ed404eb33fbb1
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1

Seventh interview out, and this week we talk to Dave Phillips, a well known face around here.

You can find it at: http://www.zthmusic.com/dave-phillips/

--001a11c20976dc7ed404eb33fbb1--

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### littleBits Synth Kit, First Hands-on: What They Sound Like, Reviews, Videos

Imagine if you could take apart your favorite recent KORG analog creations, chop it up into little blocks, and then snap them together with magnetic ease?

In other words, imagine if you could put together a KORG synth as easily as you did LEGO?

It’s every bit as much fun as you’d imagine. I’ve been testing the littleBits Synth Kit for a few days now. I’ve got some sounds for you here so you can hear some of what’s possible. (They’re Creative Commons-licensed, if anyone wants to try to sample them in a track; I know I’ll be working on that soon.)

I made a few one-take, all-live jams with my rig and recorded them. Have a listen:

All the tracks were recorded live with only light edits and no post-processing, directly into an iPad via Sonoma Wire Works‘ (very nice-sounding) GuitarJack and Sonoma StudioTrack.

In Etudes 1-3, you’ll hear some variations on a two-oscillator synth with (MS-20) filter, envelope, and delay. (Etude 3 makes use of the noise source for modulation.)

Etude 4 is an example of a frequency modulation setup.

Etude 5 uses the random oscillator for percussion.

These use the step sequencer, occasionally triggered from the keyboard.

For sound design and tinkering, in other words, these are great fun. The limitations can be inspiring. There’s something charming about using a tiny 4-step sequencer, about hunching over miniature boards with blinking lights. And all of this runs off a single 9V battery, in a set of modules that easily fit in a small bag. It’s good fun even before adding more modules (though more about that later).

The only disadvantages really have to do with the smallness of the components and the magnetic connections, and the fact that these modules are likely to make you hungry for more.

I wrote a full review for De:bug here in Germany; you get the choice of reading it in German or in English:

REVIEW: LITTLEBITS SYNTH KIT [English]

IM TEST: LITTLEBITS SYNTH KIT [Deutsch]

And I talk as well about how some of the tradeoffs here for rapid prototyping parallel those for LEGO.

I do think this is a big deal – for DIY, for open source hardware, and for the love of sound.

It’s funny to look back at the interview we did with littleBits founder Ayah Bdeir back in 2010, back when “open source hardware” wasn’t yet a buzzword, before Ayah got funding and awards and international press:
Summit Touts Open Source Hardware, Q+A with Co-Creators; Music Hardware?

As for music, well, make that question mark at the end an exclamation mark.

My guess is that these ideas will continue to become viral and widespread, as more people play with making their own hardware and more people make their own sound.

Each hit breeds more success. Monosynths have yielded more monosynths; analog effects and suitcase modulars and iPad apps and grid controllers have caused more musical inventions to appear, not fewer.

littleBits, by laying bare the guts of a synthesizer and letting even kids put it back together again, is a beautiful embodiment of the idea of DIY sound. The fact that its circuits and firmware will soon be open source makes that doubly true. Think of it not just as one solution to that desire to make, but a spark. As the whole landscape of experimentation with sound, the love of noise, continues to widen, the idea of musical invention as play is about to get a whole lot more popular.

Here’s Ayah in a new interview, with MAKE:

And Ayah and engineer Paul show off the system at MAKE Expand:

But let’s hear more music. littleBits has released the live concert footage from the launch party, with Nullsleep –

– “Seth” (the amazing duo of KORG’s Tadahiko Sakamaki and Tatsuya Takahasi –

– and Reggie Watts.

Finally, here’s a look at two of the projects the littleBits folks devised. The keytar amounts mainly to glueing the modules in place to transform them into an instrument – but on the plus side, you get to choose the features, and the result is more playable. The turntable cleverly makes big wheels to control the knobs. It’s nice to see something whimsical and inventive like this (photos courtesy littleBits):

The post littleBits Synth Kit, First Hands-on: What They Sound Like, Reviews, Videos appeared first on Create Digital Music.

### Music, Programming and a Cat

I changed my Twitter account from Laborejo to my personal name. Now I can write about all kinds of stuff without getting off-topic. Yeah!

### zthmusic

#### Friday Interview #7: Dave Phillips

Hello and welcome to the Friday Inteview-series. Here, I interview an interesting and inspiring member of the Linux audio community each week, trying to shed some light on the many great members of the community. Join me every Friday, and get to know the people in the community!

Hi, and welcome to the seventh edition of the Friday Interview! This week, we’re joined by a true veteran of the game. He has time to be a journalist and an educator, as well as crank out great music in several forms. I’m very happy to introduce the seventh participant of the series, interviewee #7: Dave Phillips! Lets get started!

## Introducing Dave Phillips

Dave Phillips is a musician, journalist, and educator, from the Midwest USA, where he’s currently living.

His primary interest in Linux audio is Csound and Ardour.

Outside of Linux audio, he enjoys studying t’ai chi ch’uan, reading classics, raising a shar-pei, and spending time with his wife.

Dave Phillips himself!

Hi Dave! Thanks a lot for doing this interview! Where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

I live in Findlay, Ohio, USA, where I was born. I left in my 20s, was gone for about twenty years, been here again for another twenty.

I’m a music instructor, Linux journalist, and performing musician. The journalism is entirely focused on Linux audio topics, so I’m never very far from music and sound when I’m on the job.

What’s your musical background like? What music do you like, and do you play any instruments?

Grew up listening to 50s rock & roll, folk music, popular songs, The Beatles et cetera. Sang in school choirs and played drums in school bands. Got into blues and avant-garde jazz, played guitar in rock bands, worked a gazillion gigs. When I was 19 I heard a recording of Andres Segovia, sold my electric gear, and devoted myself to classical guitar studies with Jerry Willard in Cleveland, then with Sophocles Papas in Washington DC and Nelson Amos in Ann Arbor. Played a fair amount of classical music for about fifteen years, wound up in Los Angeles, played occasional gigs with Kristina Olsen, and studied composition with Michael Jon Fink. Michael also introduced me to MIDI, after which I bought a computer, an interface, and some software. I transcribed a lot of piano music, started composing with a MIDI sequencer, and eventually got into Csound.

These days I play bass and sing in a blues/rock trio with two other Olde Fellowes. I also play guitar for my students for their shows at a local coffee house.

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, as a matter of professional practice. In my own time I tend to tune into the playlists on the Wellesz Company channels on YouTube. I tend to like rather challenging music, e.g. old rural blues, Medieval music, and 20th century avant-garde compositions.

Vintage Dave Phillips, loving it!

What’s your history with Linux, and with using Linux for audio?

I started looking at it seriously circa 1996. I had started with DOS machines, I didn’t like the early incarnations of Windows, and by Win95 I was frustrated with it. I bought a book about Linux, decided to install it on a spare system, and everything went well. I was lucky, my video and audio hardware was supported and I had no problems with the installation, so I began exploring the system. By the late 90s my Windows partition was rapidly gathering dust.

I was also motivated to try Linux because I had learned of a program called MiXViews that could process audio analysis files created by Csound. MiXViews didn’t run on Windows, but its Web page said it could run on Linux, and I learned that Csound also ran on Linux. I knew that Linux was freely available, I had the spare hardware, so I figured that I had no cash investment to lose.

I discovered that the available binary for MiXViews didn’t work on my installation, so I wrote to program author Doug Scott for advice. Over the next few months I received excellent instruction on compiling and debugging UNIX software, and I eventually succeeded in building a usable Linux MiXViews. Emboldened by that success I tried to port some X-based programs from NoTAM. I lacked sufficient skills, but the Internet enabled me to find Nicola Bernardini and Richard Kent. Thanks to their participation the Linux audio armory expanded nicely, and we all got some attention when the Linux Journal published an article I wrote about the project.

A fellow in Europe maintained a Web site dedicated to Linux audio and music software, but occasionally it fell off the network. At some point it had disappeared long enough for me to try my hand at a similar site. I started the Linux Sound & Music Software site with only a couple dozen items listed, but it grew quickly. Linux was getting a lot of attention, the site got a lot of hits, and eventually a community started growing. I think the  LAD/LAU mail lists were started during the same period, again the late 90s, and pretty soon it was apparent that a community was growing around the flag of Linux audio development.

At some point in 1999 I received a phone call from a publisher in San Francisco who had seen my Web site and wondered if I’d be interested in writing a book on the topic. I was, I did, and the community grew a bit more. I like to think that the book inspired some of that growth, but in truth there was a lot of activity already underway. The Web site and book just added some focus points for the participants.

In 2001 Nicola Bernardini invited me to Italy to attend a meeting of free software developers. Many new things came from that meeting, including friendships with Paul Davis, Fernando Lopez-Lezcano, and Guenter Geiger. Thanks to the book’s success I attended various conferences during that period, spreading the word about Linux audio. I met a lot of great people, and saw a lot of wonderful development take place, including the beginning of the ALSA project.

The history since that time is pretty well known. I maintained the Linux Sound & Music Software site for ten years, started writing consistently for the Linux Journal and other publications, and continued working with the ever-expanding apps stack coming from the devs.

Dave running an Ardour session.

## Writing, teaching, and being a musician

As you mentioned, you wrote for the Linux Journal for quite a while. Could you tell us about your work therewhat the most fun parts were, and why it ended?

In 1998 I submitted an article about porting SGI sound apps to Linux, the Journal printed in the September edition, and I continued writing for LJ for about twelve years, hard-copy and on-line articles. The best part was writing about Linux audio, which was pretty much my only topic. Being paid for it was nice too, but like all things the relationship eventually ended, amicably in my case. I can still submit articles but I no longer maintain a monthly column. I don’t mind, I’ve written a few hundred articles on Linux audio already, I can take a break now.

I should mention that LJ exerted very little editorial intervention, i.e. they published what I wrote, pretty much as I sent it to them. I’ve worked for other publishers who exercise more editorial attention, but fortunately they’ve been good at it. Jon Corbet at Linux Weekly News is a great editor, ditto for Joe Casad’s crew at Linux-Magazine.

My column for LJ was ended during a difficult period when the publication ended hard-copy and opted for only an on-line presence. Hard-copy publishing is a costly business, on-line marketing makes better sense, but the transition was rough for LJ. I’m glad the Journal is still here and still maintaining their high standards.

You also mention the book your wrote on Linux audio. For us newbies in the game, could you tell us about that book? What it was, what you set out to do with it, and how it was received?

The Book Of Linux Music & Sound was published in 2000 by Bill Pollock’s NoStarch Press. I wrote it as an introduction to the growing world of Linux audio applications, and it is currently of interest only to antiquarians. It does provide a look at what was happening at the time, of course, but it has little or no practical value now.

I had no personal goal beyond doing my part to expand the Linux audio universe. The book sold out and was translated to Italian, Russian, and Hungarian (!). I think a few current developers were inspired by it, maybe a few users too, so I was happy enough with its reception.

What, and where, do you mainly teach?

I teach guitar, bass, and music theory/composition. I’m also a coach for singers who want to get into popular music. I have a small studio in my small home where I give lessons. I use the computer routinely during lessons, it’s all Linux.

What currently excites you the most in the world of music and audio production?

I’m Linux-centric in this response, I know. It’s what I use, and while I do keep up with advancing hardware and software technologies I tend to focus my energies on developments in areas of interest particular to myself. In other words, I’m an old guy who prefers his old vehicles, but I like them well-polished and currently maintained.

I’m immersed in Anders Vinjar’s recent port of OpenMusic and in a long-term project of score preparation using LilyPond and Frescobaldi. The creative potential of Csound (via Jean-Pierre Lemoine’s AVSynthesis) continues to amaze. Ditto for development in Pure Data (especially Ico Bukvic’s L2Ork version and Peter Brinkmann’s libpd project), SuperCollider3 (praise to Jakob Leben, Tim Blechmann, and the new IDE), and RtCmix (new implementations for iOS and Android systems). And Bill Schottstaedt continues to refine his CLM and CMN synthesis and notation languages, along with the formidable SND editor.

I hope to see more participation from commercial/proprietary developers. Linux can’t claim anything like the volumes of sound and music software sold in the Win/Mac worlds, but I’m pleased by the quality of the available offerings, e.g. MiXBus, ReNoise, Pianoteq, GuitarPro, and of course the excellent plugins from linuxDSP and Loomer. Inear Display and monstrumMedia are two recent additions to the list, so it looks like interest is expanding.

And who knows, we may even see a public beta of BitWig before the next Ice Age.

Meanwhile, the Linux DAW is shaping up nicely, as Ardour3, QTractor, and Rosegarden continue on their respective development tracks. In the FLOSS plugin world Rory Walsh’s Cabbage project has my constant attention, though I was happily distracted for a while by Robin Gareus’s LV2 MIDI plugins. Harry van Haaren’s OpenAV projects stay on my radar too.

I still cover activity on the Linux Audio User and Developer lists, on the Linux Musician and other forums, and I follow various threads at KVRaudio. But the truth is that there’s simply too much going on for one person to cover in depth and still get anything else done. We need a few more journalists and writers.

Music-wise, there seems to be no shortage of good stuff coming from Linux-based musicians. Again, I don’t get to listen to it as much as I’d like, my time is filled by my own Linux-based music projects.

OpenMusic running on Dave’s computer.

Speaking of your own Linux-based music projects: could you talk a bit about those, what you’re currently up to, and where you want to go with it in the future?

I’m currently testing the beta release of a Linux port of OpenMusic, IRCAM’s famous software for music composition and analysis. It’s a far cry from apps like LMMS or Ableton Live, but it’s right in line with my activities. OM interfaces with Csound, which remains a central part in my typical music system. I continue to explore the potential of AVSynthesis, I still make music with a MIDI sequencer, and I still write songs for normal instruments and voices. Ardour is the beating heart of everything produced here, I don’t see that changing soon.

There are many cool Linux audio projects to follow now, but my focus has narrowed to what I can achieve with a few tools in what seems to be sparser amounts of time. I do keep up with Cabbage and a few other projects, though typically they have relevance to a larger component (e.g. utilities for Csound or Ardour).

Also, can we find your music somewhere? Both your own, and the music from your various constellations?

SoundCloud has the most material :

https://soundcloud.com/davephillips69

Some videos on YouTube. Student shows, AVSynthesis productions, performances with Fat Daddy, etc. :

An older personal page with some lyrics :

http://linux-sound.org/ardour-music.html

A small collection of notated music :

http://linux-sound.org/dlp-music-lilypond/

## Final questions

Do you feel like anything is lacking in Linux audio today, and if so, what?

We need more fully matured synthesizers, but the outlook is good. And of course we need more hardware support, especially interface hardware.

The common factor between all such “needs” is the need for more developers committed to long-term work with the Linux audio infrastructure. As in all things Linux, needs get met here because someone steps up to the commitment. Motivations vary, results come from the same serious application of effort, whether development is free and open-source or commercial and proprietary.

