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Out of C4

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This is another experimental Max/MSP patch of mine called "Out of C4." The new and concept of the piece is taken from a combination of two pieces. First of all my piece "Individualism, Collectivism" http://www.macjams.com/song/13743 and secondly Terry Reily's Minimalist Piece "In C." The elements of these pieces used as inspiration:

·The use of repeated motives in a set order (in this case there are 16 motives, not 52 as in "In C")
·A level of indeterminacy involved with the change of motives (the timing, not the order)
·The use of multiple tempi (As with "Individualism, Collectivism").
·The control of the tempo of a track in relation to others, so tracks have the ability to go in and out of sync with each other.

The patch itself contains 4 tracks, each of which has the 16 motives pre-programmed into them. The user/performer actually does not play any of the notes, instead controlls functions the dynamics, the key of the tracks, when to start moving to the next motive (each track will then change within 20 seconds), the tempo of each individual track and most importantly when and how the tracks can sync to each other.

As I found with "Individualism, Collectivism" just the slightest change of tempo easily causes tracks to go out of time with each other and the maths used to correct these changes has to be relatively precise. So a large amount of the time I spent working on this patch was used in working out how to program the patch to do this for me live (as opposed to pre-planned with I.D.)

The two ways I've created for the tracks to sync together are:
1. The tempo of one track will increase or decrease over a few seconds up to the tempo of other track and then will correct itself so it is in sync with the quaver pulses (within 5 m/s) of the other track. This means that both tracks will be in time with the same tempo, but the motive that they are playing may be out of phase.

2. The tempo of the first track will adjust itself so that on the first beat of the 5th of the second track, both tracks will start the motive simultaneously, and the first track will revert back to its original tempo. The can be used to bring two tracks at the same tempo back into phase (so they are playing the same notes at the same time, like normal people), or to sync two tracks so a common polyrythm (such as triplets over quavers) can be heard.

Now all of this is very interesting and all I'm sure... but does this actually sound any good... and if it doesn't... what possible use does it have.

One possible future for ancestors of this patch could be in a live DJ like situation. Say I've got a texture happening and I want to bring in a new loop. At the moment, the normal choice would be to just fade it in volume wise... but with this kind of thing I could just start it playing at speed 0 and have it speed up to normal speed and then sync with the texture I've already got going automatically. Another possibility (especially if I work out how to get Max/MSP to do calculus) could be that I could get loops to slow down to a half time groove or speed up to other cross-rhythms all with the click of a button.

And of course a major benefit is that I can choose which track in particular everything is being synced to... so each tempo change can either be global, or completely independant (so no other tracks are effected).

Eitherway, I still hope you enjoy the piece.. and thanks for reading.
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Comments: 10
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Uploaded: Nov 13, 2005 - 06:57:12 AM
Last Updated: Nov 13, 2005 - 06:32:08 AM Last Played: Jan 12, 2019 - 12:26:43 AM
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screamalexz said 5025 days ago (November 13th, 2005)
i think it sounds pretty cool. kinda like video game music. sounds like it took alot of work
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said 5025 days ago (November 13th, 2005)
Oh Man, You Are Tempting Me
I started making music as a hobby one year ago - it's something I'd
always wanted to do and the iMac I got came with GarageBand so I
thought 'why not?'. And then I found this site.
However, my education is in mathematics (with a concentration in
algebra) and you've got me thinking I might play around mathematically
(like Xenakis et al.) but with the midi. I'm not sure if I have the time
though to learn to program to manipulate/stimulate the core audio .... I
should have another 40 years on the planet, I hope.
BTW, I enjoyed your piece.
The Composer said 5024 days ago (November 14th, 2005)
Oh Man, You Are Tempting Me
Awesome, my corrupting influence is spreading.

Seriously though, if you want to experiment don't let anything stop you. The
Individual, Collectivism piece of mine I just used a pencil, paper and
occasionally a calculator. However, if you're at all interest in mucking around
with any sort of software... I'd strongly recommend you have a look at http://

PD (aka Pure Data) is a real-time graphical programming environment for
audio, video, and graphical processing. Its very similar to Max/MSP, the
program which I'm using (its even made by the same guy that started Max
and share many of the objects)... but it is an open source program (free)
whereas Max/MSP cost money.