Recently I read some commentary from an Ardour developer regarding his frustration with our lack of decent audio restoration tools. Similar commentary notes the lack of software such as Melodyne and Ableton Live. Some of those missing parts will require teams devoted to possibly years of development, but in the meanwhile it might help to have more direct involvement from established players in the worlds of Win/Mac music application development. I don’t see a threat there, no-one is forced to buy what they don’t want, and if the need is great enough an open-source alternative will develop. Currently three proprietary DAWs are available for Linux, but I see no slow-down in the development tracks for Ardour, Rosegarden, or QTractor.

What’s your favorite free and open source plugin currently?

The CAPS plate reverb is still a favorite. I’m sure I use it too much. I don’t use plugins very often, and when I do they tend to be simple fx and dynamics processors (reverb, EQ, limiter/compressor). I like the CALF reverb too, I’ve been using it more often lately. And even though they’re not free I have to mention the excellent linuxDSP plugins. They’re worth far more than Mike asks for them, consider them highly recommended. Ditto for the freely available zita line of processors (and all the rest of Fons’s software).

Where can people get a hold of you?

I’m reachable via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dave.phillips.169 and email at dave@linux-sound.org. I’m also on Linux Musicians frequently, I receive messages there too.

Is there anything you would like to add to the interview?

I’m hopeful about the future of Linux audio development. Some time ago I asked a provocative question on the LAD list regarding what sucks about Linux audio. The responses were numerous and interesting, and also a little depressing. But I considered that Linux is simply not a tame beast, and the less I expect to behave like one the more I can see its qualities. Audio is like most other domains in Linux, it has its core of developers and users who make the thing move, its layers of users who produce exemplary works, and its outer rings of developers and users who are unsatisfied by the status quo and sufficiently moved to take or make alternative paths. Open-source dynamics virtually pre-ordain such organization in its communities. The success or failure of any development effort – status quo or otherwise – depends upon the project’s ability to connect with end users to create a community of mutual benefit.

I monitor a variety of audio-related Linux mail-lists, including development lists. I’m happy to report that developers are joining old projects as well as starting new ones. They’re not arriving by the bus load, but they are arriving. There’s not exactly a lot of motivation – the hours are long and the pay’s lousy – but membership does have its satisfactions, including collaboration with people such as Fons Adriaensen, John ffitch, Paul Davis, or Joern Nettingsmeier. The user lists show more activity, of course, and more music is coming from Linux-based studios. A greater variety of music too, which I think is a great sign, though I sympathize with those members who note the need for a toolchain better suited to certain music styles, particularly EDM and musics with heavy use of instrument and effects plugins. I see improvements, but things can always be better.

Thank you very much for the interview, Dave!

That was Dave Philips. Thanks to Dave for participating, and thank you for reading! Check in next week for another interesting guest!

The post Friday Interview #7: Dave Phillips appeared first on zthmusic.

## November 14, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Slurs and Ties

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

In the previous post I wrote about the necessity to carefully organize the voicing structure in LilyPond input files in order not to run into difficult and baffling situations. Today I’m going to confront you with the most common, and at the same time quite demanding, task from this project: beautifying slurs and ties.

Slurs and ties are probably the notational elements that most often need adjustments (I’ll give you detailed statistics later; for now just take my word that I had to correct a lot of slurs and ties in the Fried project). This is probably because it’s hard to teach a computer how to draw a “good-looking” curve. There are complicated situations where you couldn’t seriously expect a computer to make the right decisions by itself (e.g. for slurs that cross staves), but there are also lots of situations where LilyPond simply didn’t manage to get a satisfying solution automatically.

Now, the problem with adjusting slurs is that it’s awkward to do this using a text interface. It’s inconvenient enough when you have to specify numerical offsets to move an object around (for example, a dynamic) – but how can you alter the shape of a curve using just your keyboard? In graphical notation packages all you have to do is to click and drag slur’s control-points with a mouse (slurs are usually implemented as Bézier curves) – that’s easy, fast and intuitive. Unfortunately, with LilyPond you have to adjust the coordinates of the control-points. This is not user-friendly (especially because you don’t see how the adjusted slur will look like until you recompile the score), and I daresay that this is the biggest inconvenience of LilyPond compared to graphical notation software.

Text input offers some great and unique advantages – as we’ve pointed out more than once, processing and storing musical content and tweaks in textual form is surely superior to other formats (see for example Urs’s fundamental text about plain text workflows). But lacking a graphical user interface to this plainly sucks. Fortunately there are plans to add graphical editing capabilities (without compromising text based processing) to Frescobaldi. If that will become reality, working with LilyPond slurs will become more efficient by magnitudes!

Anyway, the situation wouldn’t be a real problem if ugly slurs appeared only from time to time, but with complex music this is not the case. I’ll give you some examples of unsatisfactory default slurs so that you’ll get the idea of the work that was necessary.

Back when I was just beginning to work on the project, broken slurs in particular looked very bad:

ugly broken slurs 1

ugly broken slurs 2

Fortunately, the situation has been dramatically improved by Keith OHara in June 2012, when he fixed issue 379. Nevertheless, broken slurs still frequently needed adjustments; usually the slope of one (or both) part of the slur was unsatisfactory:

default slope

Sometimes slurs interfered with phrasing slurs (this was easy to fix):

slur colliding with phrasing slur

slur colliding with phrasing slur

…and there were other problematic slurs – for example these:

As you can see, there was a lof of work… Fortunately, I had a tool that made this a lot easier: long time ago, on a computer far, far away David Nalesnik wrote a function called \shapeSlur (view in the LilyPond Snippet Repository), which allows to adjust slurs and ties relative to their default appearance. I have used this function all the time and it was a lifesaver – in fact, our need triggered David to update and improve it (see this discussion on the lilypond-user mailing list), and since LilyPond 2.16 \shape is now part of the official distribution (read more in the documentation)!

I’ll tell you more about \shape later (it has been recently improved again, and it’s now even more powerful!), and I’ll also provide detailed statistics and timing information – for now, we shall move on to horizontal and vertical spacing.

## November 13, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] Linux Audio Conference 2014 - Call for Participation

From: Robin Gareus <robin@...>
Subject: [LAA] Linux Audio Conference 2014 - Call for Participation
Date: Nov 13, 3:56 pm 2013

We are happy to announce the next issue of the Linux Audio Conference
(LAC), May 1-4, 2014 @ ZKM | Institute for Music and Acoustics, in
Karlsruhe, Germnany.

http://lac.linuxaudio.org/2014/

The Linux Audio Conference is an international conference that brings
together musicians, sound artists, software developers and researchers,
working with Linux as an open, stable, professional platform for audio
and media research and music production. LAC includes paper sessions,
workshops, and a diverse program of electronic music.

*Call for Papers, Workshops, Music and Installations*

We invite submissions of papers addressing all areas of audio processing
and media creation based on Linux. Papers can focus on technical,
artistic and scientific issues and should target developers or users. In
our call for music, we are looking for works that have been produced or
composed entirely/mostly using Linux.

The online submission of papers, workshops, music and installations is
now open at http://lac.linuxaudio.org/2014/participation

The Deadline for all submissions is January 27th, 2014 (23:59 HAST).

You are invited to register for participation on our conference website.
There you will find up-to-date instructions, as well as important
information about dates, travel, lodging, and so on.

This year's conference is hosted by the ZKM | Institute for Music und
Acoustics (IMA). The IMA is a forum for international discourse and
exchange and combines artistic work with research and development in the
context of electroacoustic music. By holding concerts, symposia and
festivals on a regular basis it brings together composers, musicians,
musicologists, music software developers and listeners interested in
contemporary music. Artists in Residence and software developers work on
their productions in studios at the institute. With digital sound
synthesis, algorithmic composition, live-electronics up to radio plays,
interactive sound installations and audiovisual productions their
creations cover a broad range of what digital technology can inspire the
musical fantasy to.

The ZKM is proud to be the place of the LAC for the fifth time after
having initiated the conference in 2003.

http://www.zkm.de/musik

We look forward to seeing you in Karlsruhe in May!

Sincerely,
The LAC 2014 Organizing Team
_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
Linux-audio-announce@lists.linuxaudio.org
http://lists.linuxaudio.org/listinfo/linux-audio-announce

## November 11, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Engraving Challenges: Structuring the Input

This post is part of a series analyzing LilyPond’s performance during the preparation of a new edition of Oskar Fried’s songs.

With complex piano music, like Oskar Fried wrote, it is fundamental to enter the musical content in the correct, logical structure. It is essential to assign the notes to correct voices and make use of \voiceOne, \voiceTwo etc. Otherwise you won’t be able to make sense of LilyPond’s layout decisions, nor know how to tell LilyPond to do what you want.

I had only entered two or three songs (there had been a few songs entered earlier by others, and the majority of the music was copied from the original editions by Urs), but I remember one interesting thing: I used crayons to mark voices. This may sound silly – in fact, I felt as if I were back in kindergarten – but with piano music this is really helpful: after all, voices may jump into existence and disappear all the time, move between staves, etc. There are usually 2 “main” voices on each staff, but occasionally this number can go up to 4. Even if you have experience, there are situations where only after analyzing a long fragment of the score you can be sure how to assign voices (because they jump around so much, and spawn new “temporary subvoices” so often), and in such situations crayons are your best friends. Just take a look at the following examples to see how complicated this music can be in terms of voicing:

Excerpt from op. 7 no. 2

excerpt from op. 8 no. 1

It is important to get voicing right when entering the musical content, because correcting wrong voicing takes a long time. (Urs also told me that in some cases entering the scores from scratch would have taken him about the same time as fixing voicing issues in input files entered by others.) When dealing with cross-staff or cross-voice notation, I occasionally encountered issues caused by wrong voicing, and fixing them usually required reading the code 5 times to understand how the voices were laid out, and then rewriting that fragment so that the notes were placed in appropriate voices without breaking other things. Here’s one such case:

problem with cross-staff stem

Unfortunately, I don’t have the source code that produced this output (as this was before we started using version control – but that’s a topic for a post on its own), so I cannot exactly say what was wrong in it, but I remember that I was unsucessfully trying to move the notes at the end of the measure (colored in magenta and blue) for a long time before I finally decided to rewrite the code – and when I did this, I got the desired note arrangement almost right away:

that’s how it looks after fixing voices and general beautification.

Of course it would have been very quick and rather painless to “fix” such an issue with a graphical program where I could simply have dragged the notes to a visually satisfying position. But then the logical connection between content and visual representation would have been lost – which would fall on one’s toes very hard as soon as you have to modify anything in the layout. Fixing voicing thoroughly guaranteed that the logical structure will be intact even after major modifications like changing page layout and line breaking.

Appropriate logical structure is especially important when dealing with complicated tie and slur notation. In LilyPond, ties and slurs can connect only notes that are in the same voice, so when the composer uses a cross-voice tie one has to create artificial voices that will allow you to “fake” the desired tie. These artificial voices must fit in the logical structure of the piece, or weird things will happen. Here is another case where changing voice structure was necessary to get the desired notation:

badly structured cross-voice tie (highlighted in blue) caused the collision of half-note chord with the upstem quarter-note.

here’s the notation that we wanted to produce.

Quite frankly, I think that having to define such artificial voices is inconvenient and LilyPond should have a simpler way of specifying cross-voice ties. I imagine that it should be possible to design a CrossVoiceTie object that could be used in the code just like an ordinary tie. In fact, it is already possible to move the Tie_engraver from the Voice context to the Staff context – when you do this, ties can connect notes from different voices. Unfortunately this solution has some downsides that usually prevent you from using it effectively.

The conclusion of this post is: think ahead and take care to define appropriate logical structure for the music you are engraving, or you may run into situations that are tricky to solve. If you encounter puzzling problems and wonder why things get so complicated, it may mean that the structure you had used for the music is wrong. But when you get it right – and with some practice it’s quite easy to get it right – you will be rewarded with a result that is more stable and reliable than the “hacks” you’d have to use with graphical notation programs.

In the upcoming posts I will show you a few areas where I really had to wrestle with some LilyPond peculiarities – expect an unsparing analysis of LilyPond performance, with no sugarcoating, but please don’t get discouraged after reading it! Despite these weaknesses I still prefer LilyPond to other tools; and most importantly, the issues I point out can be solved

### Hack a Day» digital audio hacks

#### Bluetooth Audio Adapter Hacked to Switch Off Amplified Speakers

This Bluetooth Audio Adapter is meant to connect a Bluetooth audio source (like a smartphone or tablet) to a speaker system with a plain old line-in connection. It has the ability to automatically connection when the Bluetooth device comes into range. Sounds convenient until [Andreas Pösch] points out that he still has to switch the speakers on and off manually. This hack automates the entire thing using a bit of additional hardware.

If you look closely you’ll see that the black cables have barrel jacks. This is a power pass-through rig that he whipped up. The protoboard includes a 7805 linear regulator which feeds power to the green circuit board in lieu of it’s original power adapter. A MOSFET switches outbound power headed for the speakers. All of it fits inside of the original enclosure, and he only had to add one port for the AC adapter.

This would be absolutely perfect for an antique radio retrofit. One of these adapters can be had for just over thirty bucks!

Filed under: digital audio hacks

## November 10, 2013

### GStreamer News

#### GStreamer Core and Plugins 1.2.1 stable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce a new release of the stable 1.2 release series. The 1.2 release series is adding new features on top of the 1.0 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework that contains new features.

Binaries for Windows, Mac OS X and Android will be provided in the next days and will be announced separately.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, or gst-libav, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, or gst-libav,

Check the release announcement mail for details and the release notes above for a list of changes.

Also available are binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows.

## November 09, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Oskar Fried: engraving challenges

Hello again – long time no see! I cannot believe that I haven’t published new posts for almost 3 months… In the previous post Urs had already mentioned some of the reasons why I was away for so long: finishing the new edition of Oskar Fried songs requires a lot of attention and I’m not a good multitasker.

As you already know, my job in this project was to bring the scores to publication quality – together with Urs we call this process “beautification”. To get an idea of what this means, compare the following images (I recommend using an “Alt-Tab comparison”, i.e. opening both images in full size and switching between them repeatedly using Alt-Tab or other appropriate keyboard shortcut):

Op. 8 No. 3 before beautification

Op. 8 No. 3 after beautification

Another example. Note that before beautification staff spacing was wrong and systems weren’t visually separate:

Op. 7 No. 6 before beautification

Op. 7 No. 6 after beautification

While LilyPond’s default output is quite legible – a commendable feat, given the complexity of the music! – it is clear that all scores had to be post-processed in order to be publication-ready. Such a task may be either very pleasurable (when you see that you create something beautiful – a work of art, basically) or quite frustrating (if you have to fight with the software). It all depends on the complexity of the scores, and available time and skills of the engraver. I have mostly enjoyed the process (especially since we started using version control to track all changes), although there were times when I was really angry at LilyPond for behaving stupidly. Fortunately most of the time it was possible to find an intelligent solution to problems I’ve encountered (for example, write a function or override some settings) instead of making manual adjustments everywhere.

I have learned a lot during the process – about music engraving, cooperation, programming, and LilyPond itself! I’d like to share some of this knowledge with you, hoping that it will help anyone who indends to undertake a similar project, and also that it will be helpful to the other LilyPond developers when discussing new features, architecture changes and development priorities.

Let’s start with some general statistics. The edition contains 94 pages of music which are produced from 320 LilyPond source files – 30 800 lines of code in total. The project structure is moderately complex – 565 \include commands. We had created a dedicated library containing all special functions, shorthands and stylesheets we had designed for the project (we hope to make them publicly available, probably as part of the openLilyLib/snippets repository.

When dealing with a project of this size and complexity (I’m referring to the complexity of the music), what are the biggest engraving challenges? From my experience it seems that they are:

• structuring the musical content correctly,
• making slurs and ties beautiful,
• getting horizontal spacing right,
• getting vertical spacing right,
• managing different LilyPond versions,
• ensuring that nothing accidentally changes to the worse.

I’m going to talk about each of these challenges in detail, and then present you with some statistics. I had initially thought that everything will fit into one article (that’s why Urs announced “a little series of three posts”), but I kept writing and writing (that’s why this post took so long to publish) and now I think it will be best to present each topic as a separate short post. Expect a new one every two or three days!

PS another big challenge was keeping such a project together, managing it’s technical complexity – but that’s something I’ll talk about in the final “conclusions” posts, together with Urs. Stay tuned…

## November 08, 2013

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### littleBits and KORG: Snap Together A Synth with Magnets, $159; Module-by-Module Details, Q&A, Gallery New York startup littleBits and founder Ayah Bdeir helped pioneer the modern definition of open source hardware. But they also put it into action, getting even young kids snapping together their own hardware ideas. The process is addictively simple: whereas platforms like Arduino require breadboards and wires, littleBits’ tiny circuits are already pre-made and snap together with magnets. It’s an idea that screams out for sound applications. And now – in a collaboration that leaked earlier this week – that’s happened. The surprise is, the collaborator is none other than KORG. The price: US$159 (direct, and at some retailers).
Shipping: Beginning of December.

That buys you a box full of miniature circuit boards containing the basic elements of a synthesizer: a keyboard, a sequencer, oscillators and filter and envelope, and even a delay. (We have full details of the modules below.) The oscillators and filter and delay were derived from the KORG monotron, meaning the filter circuit is the latest adaptation of the MS-20′s filter design. (This one uses the second-generation MS-20 filter, not the original filter as found on the monotron, though the character isn’t entirely different.) They’ve undergone some modifications to make them work in the littleBits set, but they still retain their distinctive sound. And that means what you get is perhaps best described as a build-your-own monotron prototype.

Where this gets interesting is that you can mix and match the synth kit with other littleBits projects, adding motors or blinking lights or sensors. It’s definitely pricier and more limited than using something like Arduino, but you don’t have to muck about with breadboards, wires, code, and soldering irons. Almost everything just works. And it could easily be a gateway – or rapid prototyping solution – to those other systems, especially for kids (or anyone in a hurry).

The best way to see what this means is to watch Reggie Watts’ cute demo video. It happens fast, but take particular note of the moment when he adds motor-driven animated figures – something you can’t easily do with a conventional sound modular.

I’ve been in touch with KORG’s Chief Engineer Tatsuya Takahashi (the man behind the monotron and volca series), littleBits’s Product Development man (and music tech lover) Paul Rothman, and KORG Product Originator Tadahiko Sakamaki. Mr. Sakamaki might well be called KORG’s Chief Cool Officer, having brought the volcas and monotrons, the Kaossilator, nanoSERIES, MS-20 mini, and others to market. They spoke to me earlier this week from New York via Skype. Audio isn’t terribly great, but I can share what I learned. (Kudos to the KORG gentlemen, who were cogent despite having just gotten off a flight from Japan.)

I’ve also had a hands-on demo with Paul (who made some fascinating little combinations) and just received a pre-production set; we’ll have some sounds for you next week.

First, here’s what comes in the box:

Image courtesy littleBits. (All other images: CDM.)

Power: On/off switch, 9-volt battery connection (included)

Oscillator: (2x) Single oscillator source, switchable to square and saw, with pitch knob (plus tune, which works when you plug in the keyboard)

Random: Noise oscillator. Switchable to two modes: “Noise” outputs white noise; “random voltage” is used for control (playing random pitches – think a sample & hold generator)

Keyboard: 13 switches give you an octave of notes; there’s a dial for register. “Press” mode is momentary; “hold” sustains the pitch. You actually get two outputs: the pitch output, but also a trigger output for controlling other modules.

Micro sequencer:Step through four sequence values, each set by a knob. You can clock the sequencer either using the knob or externally (in step mode). That means you can trigger steps (via the keyboard, for instance), or send a pulse for external clock.

Envelope: Attack and Decay knobs, for a simple two-stage envelope.

Filter: Cutoff, Peak (Resonance); with Peak all the way up, the filter will self-oscillate (which means you have a third oscillator, if you like).

Delay: Time, Feedback.

Mix: Two inputs, one output. You also can use the Mix module two combine the two oscillators.

Split: (2x) One signal input, two signal outputs.

Synth Speaker: This module has a small speaker atop it, plus a volume control, but it also has a 3.5mm minijack output for headphones or line output.

These modules come with a booklet that explains their function, plus all the basics of sound synthesis. It also has some fun projects, with warnings to get adults’ help. (Okay… uh… I still imagine all of us grown-ups raiding the paper plates and causing mayhem with the hot glue gun.) This includes novel routings for making practical synths, and physical modifications – like building a keytar, or attaching straws and plates to the knobs to make a DJ-style platter interface.

Now, for some questions and answers – it’s easiest to summarize this from the conversation we had:

Can you perform with these? Absolutely. “Tats” joined Reggie Watts and chip musician Nullsleep onstage at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan this week. He told me that he already had the synth kit ready to go, and soldered a single wire from the underside of one of the modules to a volca for clock, for an impromptu volca + littleBits concert.

What about MIDI? There’s no MIDI yet, though Paul tells CDM that littleBits would like to release such a module in future. But it wouldn’t be hard to hack other connections, analog CV or MIDI.

How close are these to the monotron circuits? Tatsuya says there was a bit of work to adapt the circuitry to littleBits, first and foremost the non-trivial issue of making everything run at 5V. But they are otherwise quite close.

Wait, did KORG just release open source hardware? Yep. And that makes KORG the first major manufacturer to do so explicitly. It’s not available yet, but circuit designs under an Open Source Hardware license, plus firmware for the digital modules, will be up on GitHub along with the other littleBits modules. That means you could theoretically devise your own synth based on these circuits if you really wanted. The only thing that isn’t open is the proprietary design for the magnet-snap attachments. Whether that’s a business decision or not, it’s also a practical one. Paul says you’d need special equipment to mold those tiny plastic parts. (I expect 3D printing on most readily-available affordable printers could cause problems with fit.)

I asked (and even Tatsuya asked) if this was a significant issue for KORG. Tadahiko said there wasn’t even much discussion; the company was pleased with the enthusiasm from customers over releasing circuits like those for the monotron. Adding the explicit license almost sounds like a (generous) afterthought.

What if you want to make your own modules? This isn’t really possible yet – though attaching a wire as Tats did is easy enough. But Paul says that a Hardware Developer Kit is in the works which would allow people to create their own modules. It seems that the music and sound community will be all over that, even more so than the existing people using littleBits.

Why does KORG keep doing this cool stuff? I talked to Tadahiko a bit about where the motivation to do this at KORG originates. He spoke really passionately about the desire to do “interesting” things – that all the way to the top, chief Kato Seiki makes doing interesting things, things that make customers happy, comes first, even before business considerations. And having a company that investigates ideas first and then thinks about the business case to me is fascinating.

What modules might you add on? There are “exploration” kits full of lots of options, but Paul when he was in Berlin demonstrated four that are also displayed on the included booklet, and they make a lot of sense. There’s a microphone, which also lets you input signal – perfect for using the filter. There’s a pressure sensor. There’s also a bar graph (which displays levels anywhere in the signal chain, though it’s more useful in some spots than others). Or you can go crazy with ideas like (EL) light wire.

Dream team: littleBits’ Paul Rothman (Product Development), flanked by KORG Chief Engineer Tatsuya Takahashi (left) and KORG Product Originator Tadahiko Sakamaki (right). Photo courtesy Tatsuya.

I’m really excited to see what people do with the littleBits series, partly because there’s now a resurgence in interest in DIY and modular. This isn’t necessarily the best or most practical synth you can buy for $159, absent MIDI and some other options (and without a case). But if you are willing to spend a bit of extra money on the convenience of the magnets, and want to piece together your own, very tiny modular, it’s a crazy amount of fun. And Tatsuya said something interesting about the motivation behind these. I asked, clumsily, if there was some sort of renewed interest in DIY sound instruments. Tatsuya went further, and said he thought people were interested in exploring sound. Understanding that as the main motivation behind all we do, behind our desire for these tools, I think can’t be overstated. With that, I hope you get some music making time this weekend. Enjoy, and see you next week. If you’ve got more questions about the littleBits, let us know so we can include them in our review. http://littlebits.cc/kits/synth-kit More of what littleBits can do: ### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org #### [LAA] The Friday Interview #6: Glen MacArthur of AVLinux From: Gabbe Nord <gabbe.nord@...> Subject: [LAA] The Friday Interview #6: Glen MacArthur of AVLinux Date: Nov 8, 2:05 pm 2013 --047d7b86de8270d67304eaa94dbd Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Hey! This week's interview is with Glen MacArthur of AVLinux. Check it out here: http://www.zthmusic.com/avlinux/ Thanks for your time! --047d7b86de8270d67304eaa94dbd Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 Hey! This week's interview is with Glen MacArthur of AVLinux. Check it out here: http://www.zthmusic.com/avlinux/ Thanks for your time! --047d7b86de8270d67304eaa94dbd-- read more #### [LAA] ANN: ALSA MIDI Filter From: Jim Cochrane <jim.cochrane@...> Subject: [LAA] ANN: ALSA MIDI Filter Date: Nov 8, 2:05 pm 2013 --089e011822c820918804ea9fe471 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 The ALSA MIDI Filter (AMF) runs as an ALSA MIDI client, connects to a configurable set of MIDI clients for input, processes its input (MIDI event data) based on its configuration and the type and content of the MIDI input, and sends the result to one or more connected MIDI output clients. https://github.com/jjttcc/midifilter https://sourceforge.net/projects/midifilter/ I developed this application after looking into current MIDI filtering packages for Linux (such as mididings and midish) and not being satisfied with what I can do with them. AMF is implemented in perl, using the MIDI::ALSA module, and is intended to be an open-ended project that will grow and evolve as needed. Anyone interested is welcome to add their own features and modifications - submit patches for consideration, fork it, or etc. The license is GPL v2. If you're not a developer/hacker, you're welcome to submit suggestions for additional functionality and improvements. And, of course, bug reports are welcome. Current MIDI-event filtering features: - program-change - From note event where patch number is determined by the pitch value. - bank-select - switch to the next/previous bank. - transpositions - Transpose pitches within a certain configured range up or down by a specified number of half steps. - Run external commands. - Real-time START, STOP, and CONTINUE messages. - MIDI machine control messages. - Trigger a mode (which I call "program-change sample mode") that cycles through the entire range of patches, with a pause in between each patch change. In other words, it sends patch 0, pauses for a configured number of seconds, sends patch 1, etc., until it has reached patch 127. This allows the user to try out - "sample" - each patch of the current bank without having to explicitly invoke a program change. --089e011822c820918804ea9fe471 Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable The ALSA MIDI Filter (AMF) runs as an ALSA MIDI clien= t, connects to a configurable set of MIDI clients for input, processes its = input (MIDI event data) based on its configuration and the type and content= of the MIDI input, and sends the result to one or more connected MIDI outp= ut clients. =A0=A0 I developed this application after looking into curre= nt MIDI filtering packages for Linux (such as mididings and midish) and not= being satisfied with what I can do with them. =A0AMF is implemented in per= l, using the MIDI::ALSA module, and is intended to be an open-ended project= that will grow and evolve as needed. =A0Anyone interested is welcome to ad= d their own features and modifications - submit patches for consideration, = fork it, or etc. =A0The license is GPL v2. =A0If you're not a developer= /hacker, you're welcome to submit suggestions for additional functional= ity and improvements. =A0And, of course, bug reports are welcome. Current MIDI-event filtering features: div> =A0 - program-change - From note event where patch number is deter= mined by the pitch value. =A0 - bank-select - switch to the next/= previous bank. =A0 - transpositions - Transpose pitches within a certain configured r= ange up =A0 =A0 or down by a specified number of half steps. > ### zthmusic #### Friday Interview #6: Glen MacArthur Hello and welcome to the Friday Inteview-series. Here, I interview an interesting and inspiring member of the Linux audio community each week, trying to shed some light on the many great members of the community. Join me every Friday, and get to know the people in the community! Hi, and welcome to the sixth edition of the Friday Interview! This week, we’re joined by a guy who’s had the time to create and maintain the Linux distribution AVLinux, while at the same time being a kickass musician. I’m very happy to introduce the sixth participant of the series, interviewee #6: Glen MacArthur! Lets get started! ## Introducing Glen MacArthur Glen MacArthur, aka avlinux, is a self-employed Canadian, running a family farm with his wife in Ontario. His primary interest in Linux audio is creating a scalable, fully-featured Audio/Video platform, aimed at both the casual enthusiast, and the commercial grade professional. Outside of Linux audio, being a part-time musician, he loves to play music, especially with his kids. He also enjoys riding motorcycles and ATV’s. Here’s Glen in his self-built little studio shed. From Glen himself: My little studio and our band rehearsal space is in a separate little building I built called the ‘Band Shed’. My setup isn’t too impressive really but it gets the job done. Hi Glen! Thanks a lot for doing this interview! Where do you live, and what do you do for a living? No Gabbe the thanks goes to you for starting this great series! I’m pretty sure I’m the only farmer in Canada with a Linux Distribution… I live in rural Southwestern Ontario Canada, curiously I live on the same farm I grew up on. My wife and I run 300 acres of crops and livestock for our living. Farming is very seasonal work and the hours vary significantly so I have some time for geekly activities during the winter months. I’m pretty sure I’m the only farmer in Canada with a Linux Distribution… What’s your musical background like? What music do you like, and do you play any instruments? I must have inherited a recessive musical gene because there are no musicians in my family. I was a late bloomer and didn’t catch the music bug until I was 18 or so and then started playing in a band with some friends. We managed to get a repertoire up to speed quite quickly and had a great few years doing the bar circuit and learned volumes about performing and even more about personality conflicts For the last 18 years or so I have sang and played guitar with ‘Movin’ Groovin’ and Verhoeven’ a local cover band that despite it’s ridiculous name plays about 30 shows a year and stays quite busy. Recently I have joined another band called ‘The Roadies’ (it’s an inside joke) as drummer and we have recently played a few gigs which has been very fun as well. I also play drums and record occasionally with some former bandmates in a Rockabilly band called Wally & the Spaz Rockets. Instrument-wise I play guitar, drums and was cajoled into singing although I never really intended to be much of a singer. I can play bass in a pinch and dabble very lamely with keyboards. I don’t have any formal music training which is a mixed blessing/curse. I listen to and enjoy a lot of different musical styles from jazz to dubstep. Some artists that have influenced me are John Fogerty and all the amazing artists from the American Soul era both on Motown and Stax/Volt in the late 60′s. I also really dig Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and the Foo Fighters. Recently a very talented Swede with a gift for melodic Electronic music made on Linux has gotten me more interested in that genre, perhaps you’ve heard of him? The Farm. Looks awesome, and I subscribe to the idea that Glen likely is the only farmer with a Linux distribution. He should do a workshop on “Linux for farmers”. What’s your history with Linux, and with using Linux for audio? Hmmm well to start my history with Windows probably should be mentioned as there is a correlation. To be honest I have no computer schooling or training and my daily work other than some record and book-keeping has nothing to do with computers. Like many people I got interested in computers in the mid 90′s mostly because I could see the potential for Audio Recording and I have always been fascinated with recording and used reel to reel and cassette multitrack recorders for years. So I did a lot of research and we got our first PC in 1996 or so, I really wanted to ensure that for recording I had a pro-quality Sound Card so after much reading and saving my pennies I purchased a Turtle Beach Pinnacle ISA Card for$800.00CDN, yes it was a lot of money but this sucker had an onboard Kurzweil MA-1 Synth chip, onboard optional memory slots for Wavetable Sampling and 20bit AD Converters that could actually handle 24bit Audio (well OK, 20bits with 4 null bits).