As far as learning how to use it... the last 3 songs I've submitted (the Crazy
Organ, Out of C4 and Static Noise) are the the first patches I've written in
Max... and I've only been using for 3 months now. Its an object/graphic
interface so you don't have to worry about writing the source code or
anything... instead you're given a huge range of objects that carry out
different functions for you, so most of the work is deciding what you want to
do and how to do it. It may still take some time to work out how to do what
you want to do... but I've found at least Max/MSP easy to work with,
incredibly powerful and whats more, the more I use it and learn about, the
more limitations are removed and more ideas stream through.

The Composer, previously known as The Pianist who hasn't played the piano in a while...
Check out my latest song called Blood Is Boiling (By Faeble)
said 5024 days ago (November 14th, 2005)
Oh Man, You Are Tempting Me
I'll explore these as time allows. Thanks. :)

rik said 5024 days ago (November 14th, 2005)
Nice motives
...and ingenious toy.
Thank you for sharing your concepts, it's extremely interesting to reflect
upon basic ingredients and possibilities offered by their manipulation.
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allsaints said 5022 days ago (November 16th, 2005)
The idea is very stimulating. The song itself sounds like a permutation of
notes and then these permutations permutated again except permutating
the tempo.
Check out my latest song called Color Permutation Of Composition Two
atonalis said 5021 days ago (November 17th, 2005)
phasing in and out.....
when i was a kid and we were driving in the car on a sunday afternoon, my dad would pull up behind a car whose blinker i could see in front of us. the car in front of us would turn on their right blinker..... i could hear the click of our blinker and watch the one in front of us..... phasing in and out of sync with ours. this reminded me of that. a wierd and unlikely wend to a distant memory...... thank you. very nice track BTW..... but that goes without saying.
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MegaDonkey said 4983 days ago (December 25th, 2005)
I like this piece. It is very intersting. Like atonalis said about the car
blinkers, I did that too. But this sounds like some people got together
and one guy said "I am gonna play something, and you play something
that kinda goes along with it and if you get bored just start playing
something else and we'll all try to keep up." To answer your question
as to if it sound good. Yes, but it sound like its unresolved. At the end
when it fades out it seem like it wants to go somewhere. Like its an
orchestra tuning up to perform but then they just stop. Not that thats
bad, but it just seems unresolved thats all. Its hard to explain.
It's sort of like a film students experimental short film. You know the
ones that are filmed in black and white with no dialouge but there is a
clown flipping pancakes in slow motion and a close up of a clock
ticking backwards without numbers on it just symbols like @ or & or
something. And everybody says "Wow that was amazing" but really no
one what the hell was going on.
I like it though. It makes me think. Maybe thats what you were going
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The Composer said 4983 days ago (December 25th, 2005)
To a certain extent, this piece is more of an experimentation than an a piece
of finished music. The majority of my time and effort went into the
programming and the maths of how to get the tracks to move independantly
of each other and more improtantly to move back into time with each other.
Not all that much time was spent working on the melodic material or the
structure of the piece.

So to a certain extent this piece was more of an intention to see if I could do
the idea I had thought of and then at a later date... to see if I could actually
incorporate the ideas into a complete piece of music. I am currently trying to
see if can create something like a Digital Dj with these kind of ideas... but its
taking me a while to figure out the maths of everything again... this piece I
could do linearly... with audio, I need curves which means calculus... which is
harder than I thought.

Thanks for commenting

The Composer, previously known as The Pianist who hasn't played the piano in a while...
Check out my latest song called Blood Is Boiling (By Faeble)
VicDiesel said 4932 days ago (February 14th, 2006)
Fender Phase?
I understand your explanation of how this relates to "In C", with the
multiple themes, starting at times determined by chance. However,
with the shifting rhythms in the beginning, and certain syncopated
rhyhtms later in the piece. this makes me thing very much of early
Steve Reich compositions.

Your ruminations on live use are interesting. Live interactive electronics
haven't been possible for too long a time. When I started listening to
contemporary music the best a composer could do was "voice and
tape" pieces or so. Last week I went to a concert where there was a
piece where a flute was interactively manipulated. Much more
interesting. That was also done by Max/Msp.

I'll be curious to see what other ideas you come up with.
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Name: Bryan Anderson
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Experimental music is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is. There is an overlap with avant-garde music. John Cage was a pioneer in experimental music and defined and gave credibility to the form. As with other edge

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