This was space-age stuff for home PC’s in the late 90′s! I also read that the Pinnacle required 2 IRQ‘s… Wow, 2 must be better than 1 right?! Wrong!! Long story short although it was a great bit of hardware it was extremely difficult to install and the 2 IRQ’s were a major headache so right off the bat with our first PC I had to roll up my sleeves and learn very quickly about how computer’s work, most nearby computer stores knew absolutely nothing about dedicated Audio Recording so I was on my own. Shortly after that I went to a local music store seminar on Steinberg’s CubaseVST and plunked down another $300.00 for CubaseVST 3.5, Oh yes those were the heady early days of VST Plugins with GUI’s. So for a few years I was in DAW bliss and could very quickly and easily get songs and ideas together, create sampled drumkits and all sorts of Audio and MIDI mayhem. It didn’t last long… Windows XP came out and Steinberg held out their hands for another$300.00 or so for a new Cubase for XP, then ISA slots disappeared from PC motherboards and killed my Pinnacle. This was my introduction to the short shelf-life of PC-based music production and I was supremely pissed and disappointed!

I staved off the inevitability of XP as long as I could and after trying N-Track and some other lower-priced DAW programs I gave up on DAW’s in frustration and bought a used Tascam DA-88 Hi8 tape-based Digital Recorder and a Digital mixer. I started a new interest in computer Video Editing and joined the Videohelp.com forums which had a ‘Linux’ video section.

One day I started following a seemingly endless and acrimonious forum thread on switching to Linux and got curious, the OP of the thread recommended MEPIS so I tried a MEPIS LiveCD, that little bouncing KDE3 cursor was the cutest thing ever! MEPIS was a great intro to Desktop Linux but a decidedly non-multimedia focused OS.

Ubuntu Studio 7.10 (Gutsy) came out shortly after and I was properly introduced to the (then) state of Linux Audio. I tried Ardour 2.0 and was very surprised and impressed and was inspired to get back into the DAW world, this time with Linux. I was excited that with Linux I could dig in and get involved on both sides of the computer screen and if I asked questions on the Ardour forum or IRC more often than not I got answered by Paul Davis (the author of Ardour) himself, many of us Linux users take this close contact with developers for granted but this was far different than my experience with Steinberg. Linux being ‘free’ has never appealed to me as the foremost reason to choose it personally but I appreciated that I could decide how much I wanted to pay at any given time and could choose whichever projects I wanted to donate to.

Like my previous experience with the Pinnacle Card, and like many new Linux users it became obvious to me that to get the most out of the new and quickly evolving landscape of Linux Audio I was going to need to roll up my sleeves and learn to compile my own apps to fix issues and enjoy the latest offerings. I used Ubuntu 7.10 for as long as I could but quickly learned that there was no longevity to the in-between ‘.10′ Ubuntu releases but in the meantime I had discovered Tony Brijeski’s ‘Remastersys‘ and created my own customized ISO of Ubuntu 7.10 with all my latest compiled apps. In that time I also tried 64Studio and JACKLab which were both incredible Distributions in their time but by 2007 they were both starting to show developer fatigue and lagging hardware support. I was very much enjoying learning to use Ardour and talking to other users on it’s forum and I really wanted to show other people what the fuss was all about so on a whim I uploaded my customized 7.10 ISO to my wife’s webspace and half-jokingly called it ‘AV Linux’. Shortly after that I switched over to Debian and have been using it as a base ever since.

## AVLinux

You’re the creator and maintainer of AVLinux. Could you explain what AVLinux is, and what it sets out to do, for the people who don’t know it? When did you start working on it?

I started working on AVLinux in late 2006.

Well at a glance AV Linux is similar to 64/Ubuntu/Tango/Dream/KX Studio and is a custom tailored Live or Installable Linux OS specializing in Audio and Video creation. I guess it is more distinguished by it’s differences to the others than by it’s similarities. Some key differences:

• AV Linux is heavily customized, complete and pre-configured so that even people without internet can install and use it to it’s full potential.
• AV Linux is scalable from 10-12 year old single core computers up to recent new PCs and has optional PAE Kernels for new machines with 4+ Gb of RAM. I believe VERY strongly that older computers can be productive appliances instead of toxic landfill.
• AV Linux comes with a complete development environment in the default install, if I can build and package it…so can the user. This makes compiling much less intimidating to new users.
• AV Linux is released in meticulously compiled snapshots with large amounts of custom GIT/BZR/SVN fixes done in direct consultation with many of the upstream developers, A great deal of time is taken to make sure the apps are in the best state possible and reflect well on their developers. It also features some packages not found anywhere else like ArdourVST, the only available demo version of Mixbus, Transcribe and a lot of useful WinFF and CinelerraCV presets.
• AV Linux celebrates and promotes Open-Source but also introduces the user to the foremost Commercial Linux Audio apps by presenting their demos on the LiveDVD. linuxDSP, Loomer, Harrison Mixbus, Pianoteq, Renoise are also all there configured and ready to evaluate.

Maintenance of AVLinux in action. Packaging!

I know you’ve been talking about not having the proper time to put into AVLinux lately. What’s the future for AVLinux? How would you personally like to see it play out?

I’m sure I’m in the same boat as many software people who do it as a hobby, You do it because you love it, but other priorities pay the bills and therefore demand the higher share of your time, add in the obvious higher priorities of a family and suddenly time is a scarce, precious commodity. My wife and kids are very supportive and understanding of my ‘weird’ hobby, but even that doesn’t create more than 24 hours in a day. The way AV Linux is developed requires huge amounts of custom packaging, many packaging maintainers find it a handful maintaining 4 or 5 packages, In AV Linux I am maintaining more than 40, it has been my own choice to do things this way and to use Debian’s “Stable’ branch as a base.

My wife and kids are very supportive and understanding of my ‘weird’ hobby, but even that doesn’t create more than 24 hours in a day.

For those who don’t know how Debian works the ‘Stable’ distribution is very selectively worked on through a long testing phase and then released with maintenance and security updates but no true application updates except for a small selection of backports. All of the multimedia update packaging for Debian is handled by their own excellent ‘pkg-multimedia’ team but 99% of their work goes directly to the ‘Testing’ and ‘Unstable’ Debian branches thus  since I chose Stable for all of it’s merits as a reliable base I had to take the initiative to do the packaging. I’m certainly not complaining, merely pointing out why a customized ‘distro’ can be so time consuming.

When AV Linux 6.0 was released last year I was completely burned out and was becoming very resentful of the time required and also of the various changes going on in the underlying Linux support structure. I had to take my hands off the wheel for a while and regain my perspective. After I got my head back on straight I picked up where I left off and for the time being am continuing work and improvements to the AV Linux 6.X series. To be clear AV Linux is still in active development and maintenance.

As far as the future for AV Linux it has already been decided for me by other factors which to be honest are probably better in the long term for future Linux Audio users. AV Linux is currently based on Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) which was replaced by Debian 7.0 (Wheezy) late last spring. I was not really in a hurry to move to 7.0 because I had put a lot of work into honing and improving the 6.X base and in my opinion things were just getting to the level of quality I had always envisioned.

In the meantime falkTX of KXStudio who I have a great and mutually respectful relationship with made a wise decision to move his KXStudio repositories to Debian 7.0 from Ubuntu. So in reality now KXStudio is not a Ubuntu or KDE entity only, it will service both Debian and Ubuntu and by extension will also most likely service Dream Studio as well since it makes use of KXStudio packaging. On top of that in the meantime Tango Studio has also moved to Debian so regardless of what I would or wouldn’t do Debian 7.0 has it’s multimedia packaging needs more than covered and continuing with AV Linux on Debian 7.0 would be just be self-serving and redundant.

I respect, admire and appreciate the efforts of falkTX, Jof Thibaut and others and I think Debian/Ubuntu Linux Audio users are in very good hands. When I feel my work on AV Linux 6.X is finally finished and after I complete a music album I’ve left unfinished for far too long I will probably pitch in to lend a hand with packaging for KXStudio if I can be of use at that time.

The AVLinux Mama. This is the machine that AVLinux is made from, and Glen says AVLinux actually is a complete copy of the system on this computer.

If people want to contribute to AVLinux, how can they do that? And where can we find AVLinux online? Do you have a Facebook page, Google+ page or similar?

The AV Linux website is here: http://www.bandshed.net/AVLinux.html
Clicking the ‘Donate’ button is encouraged!
The AV Linux forum community is here:
http://www.remastersys.com/forums/index.php
I don’t have Facebook and can be found on Google+ as ‘Glen MacArthur

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of you and your music, which I’m sure the “plays by country”-statistics on Soundcloud shows Rumors are you’re working on an album, and have been for quite a while. Could you tell us a bit about that project?

Well you know the feeling is mutual on that! Your music has been very inspiring to me as well.

I have a large backlog of original music that I started writing back in my early DAW days with the Cubase setup I described previously. Many of the songs were never finished and life got busy and until I got into Linux I really had lost a lot of the inspiration to work on original music because of losing my previous familiar workflow.

Linux Audio in general has progressed to such a great and productive level now and AV Linux itself has evolved for me personally to a point where I have found a new workflow that makes sense and I want to finally pick up where I left off in the late 90′s.

Of course now being in my mid-forties I’ve decided to harness the energy of mid-life crisis and finish a complete album in the next year. The way things are going it may have to be a double-album..

Glen: An old analog picture from an instamatic camera in 1989 of me recording at Sun Studios in Memphis Tennessee, this is the studio where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins etc, got their start. A sad story… my friend and I went to Memphis, toured the studio and took the opportunity to record there, this was back in the 1980′s so we got the masters on Cassette tapes, when I got home I put the cassette in my tape deck which promptly ate the tape and destroyed it.

What kind of musical projects are you involved in right now?

Other than trying out stuff and working on my album I had the profound pleasure earlier this year to collaborate on a song with the amazing Dave Phillips, his voice on that track still gives me shivers. He is such a wealth of musical knowledge (Linux and otherwise) and such a humble, wise and encouraging person. Performing with him live someday is on my bucket list and I’d do another song with Dave any day of the week!

I also was asked by Irwin Cespedes (a.k.a. altiplane) to contribute a song this past year to a great Linux Audio compilation album ‘Ondas Libres’ produced by some folks at the Hispasonic forum.

I’m looking forward to a collaboration with another Linux Audio phenomenon in the near future and taking that opportunity to learn some new tricks. Occasionally I do some small commercial recording jobs with other bands in my small studio but these are very few and far between.

What software do you mainly use when making music?

As a packager/distributor I get an opportunity to see the work of a lot of great developers and there are too many great Apps and Plugins to count.

As a musician my needs are fairly spartan. I routinely use Hydrogen, Ardour, ArdourVST and Harrison Mixbus with linuxDSP, Loomer, Calf, and various other FOSS Plugins. I never use or require Session Management so that keeps things pretty simple.

I am becoming very interested in moving to Qtractor on my aging laptop computer since both Ardour3 and Mixbus are creeping up on their CPU usage.

Is there any type of musical project you haven’t done, that you’d like to do in the future?

At some point I’d like to do a multitrack and multi-camera HD concert video and post produce it all with Linux tools. With recent improvements to Kdenlive and the Video Timeline features on Ardour3 I think this would be easily achieved but it would still be a very time-consuming project so who knows…?

## Final questions

Do you feel like anything is lacking in Linux audio today, and if so, what?

Things have come so far since I’ve been involved with Linux Audio and the huge amount of new territory that has been conquered makes it difficult to focus on the ‘have-not’ side of things.

One thing I would personally love to see is LV2 plugin support in the mixer strips of Hydrogen, having that sort of processing DSP power inside of Hydrogen would be an incredible addition to an already phenomenal Drum Sequencer IMHO.

The Farm Awesomeness #2. Great way to justify spending a lot of time in front of the computer. “But… I’m always outdoors working….. Pleeeeaseee..!”.

What’s your favorite free and open source plugin currently?

Barry’s Satan Maximizer…no contest.

Where can people get a hold of you, and where can they find your work and music?

Well you can find me as ‘GMaq’ on the AV Linux, Ardour and Linux Musicians forums, and as ‘avlinux’ on IRC although I’m on IRC very sporadically.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/glen-macarthur
MG&V: http://www.bandshed.net/mgv/index.html
Wally & the Spaz Rockets: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNL4jaORPpM

Is there anything you would like to add to the interview?

I’d like to add that I’m working on an updated AV Linux 6.0.2 ISO which will feature XFCE 4.10 as a D.E. and it will have many important updates, hotfixes, convenience features and new plugins. This release will be  focused on well-established Hosts+plugins and feature a bit less in the way of modular apps. I hope to release it between now and Christmas.

I’m also hoping to attend LAC 2014 and meet as many Linux Audio developers and users as possible!

Thank you very much for the interview!

That was Glen MacArthur (aka avlinux). Thanks to Glen for participating, and thank you for reading! Check in next week for another interesting guest!

The post Friday Interview #6: Glen MacArthur appeared first on zthmusic.

## November 06, 2013

### Music, Programming and a Cat

#### How to generate an irregular pulse with sox for audio sync testing

Sometimes you want to see if your graphics and your sound are in sync. Be it in a program or, even more important, if you record a video or screencast and you want to be sure video and audio have the same speed. Sadly that is not guaranteed so you better check with a quick test before you record that one-hour tutorial which turns out to be unusable in the end.

For this we want a simple enough audio files (short sine pulses) that you can follow with your eyes and your ears if you load it in a wave editor or sequencer such as Audacity, Ardour or whatever. Something with a graphical, moving cursor or some other kind of animation on screen (a blinking fake-LED) so you can see exactly when your should hear sound and when not, especially the start and end of the tone.

A simple 4/4 metronome beat would be too similar. It is easy to mis-count or mistake one beep for the other. In 120 bpm this means your video could be behind/too fast 0.5 seconds or any multiple of that. We don't want this.

Before going to to great length and design a musical piece without any patterns at all we just settle with a series of p ... Read More

### ardour

#### Ardour 3.5.74 released

Ardour 3.5.74 is released to make sure that a variety of very useful fixes plus a couple of functional improvements are available to as many users as possible. If you use Ardour with one of our translations, you should almost certainly update, because there we have fixed lot of subtle breakage caused by the translation process. For others, read over the changes and you can decide for yourself if you would benefit from an update.

Fetch it from the usual place. The OS X demo version has been updated too.

## November 05, 2013

### WolfDream.ca News Feed

#### Ideas Wanted: How can I make accessibility work pay the bills?

In the ten months since acquiring my Samsung Galaxy S III and beginning my Android journey, I've become quite excited and involved with mobile technology. Interest which was at first mainly caused by the need to find a device which worked for me and assimilate the knowledge necessary to operate it with maximum efficiency has turned into curiosity spanning the whole field and a growing concern for its accessibility. Indeed, as the focus for computing seems to be shifting rapidly to mobile platforms and that technology becomes more and more deeply woven into the fabric of our society, the great promises for empowerment it offers to people with disabilities are doubled with equally great threats of alienation, should there be any lapse in its accessibility or affordability.

### Linux Audio Users & Musicians Video Blog

#### Restivo Plays Jazz

Me and My Cronies doing their suite live, 30th November 2007. Live, Progressive Jazz.

## November 04, 2013

### zthmusic

#### Libre Jam: Audio workshop for kids – Getting to work (Part 3)

This is a part of a series of posts on a workshop about making music using free and open source software, that will take place the 8th to 10th of November 2013, in Gothenburg, Sweden. You can find all of the posts in this series by following this link.

Another blogpost about the workshop! There’s a little less than a week until the actual event, so time has really come to get to work on preparing all of this. Luckily for me, I’ve managed to free up a lot of time for this the coming week, so I should have no problem finishing this in time.

So, today is the first real get to work day. I’ve done a lot of talking to knowledgeable people like falkTX of KXStudio, Jonathan Liles of the Non tools, and Harry van Haaren of OpenAV Productions, who’ve all given me tons of valuable help and feedback. So, conceputally, I’ve gotten quite far along. A few of the things I’ve done up until this point, from the last update:

• falkTX helped me figure out what I need to reset on shutdown, to prepare the live USB for other computers than only the one it’s currently on. Still need to test this, but conceptually, it feels covered.
• Jonathan Liles helped me with how I can control the Non Session Manager (NSM) via command line and scripting. What this means for me, is that I can start NSM myself on startup with a script, and then also load a default session. This, together with some other perks I’ll explain below, will be great for the live USB.
• Both me and Staffan have tried LMMS some, but both agreed on that LMMS hasn’t been stable enough for us to use for the actual workshop. I do intend on including something short about LMMS, together with links to tutorials, and a few sample songs. These sample songs will most likely be songs made by Harry van Haaren. He has some really cool songs available for LMMS that he didn’t mind us using.

As you can see, I’ve gotten fairly far at least. The most pressing issues right now, is deciding and preparing what sessions I want to include. Also, since another plan is to prepare a few basic songs, I’ll also need to do that.

Screenshot from the interview with Jonathan Liles, where he has a bunch of stuff setup using Non Session Manager. NSM is in the top right corner.

My plan for today is:

1. Start making the live USB sticks. Apparently, what I need to do for my customization of the USB to work on the other USB sticks, is to copy a custom file from the original, modified USB, to the other USBs. USB USB USB. I have no clue if that was clear at all. Anyway, what this means, is that I can start making USB sticks right now even though I’m not even halfway done customizing the original USB, which is nice since there’s 16 of them to make. What I then need to do, in theory at least, is to copy the customized storage file from the original USB, to all of the other USBs.
2. Fix both startup and shutdown scripts. These will have a number of key functions, which I’ll explain more in depth below.
3. Figure out how I want to load/start the different sessions I prepare. I want to have the sessions loadable via desktop shortcuts, but beyond that, I haven’t really put enough thought into this yet.

I will explain a bit more about what I’m doing today below.

## Startup and shutdown scripts

Like mentioned above, I’m making two scripts for the live USB’s: a startup script, and a shutdown script. These scripts will prepare the boot by for example loading NSM, loading a Default session, and setting a few options, and also resetting a few options on shutdown.

### Startup script

The startup script will set up the live USB for usage right away. I’m not posting the full script yet, since it’s on the live USB currently, but I will post the script in full when I’m done with it. What it currently does is:

1. Starts the NSM Daemon with a static OSC port (15000), and sets the NSM_URL environment variable to the URL with that port. What this means and does, is make sure NSM is started at a specific port (and therefore can be called via OSC commands). It also makes any software that has NSM capabilities add itself to the current session – something that makes things a lot easier, and removes a lot of the potentially daunting configuration of sessions by adding commands, and things like that.
2. Loads a Default session. This session contains the bare essentials for just getting going with applications, like jackpatch (to automatically save + restore JACK connections), jack-keyboard (to have the keyboard displayed right away, ready to be connected to whatever), Catia (to manage connections. Mostly to show that something like that exists and should be used), and current cadence-jackmeter (to have easy access to meters for the full session). The script does this by sending an OSC command to NSM.
3. Sets the CPU Governors to Performance. Basically, most laptops have governors that control the CPU speed. These are in place to help with powersaving and similar, but usually messes up realtime performance, and give a lot of unecessary XRuns. The startup script automatically sets these to Performance, so they won’t interfere with realtime performance.

And that is basically what I’ve currently figured out that I need for startup, at least so far.

### Shutdown script

The point of this script is to reset whatever options need resetting, so that using the live USB is as easy as possible with a new computer. Currently, this doesn’t contain much, but it’s nice to have in place for other things that eventually might need resetting. Currently, it contains:

1. A command to set the JACK device to hw:0. This is because the JACK device got set to my full device name on first boot of the USB. This command ensures that whatever configuration is made, the JACK device used will be reset to hw:0 on shutdown. This might not be optimal if people want to use another device, and they’re the only one’s using the USB. But I guess I can add a note somewhere about that.

Short and sweet, at least currently! I’m pondering whether I should try and find something that’ll allow me to reset the WLAN configuration too. Currently it’s set on my home network. This might not matter though, only for cosmetic reasons (not having my network in the saved files).

Another old screenshot, this time of both Catia and Carla. Both applications made by falkTX, and both applications I plan to use.

### Other modifications made so far

I’ve also made a few other modifications to the live USB so far:

• Set the keyboard layout to Swedish. Most of the participants will have Swedish keyboards I’m guessing. For those who don’t, it’s pretty easy to configure. I might use the available shortcut function for that too, and add a few different layouts to the shortcut menu.
• Set the JACK buffer size to 256. This is a good starting point at least, and will give an OK latency for playing with your keyboard.

## Next up

Next up is making sessions, and testing how I can make shortcuts for the different sessions on the desktop. This should be fairly straight forward, but it might be a bit tricky. Next post will probably be today or tomorrow, going to continue with this during the day! Until then, take care.

The post Libre Jam: Audio workshop for kids – Getting to work (Part 3) appeared first on zthmusic.

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] Guitarix 0.28.3 released

From: hermann meyer <brummer-@...>
Subject: [LAA] Guitarix 0.28.3 released
Date: Nov 4, 1:04 am 2013

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
--------------020404060601000801040901
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

The Guitarix developers proudly present

Guitarix release 0.28.3 "MOD'ification"

This release is dedicated to the MOD developers
https://github.com/portalmod
which have join us and pushed there MODifications to our master branch.
The guitarix LV2 plugs will now run painless in the mod-host with the
remote mod-ui.

Additional guitarix include a couple of new plugs
* MultiBandDistortion (main + LV2)
* MultiBandEcho (main + LV2)
* MultiBandDelay (main + LV2)
* MultiBandChorus (main)
* MultiBandCompressor ( + LV2)
* Fuzz 4*oversampled (LV2)
* LiveLooper (main)

to cover the latest changes there is also a new release of the
guitarix-webui (remote control)
http://sourceforge.net/projects/guitarix/files/guitarix/

For the uninitiated, Guitarix is a tube amplifier simulation for
jack, with effect modules and an additional stereo effect chain.

http://guitarix.sourceforge.net/

http://sourceforge.net/projects/guitarix/

Forum:
http://guitarix.sourceforge.net/forum/

Please consider visiting our forum or leaving a message on
guitarix-developer@lists.sourceforge.net

--------------020404060601000801040901
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

The Guitarix developers proudly present

Guitarix release 0.28.3 "MOD'ification"

This release is dedicated to the MOD developers

https://github.com/portalmod

branch.

The guitarix LV2 plugs will now run painless in the mod-host with
the remote mod-ui.

Additional guitarix include a couple of new plugs

* MultiBandDistortion (main + LV2)

* MultiBandEcho (main + LV2)

* MultiBandDelay (main + LV2)

* MultiBandChorus (main)

* MultiBandCompressor ( + LV2)

* Fuzz 4*oversampled (LV2)

* LiveLooper (main)

to cover the latest changes there is also a new release of the
guitarix-webui (remote control)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/guitarix/files/guitarix/

For the uninitiated, Guitarix is a tube amplifier simulation
for

jack, with effect modules and an additional stereo effect
chain.

## November 02, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] Rivendell v2.5.4

From: Fred Gleason <fredg@...>
Subject: [LAA] Rivendell v2.5.4
Date: Nov 2, 3:36 pm 2013

On behalf of the entire Rivendell development team, I'm pleased to announce the availability of Rivendell v2.5.4. Rivendell is a full-featured radio automation system targeted for use in professional broadcast environments. It is available under the GNU General Public License.

>From the NEWS file:
*** snip snip ***
If upgrading from a v1.x version of Rivendell, be sure to read the
'UPGRADING' file before proceeding for important information.

Changes:
RLM API Extension. A RLMResolveNowNextEncoded() function has been
added to the RLM API to provide efficient support for generating XML
and URL encoded data in plug-ins.

Voice Tracker Fixes. Corrected a bug in the voice tracker that caused
peak data errors when employing MPEG encoding on voice tracks.

Multiple bug fixes. See the ChangeLog for details.

Database Update:
This version of Rivendell uses database schema version 220, and will
automatically upgrade any earlier versions. To see the current schema

As always, be sure to run RDAdmin immediately after upgrading to allow
any necessary changes to the database schema to be applied.
*** snip snip ***

http://www.rivendellaudio.org/

Cheers!

|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Frederick F. Gleason, Jr. | Chief Developer |
| | Paravel Systems |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Commitment, n: |
| Commitment can be illustrated by a breakfast of ham and eggs. |
| The chicken was involved, the pig was committed. |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
Linux-audio-announce@lists.linuxaudio.org
http://lists.linuxaudio.org/listinfo/linux-audio-announce

From: Kjetil Matheussen <k.s.matheussen@...>
Date: Nov 2, 3:36 pm 2013

Radium is a music editor with a new and better interface.
It's inspired by trackers, but has fewer limitations and uses graphics
to show musical data. Radium has been developed since 1999
and has a ton of features.

Most important changes 1.9.31 -> 1.9.33:
===============================
* Pitch glide between notes. Implemented for the Pd instrument, the
sampler instrument and all the Physical modelling instruments.
* Edit pitches with mouse
* Automatically make current track wider
* Show Resize cursor when its possible to resize track
* mouse: ctrl: slows down, lshift: limit horizontal, lextra: limit vertial
* sampler instrument: Fix saving loop on off button state
* Made MENU button open block configuration (left meta is often unavailable)
* Made VOLUME/PLAY/STOP/MUTE keys configurable in keybindings.conf
* Fixed memory corruption in blocklist when name of block was longer than 20 (!)
* Use standard paths for LADSPA plugins if LADSPA_PATH is not set
* Give message if a plugin generates abnormal signals, plus zero the signal.
cut/copy/paste data (to cut/copy/paste between different pd
instances))
* Note play indicator visual improvement (blinking circle)
* Enable volume up/volume down/mute/play keyboard buttons
* Button for setting random effect values.
_______________________________________________
Linux-audio-announce mailing list
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#### [LAA] The Friday Interview #5: Louigi Verona

From: Gabbe Nord <gabbe.nord@...>
Subject: [LAA] The Friday Interview #5: Louigi Verona
Date: Nov 2, 3:36 pm 2013

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The fifth edition of the Friday Interview is now out. Today, I talk to
Louigi Verona, an electronic musician using Linux:

http://www.zthmusic.com/louigi-verona/

Cheers!

--089e010d96c43e960304ea1957a8
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The fifth edition of the Friday Interview is now out. Today, I talk to Louigi Verona, an electronic musician using Linux:

http://www.zthmusic.com/louigi-verona/

Cheers!

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### Audio, Linux and the combination

#### i'm back, with some great news !

Hi all !

I's been a while, i know, but i have some really, really good excuses for that :-)

in order of importance :

On October 11th our daughter Mare was born !
Mom and daughter are doing great and her 2 brothers treat her like a princess :-)

Secondly i have been studying really hard to get my CCNA certification, and on September 30th i finally got it !
It was a lot harder than i expected and it took a lot of time, but i'm really glad i did it.

Oh, and in between we also managed to 'upgrade' our house (+1 bedroom)
How's that for an excuse ?

Now i'm back on the linux/audio track and making some great progress with arps, synths and controllers.
More on that soon !

Grtz
Thijs

### Linux Audio Users & Musicians Video Blog

#### Magnetophone Session – Munk

Jazz Ska Funk recorded and mixed with Linux from Dutch music group Munk.

## November 01, 2013

### linux.autostatic.com » linux.autostatic.com

#### Jack2 on Android

This mail just popped up on jack-devel:

Hello, I have news of JACK2 in android world!

Recently, Samsung released professional audio sdk on android platform which based on JACK2. It is a part of latest Samsung Mobile SDK: http://developer.samsung.com/samsung-mobile-sdk#professional-audio

Additionally, SAMSUNG DEVELOPER CONFERENCE(October 28-29, 2013) will be held in San Francisco that one of sessions prepared to introduced professional audio on Samsung's android mobile products: http://www.samsungdevcon.com/
Session : "Leveraging the Latest Features in Professional Audio Framework in Your App"

Thanks,
KimJeongYeon

Message says it all I guess. Apparently Samsung has developed a way to do pro audio on Android based on JACK Audio Connection Kit! Can't wait to get my hands on this, stoked.

### zthmusic

#### Friday Interview #5: Louigi Verona

Hello and welcome to the Friday Inteview-series. Here, I interview an interesting and inspiring member of the Linux audio community each week, trying to shed some light on the many great members of the community. Join me every Friday, and get to know the people in the community!

Hi, and welcome to the fifth edition of the Friday Interview! This week, we’re joined by a well known musician in the Linux audio community. I’m very glad to introduce the fifth participant of new series, interviewee #5: Louigi Verona! Lets get started!

## Introducing Louigi Verona

Louigi Verona, is a CTO of a startup company, born and living in Russia.

His primary interest in Linux audio is live performances and ambient music. He also likes the raw, experimental feel the “weirdness” of Linux Audio sometimes can give.

When he’s not in the wonderful world of Linux audio, he works with his organization Skeptic Society in Russia, that promotes science and critical thinking.

Louigi Verona himself!

Hi Louigi! Thanks a lot for doing this interview! What’s your real name and where do you live? Tell us a bit about yourself!

Well, Louigi IS my real name, but it is not my birth-given name, if you know what I mean My birth-given name is Kirill Alferov.

Currently I live in Moscow. The word “currently” is very important for me as I am keen on changing cities and countries. So far this is working out perfectly, I lived in NYC for quite some time as a kid and I moved to Moscow from the town I was born in, Rostov-on-Don, 8 years ago. I am now looking for opportunities to expand my life experience and get a chance to live somewhere else.

If you want to understand who I am, then it is all about what I do. To me it is vital to be doing personal creative projects. I am one of those people who gets depressed if stuck with an activity that he does not enjoy. I am a hobbyist by profession.

What’s your musical background? What music are you into, and do you play any instruments?

I began to really be keen on music when I discovered electronic music. Over the years I came to realize that this is the only kind of music I really care about. I do understand and can occasionally enjoy non-electronic music, but this is not where my passion lies.

I completely broke off my ties to “pop music” or “music that is generally being played on the radio” when I discovered the demoscene and the subset of it called “tracking scene”. Artists like Elwood, Purple Motion, Vibrants and many others have shown me that music is way, way more interesting than endless songs about love with a standard verse chorus scheme. I have nothing against people who love pop music, but this is just not my thing. I am not able to connect with it. The only pop act that I really enjoy are Pet Shop Boys. A truly magical band, who are always delivering much more than just music.

I do play a recorder, tin whistles and an Irish low whistle a little bit. I also play percussion and keyboards. My skills are very basic, but they serve my needs.

What’s your history with Linux, and with using Linux for audio?

I decided to use GNU/Linux by being convinced by Richard Stallman’s writing. I became an FSF member and installed Ubuntu. I did try “completely free OS”, but eventally could not use it.

Having just met Richard Stallman in person at Web Summit in 2013, I have to tell you it brought back some memories. He is a great guy, a beautiful, honest person that I deeply respect.

Still, I do not follow all of his ideals. My socio-political position can be put very simply: I am against the initiation of physical force. The phrase makes it obvious where I stand, although it does not immediately demonstrate what actual implications of this philosophy are. Free software movement does not fully comply with that philosophy.

Nevertheless, my interest in Linux Audio always had a non-ideological part which is why I continue using it. It is great for ambient and the platform inspires me on many levels. I also enjoy using Linux Audio for live performances. While it is possible I will work with proprietary solutions in the future, it is highly unlikely I will ever stop using Linux Audio.

A screenshot of Louigi Verona doing some work.

## The “Another Reality” LP

You released a LP called “Another Reality” earlier this year. Great LP! For those who haven’t heard it, can you tell us a bit about that LP? And, how has it been received?

This was an ambitious project, the goal of which was to produce the most sophisticated electronic album using standard Linux Audio software (as opposed to Pd and stuff) and also become famous. While there is still no article about Louigi Verona on Wikipedia, I do believe I’ve beautifully delivered on my first goal. At least, I personally know of no album that is so well produced, using a typical modular Linux Audio setup. By production here I do not mean musical quality which is quite subjective, but you know – the complexity of the thing. I also wanted to show off Nekobee, a TB303 emulator, which is a great plugin.

LP was received very warmly and I actually made a little bit of money on it from Bandcamp, as a number of people bought it. I am very thankful for that, it’s a really great feeling.

The cover of the Another Reality LP by Louigi Verona. Check it out at Louigi’s website.

Could you talk a bit about making “Another Reality”? How it came about, how long it took, and what software you used?

It took a little over a year, but each track individually took about 3-4 days. It was certainly not easy, as I had to manually synchronize things often and sometimes plan ahead. Remember – this is not an all-in-one app, one mistake and you have to re-record things again. And I did have to re-do some parts several times.

Most tracks except for one (can you tell which?) where done over a Nekobee solo. So what I would do was write a Nekobee sequence, play it out using a midi controller and record it. Then I would build the rest around it.

Software I used was Qtractor, Patchage, Petri-Foo, harmonySEQ, seq24, Rakarrack, CALF plugins, Nekobee DSSI, ZynAddSubFX, WhySynth. Some one-shot samples I specifically created in FL Studio though, as early on I had difficulties synthesizing sounds I wanted. But that’s where “produced entirely with Linux Audio” becomes gray area anyway. Many sample libraries are created with all kinds of software, so I might have used something initially synthesized on Mac or even a hardware synthesizer

## Dronings

You’re also actively making dronings and posting online. Could you tell us a bit about how this project came to life, how you make the dronings, and what dronings actually are?

“droning” project is a whole era for me. It is a very personal life-long project. It is something that captures slower emotions as opposed to faster emotions, that melodic music is all about. Shades of emotions – this is what dronings are capable of capturing.

I have no idea whether “droning” is an art project. It is just a project. A listener is free to see dronings as he sees fit. I am not labeling them “art”. In fact, I am not labeling them at all. I call them recordings which is not saying much.

“droning” is something that I do for myself. That means I do not care if someone likes it or not and I was quite surprised people do. Don’t get me wrong – I am happy people like them, very much! But if there was a device that would tell me with certainty that nobody will like it in the future or that it will never have more than 5 listeners or even 0 – I would still produce it.

I usually make “dronings” in real time, using Qtractor or Ardour as a recorder. I set things up and let them run. A number of dronings I do follow – for example, several pieces have me playing din. And if the tune lasts 45 minutes – that means I actually played it for 45 minutes. All dronings follow one simple compositional rule – they have to be periodic – meaning, they should not have break downs. If you hear one – than it is periodic. So each droning piece, if you “zoom out” enough is homogeneous.

The routing displayed in a setup by Louigi Verona.

Interesting that you play the dronings live. Could explain the workflow a little bit more? Like, what plugins and synths do you usually use (except Din, which you already mentioned)?

It works a lot like Brian Eno’s metaphor about a gardener. I plant a seed, so to speak. I have written a number of PureData tools to help me, I also use kluppe, the best looper for my needs, and then I can use anything else, from seq24 and Hydrogen to zyn and whatever. So very often I would record something into kluppe and set it playing, then I would either record a second loop or duplicate the first one and make sure they are of different lengths, for example. That would make them shift. I love loop shifting. Then I might add something else. And at some point a droning piece is complete. It is being generated on the fly, all the LFOs, loops, sequences are setup and now I just hit “record” and walk away.

This is not always the case, but this is what I would do often.

Do you have any personal favorites you want to share for interested readers?

This is a very multi-layered thing since “droning” is a complex project. A simple answer is that I easily get into the mood of 007, 010, 066, 142, 156, 202, 231 (find all of the dronings here). However, it is amazing how one day you just pick any tune to accompany your thoughts and it suddenly clicks. So this is the magic of the project for me, that it lets me explore all sorts of forms and atmospheres. Some days are such that they are best depicted by a particular droning. And so each tune has another value to it – that it might depict very accurately a state of mind you are in sometimes.

## The future

What are you currently up to musically? Any future plans?

2013 has been very hectic. I’ve been out of a job and I am not able to be creative during hectic times. So “droning” project kind of slowed down this year, although it is not stopping and I’ve produced about 35 pieces this year.

I am also doing some 2d games and that has also slowed down my music. And Skeptic Society in Russia is also taking a lot of my time. And, of course, now my position as CTO. So I do not have any immediate plans.
Do you have any musical project you’d really like to do, but that you haven’t had a chance to do yet due to various reasons?

Djing. I do have a dj album that I’ve made by mixing my own material and I even have a couple of tunes done using Giada – a Linux Audio tool. Djing is cool as it is much more popular than ambient and I can play gigs more often. What stops me is that I don’t want to use Windows now and do dual-boots and stuff, so waiting while Giada matures, and also because I am afraid I will dive into it and it will eat up a couple of years of my life. I should do that some time, but not today!

## Final questions

Do you feel like anything is lacking in Linux audio today, and if so, what?

Apart from ambient I have done and still want to do complex electronic music. That means having many plugins and samples interact and having to go back and change things. I really need a good all-in-one sequencer. Session management, in my view, is not a practical, efficient solution, unfortunately. LMMS is almost good enough but it does not support LV2 and DSSI which makes it hard to use any cool sounds and effects. Imagine electronic music without any effects! It also is not very good with JACK and that is like Windows without ASIO.

What’s your favorite free and open source plugin currently?

I cannot name one, I am afraid. Currently I use Carla a lot and the many plugins it provides.

Where the magic happens! Nice cushions.

Where can people find you, and your music? Do you have a Google+ page, Facebook page, or similar too?

Most of my work is presented on my website www.louigiverona.ru. I have structured it so that in encompasses almost all of my activity. My local activity – skeptic activism – is left out.

I am present at Diaspora, but I do not use it much. I also tried creating a Facebook page dedicated to “droning” project, but I am not doing much with it either.

Finally, anything else you’d like to add to the interview?

I would like to say huge thanks to you for the interview, it is nice to put some of what one does into words. I also would like to say huge thanks to everyone who is interested in what I do. And specifically to all of the Linux Audio community – it is a warm feeling, being part of an international, very intelligent and talented group of people who think alike on many-many things and who are proud to be geeks, hackers and freedom activists!

Okay, thanks a lot again for partaking Louigi!

That was Louigi Verona, an electronic musician. Thanks to Louigi for participating, and thank you for reading! Check in next week for another interesting guest!

The post Friday Interview #5: Louigi Verona appeared first on zthmusic.

## October 31, 2013

### Create Digital Music » Linux

#### Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony.

Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi

. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster.

This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together this setup for about US$100. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it does indicate what the Pi (and embedded computing, generally) can accomplish – and it boots in ten seconds, flat. Exploring the outer reaches of music harmony, one grid square at a time. Photo courtesy Marc Resibois. Another video (Casio!): Marc offers some more thoughts: It uses the old mda piano model which is open source and the scale selection is based on what the lauchpad95 script was doing. makes me wonder how long before we can have a launchpad with the scaling in the firmware and a midi out it’d be such a great thing to carry around or alternatively a casio version that plays ‘wake me up before you go go’ as demo i live the push scale system but I wanted to take it out of the live environment; sitting at a desk; waiting for everything to boot up Actually, what’s funny about this is it means you could have an on-the-go practice system mapped the same way as Push, and leave Push in the studio. An iPad could do the same job, but without tactile feedback, it wouldn’t really work for practicing – Launchpad comes close enough. And this is one of many, many of the frontiers opened up by inexpensive embedded computing. For anyone wondering about the relevance of Linux to musicians, I think the fact that the entire computing system, with software, costs about the same as a cable for the iPhone speaks volumes. More on the US$25 Launchpad Pi:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/

By the way, that book he’s reading looks fascinating –
Harmony for Computer Musicians

The work of Dr. Michael Hewitt, it is essentially a theory for beginners book, with this unique conceit:

Rather than using a conventional score format, most of the materials are presented in the familiar piano roll format of computer music sequencing programs.

Follow Marc’s adventures (including building a MIDI-enabled monotron-derived synth) at his blog:
http://www.marc-nostromo.com/

What are you doing with grids? With Pi?

And how are you learning and practicing theory and performance?

Let us know.

## October 29, 2013

### Scores of Beauty

#### Oskar Fried: Complete Songs

Time to break the silence.

If you follow this blog you will have noticed that there has been quite some time since the publication of the previous post. Well, both Janek and I have been quite busy with other things and haven’t received any casual contributions by others in the meantime. Janek has for example been working hard to improve the handling of slurs in LilyPond, and I have dived into understanding Frescobaldi’s code in order to contribute more to it in the future.

But there is also another project that kept us busy lately, and we will now present it in a little series of three posts: A critical edition of the songs of Oskar Fried.

(click on the player button to the left to listen to the example).

Oskar Fried: “Heiterkeit, güldene, komm!” op. 7,1 (click for full page PDF excerpt)

Oskar Fried belongs to the “Great conductors of the 20th century” and can be found as such on numerous CD compilations. Among his achievements are many premiere performances, for example the first Schoenberg performance outside of Vienna (Pelléas and Mélisande in Berlin), or the first recording of a complete Symphony of Gustav Mahler. But he was also a gifted composer, which is far less known. Deutschlandradio Kultur and the record label Capriccio started a “campaign” by releasing a CD with orchestral music, and in that context they asked me if I wanted to produce a recording of Fried’s songs, as a follow-up to the 4 disc edition of Schoenberg’s songs I was preparing at that time.

Of course I was interested and started working on what seemed to be a clean and easy project, simply learning and rehearsing the music and doing a recording, without all the logistical and intellectual overhead of the Schoenberg production. But at one point it became necessary to get transpositions of some of the songs. It was quite urgent and therefore I couldn’t do this myself and we commissioned the task to a few members of lilypond-user. This actually was the occasion of my acquaintance with Janek.

Realizing it was so much more comfortable to play from nicely printed LilyPond scores than from the xerox copies of greyed-out 100 year old editions, and having already a considerable share of the songs already entered as LilyPond files the idea of preparing a new edition slowly emerged. I quickly convinced Alexander Gurdon, a musicologist who is working on his doctoral thesis on Fried and who was our inofficial advisor on the subject, to participate. Janek’s interest was raised just as fast, and off we went to an adventure we didn’t expect to be so big.

We intended to enter the music of the remaining songs, correct a few errors of the original editions, beautify LilyPond’s output and release the results, but as it turned out it become much more. I’d never expected that you’d have to do so much scholarly editing on pieces that only exist as printed original editions – no comparison of different sources at all, but still loads of issues to correct or decide. And the scores proved to push LilyPond and Janek to their limits, but in the end they produced overwhelming results. Janek will talk about this in more detail in the second post of this series.

But this project was even more of an adventure for me in another respect. From the beginning I was aware that LilyPond’s text input allowed us to edit the scores collaboratively, which would be much more difficult using closed file formats and graphical tools.

Initially we had been using a shared Dropbox folder for the LilyPond sources and compiled pdfs, but it soon became inconvenient to manage the files. For example I didn’t have an online connection in my working-room and worked on a copy from a USB device these days. So each time I returned home I had to check if Janek by chance had edited the same file(s) on that day. This post on lilypond-user expressed my uneasiness, and the following discussion triggered my journey into the world of source code versioning!

In the meantime I have written a lot about text based work and version control, and all this originated in this project. In the same context I started using LaTeX for compiling the volume, developed lilyglyphs for our critical report, and by now I really can’t imagine how I could ever have worked differently. But we’ll go into more detail on the subject of collaboration in the last part of this series.

(Click on the player button to the left to listen to the example).

Oskar Fried: Die Sonne singt op. 5,1 (click to view full page PDF example)

As I’ve said, we’re approaching the release date and are determined to ship the first copies before the end of the year (and perhaps before Christmas ). Of course this edition will be available for sale, and if you’re interested in supporting this project (which is enriching, but only in the spiritual sense) you can pre-order for subscription until Dec 1st. The subscription prices will be € 25.- for the softcover and € 40.- for the hardcover edition (as compared to the official retail prices of € 34,95 / € 50.-).

The volume contains 23 songs and three duets (comprising 94 pages of music scores or 70 minutes of music), biographical notes, nice pictures, and a meticulous critical report. It will be printed on a beautiful creamy-yellow Munken Pure paper and processed with robust thread-stitching.

Update: you can see all posts related to this edition here.

### zthmusic

#### JACK Timemachine: Record what you did 10 seconds ago

Ever messed around with a synth, your guitar and similar, come up with an awesome sound, only to realize you weren’t recording? Well, it has happened to me, and it has apparently happened to Steve Harris, the author of a cool little application called JACK Timemachine (website here).

## JACK Timemachine

JACK Timemachine is an application that keeps track of what happened in the last 10 seconds. Sounds basic? Well, it’s genius! This means that if you make Timemachine a regular part of your workflow, you’ll never have to miss one of those awesome, but sadly unrecorded, sounds again.

JACK Timemachine in action. That’s an UI I like – one, big ass button, and a meter. I cannot possibly screw anything up!

For me, who play a lot of piano through but don’t necessarily know what I’m doing, this has some major benefits. I frequently sit down and play, and eventually play something I thought sounded good (by complete accident, of course..), but I just can’t recreate it. Well, with JACK Timemachine, never again!

Here follows an illustration of how Timemachine works. Just in case you think I’m lousy at explaining, you can look at my lousy illustration instead.

## Installing and using JACK Timemachine

Installing and using JACK Timemachine is very simple. But for illustrative purposes, I’ll make a list:

1. To install JACK Timemachine, either look for it through your distribution, or download and install it using the instructions on the website linked at the start of this post. If you have KXStudio (or possibly other Ubuntu based distributions), just do sudo apt-get install timemachine and everything is taken care of!
2. Once installed, just start it by looking it up in some slow menu, or start it with the command timemachine.
3. When started, connect the output of anything you want to be able to record, to the inputs of JACK Timemachine.
4. Now we’re all set! When you hear something cool you want to record, just press the big green button on Timemachine, and it’ll record starting from what happened the last 10 seconds.

Timemachine routed to record both my sound cards inputs, and the ALSA bridge. More about the ALSA bridge below.

## Fun uses of JACK Timemachine

As a final little thing, I’ll just go through some additional options for JACK Timemachine, and also, what I usually use it for. I’ve already explained one use above, where I use it to catch whatever brief stroke of genius I accidentally produce when messing around. Another thing it can be used for though, is catching inspirational sounds from things like internet radio. This is probably in the grey area of what’s legal and not, so lets just say this is something that’s hypothetically a useful idea, without me necessarily having tested this in any way .

### Nice options for JACK Timemachine

If you do timemachine -h in a terminal, you’ll get a list of available options you can use when starting timemachine. I’ll go through the ones I find most relevant for my use here. I recommend you trying that command and looking through the options for other nice stuff yourself though!

• Specify the number of inputs Timemachine should have with -c. For example, by doing timemachine -c 4 Timemachine will give you 4 input channels, instead of the default of 2. Useful if you want to record multichannel sources. Rumors also have it that a guy I’ve interviewed used Timemachine to bounce his tracks under a brief period when Ardour‘s export function was broken. Note: Using jack_capture is a better solution to bouncing. Timemachine was used for historical reasons in the incident described.
• Set the length of how far back Timemachine records with -t. By doing timemachine -t 30 you could have Timemachine record the last 30 seconds, instead of the last 10 seconds.
• Do automatic recording when the sound input in Timemachine reaches above a certain threshold. This one I’ll leave to you to figure out yourself . But this has some really interesting applications. For example, record your own talking in the sleep at night, and fun things like that!

Like said above, you should really check out the available commands yourself. There’s some nice stuff in the options.

### Recording random stuff with Timemachine

When I’m doing work in general, I’m always listening to internet radio. It keeps my brainwaves synced to awesome beats (NOTE: NOT SCIENTIFIC), and it’s generally great. Now, sometimes, the radio spits out something that’s above average, and really great. It could be a great transition, a great drop, a great break, or something along those lines. But I missed it, and the radio doesn’t always say which song was playing. Timemachine to the rescue!

Just connect the outputs of where the internet radio sound goes, to Timemachine. As you can see in the picture above, I’ve connected what’s called an ALSA Bridge to Timemachine. An ALSA Bridge is something that allows you to route the sound of applications interacting with ALSA instead of JACK, into other JACK applications. I’m not going to go into specifics, but think of it as something that allows you to use anything that’s talking to ALSA but not JACK, with JACK.

In this case, the bridge lets me record the sounds my browser makes (which talks to ALSA, and not JACK directly), which then ultimately is the internet radio.

So, whenever I listen to internet radio, I (hypothetically!!!) make sure to connect the sound from the radio to Timemachine. This allows me to record and save those great sound for further listening, even though I’m not actually in time for recording them.

## Final notes

And, well… that was it! If you have any questions, or other cool uses of JACK Timemachine, please do let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

The post JACK Timemachine: Record what you did 10 seconds ago appeared first on zthmusic.

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] Out Now: The Magnetophon Sessions, by Munk!

From: rosea.grammostola <rosea.grammostola@...>
Subject: [LAA] Out Now: The Magnetophon Sessions, by Munk!
Date: Oct 29, 3:56 am 2013

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
--------------040300070803090203050601
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

**Munk!, a jazz/ska/funk band from Groningen, The Netherlands, has
released an album made with free software, The Magnetophon Sessions.

During the hot part of summer 2013, Munk! stayed at the cultural
freezone Landbouwbelang in Maastricht (The Netherlands) for a week and
recorded seven new tracks in the unique and inspiring studio
Magnetophon. During the recordings we played with the whole band at
once, to get the most musical results. All tracks are
one-take-recordings, no edits where made when mixing the album.

The Magnetophon Sessions is produced with opensource and free software
on GNU/Linux.
Most notably: Ardour2 for recording and mixing, LADSPA plugins for
mixing, Gimp for graphics, Lives for video art.

Recorded & mixed by Bart Brouns at Studio Magnetophon Maastricht
www.magnetophon.nl

Video clip Off The Chart:
http://www.munk050.com/

The Magnetophon Sessions, music & artwork:
http://www.munk050.com/music/

-- 10 euro, but there's no minimum or maximum, so feel free, thanks for

Munk!

--------------040300070803090203050601
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Munk!, a jazz/ska/funk band from Groningen, The
Netherlands, has released an album made with free software, The
Magnetophon Sessions.

During the hot part of summer 2013, Munk! stayed at the cultural
freezone Landbouwbelang in Maastricht (The Netherlands) for a week
and recorded seven new tracks in the unique and inspiring studio
Magnetophon. During the recordings we played with the whole band
at once, to get the most musical results. All tracks are
one-take-recordings, no edits where made when mixing the album.

The Magnetophon Sessions is produced with opensource and free
software on GNU/Linux.

Most notably: Ardour2 for recording and mixing, LADSPA plugins for
mixing, Gimp for graphics, Lives for video art.

Recorded & mixed by Bart Brouns at Studio Magnetophon
Maastricht
onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://www.magnetophon.nl']);"
target="_blank">www.magnetophon.nl

Video clip Off The Chart:

http://www.munk050.com/

The Magnetophon Sessions, music & artwork:

http://www.munk050.com/music/

range of 5 – 10 euro, but there’s no minimum or maximum, so feel

Munk!

--------------040300070803090203050601--

#### [LAA] Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 RC1 released!

From: Marcos G. <marcos@...>
Subject: [LAA] Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 RC1 released!
Date: Oct 29, 3:56 am 2013

The development team of Musix GNU+Linux is proud to present version 3.0 Release Candidate 1 after
11 months of work since the last version 3.0 Beta, and after 4 years since the last stable
version 2.0. RC1 was released to get reports from users but it’s almost a final release. We
updated more than 300 programs from Debian Wheezy, re-installed kde-full, Rakarrack, Jamin,
Blender and various other programs for artistic creation. MusixControl works only in terminal,
but that will be resolved soon. Icewm desktop, KDE and Lxde are tailored to activities (office,
audio, MIDI, graphics, etc.) The Kernel 3.4.14-gnu-RT23 is 100% free as well as all software in
Musix and operates in real time for audio and music apps.

Special mention to the developers Ariel Errera , Carlos Sanchiavedraz , Gilberto Borges , Daniel
Vidal , Javier Llorente , Pablo Sastre , Pablo Lozano , Jose Vazquez Viader , Suso Comesaña ,
Mariano Ibaldi , Claudio Caldas , Martin Carr and Jacobo Najera (sorry if forget someone) to have
accompanied the project during this 2013 even with wide swings and the low availability of free
time.

Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 is based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.2 “Wheezy”
(http://www.debian.org/News/2013/20130504)

--
Marcos Guglielmetti

:::::::::::::::::: M U S I X :::::::::::::::::::::

((*J*))﻿
www.musixdistro.wordpress.com
www.lunar.org.ar
www.ovejafm.com
Para encontrarte con activistas del movimiento social del software libre:
http://listas.softwarelibre.org.ar/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/movimiento

"The beginning of the mistake is from growing meat for the king and wine for the church."
http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC14/Fukuoka.htm

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## October 27, 2013

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] New 'Zam' suite of audio plugins released

From: Damien Zammit <damien@...>
Subject: [LAA] New 'Zam' suite of audio plugins released
Date: Oct 27, 8:18 am 2013

Hi folks,

I have been developing a suite of audio plugins using LV2 and LADSPA
open formats.

I am happy to announce that they are in working order and released on

http://github.com/zamaudio

The suite so far consists of:

ZamAutoSat - Automatic saturation plugin
ZamComp - Mono Compressor plugin*
ZamCompX2 - Stereo Compressor plugin*
ZamCompExp - Stereo Compressor/Expander plugin
ZamEQ2 - 2x parametric EQ (with high/lowshelf and HP/LP) plugin
ZamValve - Valve distortion (WDF physical model* or tanh*) plugin

NB * In the same git repo under a different branch

The purpose of these plugins is to provide high quality DSP without
using an excessive amount of CPU, in an attempt to complement some of
the amazing work done on other free audio software projects by other
people. There is an exception: ZamValve has two different models one of
which uses very large proportion of CPU but has been commented that it
does sound much more realistic than the tanh model. The CPU hungry
version is in a separate git branch and is not selected by default but
can be compiled by switching to the zamvalve branch.

There currently is no documentation on how to use these plugins, but
anyone who is familiar with outboard gear should be able to work it out.
Plus the default settings and almost every slider is calibrated to
standard ranges.

Thanks to naptastic on #lad for the auto saturation algorithm.
Also, thanks to others in #lad for very useful input since I started
writing these plugins.

The rest of the algorithms were from DSP papers I have been reading from
my library subscription and I have mish-mashed a number of different
ones together to make these plugins function as expected.

Please send me feedback on my blog if you want to discuss these plugins:

http://www.zamaudio.com/?p=870

I would like to know how to improve them and appreciate all comments.

Thanks,

Damien Zammit
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## October 25, 2013

### linux.autostatic.com » linux.autostatic.com

#### Raspberry Jam Review

Last Thursday the first Dutch Raspberry Jam took place at the Ordina HQ in Nieuwegein. I offered to do a presentation slash demonstration about realtime audio and the the Raspberry Pi so I promised myself to be there at least an hour before the scheduled starting time of my demo. That way I could also join Gert van Loo's presentation. When I arrived at 19:15 there was no Gert van Loo though so that should've triggered some alarms. Also I didn't look out for members of the organization as soon as I came in. Instead I chose to dot the i's and cross the t's with regards to my demo.

Wrong decision.

About half an hour later the event was closed.

WTF?

I approached the person who closed the event and introduced myself. He replied that they thought I wasn't coming anymore. Apparently they misinterpreted my e-mail I sent earlier that day that I didn't manage to produce something workable for the laser show guy. They took it for a cancellation. But immediately the event got kind of reopened and I set up my stuff. We had some audio issues but in the end everything went quite well actually. I showed off what is possible with a Raspberry Pi and realtime audio with the use of some of my favorite software. Guitarix featured of course. I grabbed my guitar, fired up guitarix on the RPi and played some stuff. Hooked up my MIDI foot controller and showed how to select different presets. I also demonstrated the use of the RPi as a piano with the help of LinuxSampler and the awesome Salamander Grand Piano samplepack and did some drumming by using drumkv1. Before the realtime audio demo I presented an overview of the Linux audio ecosystem and talked about the alternatives of how to get sound in and out of your Raspberry Pi. These alternatives are not bound to the onboard sound and USB, since recently it is also possible to hook up an external audio codec to the I2S bus of the Raspberry Pi. I got one in myself this week, a MikroElektronika Audio Codec PROTO board based on the WM8731 codec, so more on that soon. It'd be awesome if I can get that codec to work reliably at lower latencies.

So it all turned out well, I had a great time doing my presentation and judging by the interest shown by some attendants who came up to me after the presentation I hope I got some more people enthusiastic about doing realtime audio with the Raspberry Pi and Linux. So thanks Ordina for offering this opportunity and thanks everyone who stuck around!

### Linux Audio Announcements - laa@linuxaudio.org

#### [LAA] The Friday Interview #4: Jonathan Liles

From: Gabbe Nord <gabbe.nord@...>
Subject: [LAA] The Friday Interview #4: Jonathan Liles
Date: Oct 25, 11:29 am 2013

--001a11331e1afe829204e98ded20
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Here's the 4th interview of The Friday Interview, this week starring
Jonathan Liles, the author of the modular DAW Non. He also recently
released an album that he effectively made with his own software.

Check it out!

http://www.zthmusic.com/male/

--001a11331e1afe829204e98ded20
Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1

Here's the 4th interview of The Friday Interview, this week starring Jonathan Liles, the author of the modular DAW Non. He also recently released an album that he effectively made with his own software.

Check it out!

http://www.zthmusic.com/male/

--001a11331e1afe829204e98ded20--

### zthmusic

#### Friday Interview #4: Jonathan Liles

Hello and welcome to the Friday Inteview-series. Here, I interview an interesting and inspiring member of the Linux audio community each week, trying to shed some light on the many great members of the community. Join me every Friday, and get to know the people in the community!

Hi, and welcome to the fourth edition of the Friday Interview! This week, we’re joined by the creator of the Non tools, a modular digital audio workstation. I’m very happy to introduce the fourth participant of this series, interviewee #4: Jonathan Liles! Lets get started!

## Introducing Jonathan Liles

Jonathan Liles, aka male, is a software architect from Memphis, TN, USA, currently living in Oregon, USA. He’s the author of the modular DAW called Non.

His primary interest in Linux audio is the production of music, usually by conventional recording techniques, as opposed to electronic music. He wants to push the envelope on flexibility and performance, which he thinks are often considered to be mutually exclusive.

When he’s not in the wonderful world of Linux audio, he likes to do different types of writing, photography, and also getting out in the wilderness of Oregon whenever he can.

Jonathan Liles, aka male, at his workstation. That’s a tiny screen right there!

Hi male! Thanks a lot for doing this interview! What’s your real name and where do you live?

Thanks for having me. My name is Jonathan Moore Liles and I live in Portland, OR, USA.

What’s your musical background like? What music do you like, and do you play any instruments?

## October 22, 2013

### ardour

#### Ardour 3.5.14 released

In order to fix a few notable issues with 3.5, we are releasing Ardour 3.5.14 today.

• Click/Metronome not connected in new sessions
• Impossible to record when using JACK Transport synchronization
• MIDI output errors
• the environment variable SUIL_MODULE_DIR is now overridden rather than appended to (it is not a search path). This fixes issues using the ardour.org bundles on Linux distributions like KXStudio which set SUIL_MODULE_DIR by default.
• The OS X beta/demo is now enabled for translation if desired. This feature has not been present in earlier 3.x builds for OS X.
There are no other functional changes. The OS X 64 bit 10.7 or later beta/demo has been updated.

### Create Digital Music » open-source

#### aleph Soundcomputer: Interview with monome creator Brian Crabtree and Ezra Buchla

aleph is something of a curiosity: it’s a dedicated box uniquely designed for sonic exploration that isn’t a conventional computer. It comes from the creator of the monome, but while dynamic mapping is part of the notion, it is the first monome creation capable of making sound on its own. The monome is a controller that uses a grid for whatever you want; aleph is a self-contained instrument that makes any sound you want.

But this isn’t only a story about some specialist, boutique device. It’s a chance to peer into the minds of two imaginative inventor/musicians, and see what they think the future might hold for their own musical creativity.

And so it’s a pleasure to talk to Brian Crabtree and Ezra Buchla. As brain-picking targets go, you could do worse. Synth pioneer Don Buchla is Ezra’s dad, of course – but it’s just as significant that Ezra has been a big figure in the experimental scene, including as a composer and doing turns in experimental bands The Mae Shi and Gowns. (See monome’s own, engaging interview with Ezra from May.) And then there’s Brian, whose vision has proven as prescient as anyone’s in recent years. What appeared as a boutique oddity in the monome has predicted a striking number of trends in hardware. It pushed openness, sustainability, community support, and more minimal, material-minded, un-branded physical design. And it has been followed by years in which the light-up grid it championed has become the single most dominant paradigm for controlling music on the computer. Not bad for an independent designer.

Of course, the monome had its fair share of criticism when it debuted. Heck, I even complained about its lack of velocity sensitivity at the time. But that’s another reason to look deeper here. Sure, aleph is pricey. Sure, it’s not as easy to run custom software as it would be on an embedded Linux device. Sure, there aren’t going to be a whole lot made. But as a digital musical instrument, there’s a chance for even a few alephs to make a big impact – and for the ideas behind it to spread beyond this project alone.

So, let’s hear some of Brian’s and Ezra’s ideas, on the even of the aleph launch.

We also get treated to a new video for more evidence of what this could become.

By the way, if you like interviews – there’s a terrific series of artist interviews focused as much on music as grids, on the monome site. Well worth saving to read, as you have now around a couple dozen articles:
http://monome.org/category/interview/

THOSE WHO MAKE

Video: aleph prototype life modulator echo cutter [shot and edited by Kelli Cain, with Brian Crabtree]

CDM: First, most generally, why a dedicated box? Operating systems can cause problems, yes – but it is possible these days to set up a Linux system, for instance, with low latencies and high reliability, especially if you aren’t using a GUI. So why go this route?

Brian: For myself there are several primary motivations. First and most important is having a machine that powers on almost immediately and is ready to do something interesting, more akin to an instrument than a fragile environment which fundamentally requires a lot of setup. It feels strange to be able to power on the aleph, plug in a grid, and immediately be running some sort of algorithmic sequencer driving a synth in complicated ways. This is, of course, all possible on a computer, but I find a lot of frustration in perfectly calibrating a long chain of software and hardware. While I prefer my tools to be unpredictable in what they might sound like, I prefer predictability when it comes to reliability. We don’t have to worry about operating systems– there is none. There doesn’t need to be an upgrade cycle which creates obsolescence. I like the idea of this platform still working in ten years.

Ezra has done almost all of the code, so for me also this presented an exceptional opportunity as a learning platform. We decided to extend this learning to anyone interested by making the frameworks open-source, facilitating a development process, and, very soon, creating tutorials. The aleph is looking to be a wonderful little ecosystem for DSP and control experiments.

Ezra: Performance was certainly a goal, and is facilitated by designing at the lowest level– programming directly to the chip. On the DSP side, we can do single-sample latency. We’ve been down the path of embedded Linux for audio. It seems not quite ready to support this kind of project on a scale that’s bigger than pure DIY and smaller than full-scale industrial manufacture. In a word, Linux adds too much overhead in systems complexity. For us to make effective use of it, we’d have to become kernel developers, which is not happening. Programming the chip directly is more efficient and, in a way, less work.

Ezra Buchla, at work. Photo courtesy the artist.

What was the musical application envisioned here? It seems there were some notions that were driven by your musical needs, and Ezra’s. Can you talk about the personal motivation, and how you think it might extend to the user base?

Brian: This is the most difficult question, of course – because I don’t want to narrowly define capabilities. It can be a drum machine or synth or echo-y texture processor, yet what I’m most excited about is having a system which gracefully facilitates experimentation. A box that I can modify severely or instead just turn on and play.

Ezra: My thoughts exactly. The possibilities of musical computing have filled many books and will never be exhausted.

But for a couple of specific examples: I’m looking forward to using complex and time-varying networks of filtering and buffer manipulation carried over from the laptop. (The things that computers are good at: granular delay, live-sample-chopping, additive synthesis, resonant networks.) It feels great to take a single rugged box to a theater or gallery and just plug the instrument into this kind of processing.

At the same time, I’m stoked on a new percussion synthesizer that I’d never even thought of making before, and the new musical territories it suggests. We’re lining up an insipring crew of developer-artists to participate in this experiment, and I’m looking forward to the diversions they discover.

Is there so far any particular connection to the monome community, in terms of interest from there?

Brian: There is substantial interest in the monome community in that I suspect many people share my same goals: being able to use controllers in interesting ways in a more immediate way, the same way that people enjoy using modular synths or just playing a real piano.

It seems many in the monome community are looking forward to getting deeper into programming. The device tends to propel users into learning more about technology then they expected. If that is your thing, it’s incredibly empowering.

Can you talk at all about BEES, your new modular environment, or show us what it looks like?

Brian: It’s basically a control environment which allows control sources (knobs, footswitches, monome grids, MIDI, etc.) to be mapped to parameters (control parameters like preset number or knob range, but also DSP parameters like feedback or filter cutoff.) BEES can switch DSP modules (each module tends to have a ton of functionality bundled together) while running, effectively “hosting” each one. The DSP module reports what parameters are available to be mapped.

Additionally, BEES creates “operators” which transform or generate control streams. So a multiplier could be added between a knob and a DSP parameter (say filter cutoff), changing the sensitivity of the knob. A footswitch could trigger a random operator which drives feedback (stomp stomp stomp stomp). A sequencer operator using a monome grid could drive the CV outs (to a modular) and then a heap of other operators could drive the sequencer in different ways (tempo, step, etc.) for something messy and interesting, all within the patching environment, without programming.

All of this stuff happens with a menu system. We’ve made a great effort to make it graceful, but we also acknowledge that designing a complex system requires more visualization, so everything in BEES will be controllable via OSC via the usb connection to a computer. A friend is working on an browser-based editor that we’re excited about.

We’ll have video soon of all of this.

Is there applicability beyond just aleph? I imagine this would be a question for people investing development time; is there a future for BEES or the stuff they write beyond this very limited-run hardware?

Brian: First off, I have no intention of this being a limited run– we simply produce according to perceived demand. If people are interested, we’ll make more.

While I understand there may be a desire to port BEES to an iPhone, it doesn’t seem a perfect fit. We designed the aleph to be good at sound and control specifically, rather than having a phone also be a stompbox using a dongle.

Ezra: We could, for example, build a big Max object that runs BEES, and you could run BEES patches in Max. Why not? Perhaps more reasonably, an aleph application host for Linux, that communicates via OSC, actually has existed at various points, and if it seems useful, it will get a resurrection.

As for the DSP: most of the audio code so far is object-oriented and easy to read, but not optimal. Inner loops will get harder to read as they get faster, and some heavy low-level stuff like FFT will be pretty tough going. But a good algorithm on the musical level is always reusable.

Just to make certain, I have this right, yes? — hardware is proprietary, but the software (including BEES) and toolchain will all be open source?

Brian: The hardware source will be proprietary in that we’re not going to post it publicly and rights will be reserved. But if someone is interested, we’d be happy to share what we’ve done. But what we’ve been doing is nothing like DIY electronics or terribly relevant to kit building. We are reasonable and curious about what happens to our work, and simply prefer that people contact us directly.

Why Blackfin DSP specifically? [aleph uses this DSP hardware/software platform.] What can musicians – or developers – expect out of this platform in terms of performance? How easy will it be to develop for?

Brian: In terms of development ease I’d say it’ll require pretty much the same commitment that most similar programming projects would require. We’re making a disk image with the toolchain set up which can be run in a virtual machine. It’s not going to be an Arduino experience, which is the product of years of great work removing complexity.

But really we have no illusions that the developer audience will be more than a small fraction of total users. What was important to us is to make these sources available, and to design a system that can be radically altered without programming. I’d rather be patch-editing than programming most of the time. We aimed for some equivalent of patching when designing the fundamental configurability of the aleph.

Ezra: The Blackfin is a fixed-point DSP with a peculiar dual architecture of 32-bit data buses and parallel 16-bit ALUs [arithmetic units]. So indeed, it is a different experience from what many programmers are used to. From my perspective, there are two big practical reasons for looking at this family of parts: speed-to-cost ratio, and accessibility — by which I mean, the freedom from proprietary toolchains and difficult packages like BGA [Ball Grid Array, difficult meaning in terms of assembly].

So when I hear (or ask) the question “why Blackfin” it usually refers to the lack of an FPU [Floating Point - math - Unit], and may be followed by, “why not SHARC?” [Analog Devices DSP platform] – the answer is lack of an open-source toolchain. Sometimes the followup is “why not ARM/NEON?” [accelerated instruction set for multimedia and DSP] which is sort of harder to answer. I guess because those tend to be SoC [System on a Chip] configurations, they feel overly complex, and have overall tended to be less appealing for this or that reason.

I like the Blackfin parts because they are fast and simple. The gcc [open compiler] tools work well, with an active community around them. The BF533 [DSP processor] is fast enough that quite naively-written C code can usually get the job done, and on the other hand the ASM [Assembler] instruction set is easy and, I’d have to say, fun. For example, it is well suited to mixed datatypes, and it will be great for porting 8-bit code into a massively faster and more parallel environment.

I don’t think using a fixed-point DSP is a hardship; it is a natural fit for audio. Anyways, the Blackfin float implementation is non-IEEE but fast enough to use when necessary, e.g. filling a lookup table. I think embedded DSP nerds will have a blast with this platform, and it only takes a few!

All that said, its always nice to have more speed. I’m sure there will be criticism of the aleph’s processing power as it doesn’t compare to what a modern computer can do. But it compares very well with what a computer could do a decade ago (at considerable expense), and I’m old enough/young enough to be pretty stoked about that level of digital processing in a small, instant-on metal box with good sound.

For all its impact, monome is these two people: Brian and Kelli. Photo courtesy monome.

What’s the latest on monome? What can we expect to happen next? And now that the world is starting to be full of grids, where do you see monome’s role – as monochrome and on/off buttons amidst RGB and pressure-sensing grids? (I suppose that in itself is sort of interesting.)

Brian: Monome is still just Kelli and myself, though we just hired on Trent Gill (Galapagoose, co-creator of [grid sampling instrument] MLRV). It’s been great collaborating with Ezra. I’m looking forward to refining and further exploring grids both on the aleph and with our existing application and user base. I still feel our minimalist grids have a level of flexibility not seen in others out there.

Outside of electronics, Kelli launched a lovely ceramics design studio (kellicain.com) and we’re considering a label for our apple cider co-op. Ezra and Trent continue to produce shockingly good music and we pressure them regularly to make more.

Someone in comments repeated this idea that you’re uninterested in getting these in the hands of lots of people. But whether it was intentional or not, it seems some of the ideas of the monome project are in the hands of lots of people. We’ve talked about this before, but curious if your take has evolved on that, at all, particularly as grids begin to shift to new instrumental applications.

Brian: Honestly I’m not seeing any shift in grid usage. Pitch maps, clip launching, and drum triggers have been dominant for years now– it is now solidly part of the electronic music vernacular. In this way the grid is not an innovative proposition. But I do hope to see more interest in grid uses outside these fundamental three approaches– there is so much left to be explored!

It’s a completely silly accusation that we wouldn’t want to get these into peoples’ hands. We understand that the aleph has a pretty small audience, but we’re grateful that the support from this audience allowed us to bring a device like this into the world. I’m not going to bother with the usual list of production expenses or yet another attempt at consumer re-education– rather I’d like to say that we aimed very high when designing the aleph. We’re incredibly excited about the unprecedented capabilities of this little box. We’re terribly interested in getting these into the hands of people who share our enthusiasm.

http://monome.org/aleph/

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