Tag Archives: VJ Manzo

MMJ4M 20: Compositions and Perceptions Tools

The very last chapter of VJ Manzo‘s excellent book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music is a final exhibition of some of the applied work that can be done with Max/MSP/Jitter, as well as a few of VJ’s own compositions with Max/MSP/Jitter. As before, these don’t have much to do with Jitter, per se, but they’re at the end of the book so they’re listed under my Jitter course. More significantly, I got some wonderful inspiration on how I could make my own music. (I also got a very informal hearing test with the mosquito patch, and I’m glad to say that I hear high frequencies just fine, thank you very much.)

The book is done but I will be referring back to it very, very often as I start doing my own from-a-blank-patcher programming. (By the way, I also just bought a print copy of the book to go with my Kindle version.) In addition, I’m going to go through the plethora of tutorials that Cycling ’74 offers on their own website as a way to continue and expand my training. All of this is very, very exciting!

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 20: Compositions and Perceptions Tools (0 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 17: Working with Video Files

The second major Jitter-related chapter in VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music has to do with accessing and playing previously recorded video. It turns out that this is more complicated than using a live video stream – not what I would have guessed but, now that I’ve done the work, it makes sense.

I especially like the jit.scissors command that slices the video window into many small pieces. (Truthfully, the object names in Max/MSP/Jitter are hilarious; not the sort of thing you can get away with in a larger corporate environment.) Things started getting very spaghetti-like, so I show a couple of the patches in both their locked and unlocked states. But, overall, I am made keenly aware of how different things can work in this program as opposed to Processing, with which I am more accustomed.

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 17: Working with Video Files (12 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 16: Working with Live Video

Chapter 16 of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, “Working with Live Video,” is the first chapter to deal with Jitter, which is the video component of Max/MSP. This also makes it the first official chapter for my independent studies course with Lien Fan Shen of the Department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah. I’m excited because this part connects more directly with the work that I have done in Processing and with the Dance Loops project that I’m working on at Utah Valley University.

The exercises in this chapter all involved grabbing a live video stream from my computer’s camera and then performing a series of color transformations on it, culminating with the use of a MIDI keyboard to do so. Fascinating!

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 16: Working with Live Video (11 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 15: Audio Effects and Processing

Chapter 15, “Audio Effects and Processing” of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music shows how to manually create some simple effects – delays and white noise, in particular – and manipulate and visualize them. To get to that point, the chapter shows how to:

  • Create a umenu to give a dropdown list of effect sizes (although it may work better to provide checkboxes that allow for the selection of multiple effects)
  • Create a gate~ object (the MSP audio version) to direct the audio signal towards the appropriate effect patch depending on the effect selected in the umenu
  • Use the tapin~ object to store snippets of audio and the tapout~ object to delay playback
  • Use the transport object to provide global control of timing and playback, as well as the ability to specify timing in samples instead of millseconds
  • Create a umenu to provide a list of filter options and cascade~ and filtergraph~ objects to allow manual modification of those filters
  • Create a noise~ object to generate white noise
  • Use a preset object to save settings for the entire patch

My next big goal is to set up my KMI SoftStep foot controller to activate effects and possibly modify them while live looping, as both hands will be on my saxophone.

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 15: Audio Effects and Processing (10 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 14: Audio Buffers

Chapter 14 of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music has one purpose: show how to use audio buffers for recording and playing back audio files. These buffers will be a critical component in my planned live looping exercises, so I’m excited about this chapter. I learned how to do the following:

  • Create and name buffer~ objects
  • Open windows to see the sound waves for the buffer~ objects
  • Get information such as track length with the info~ object and use that manually resize the buffer (if desired, although Max 6 seems to adjust the buffer on its own)
  • Use the groove~ object to read audio from the named buffer
  • Set the buffer to loop
  • Set a flonum variable to control playback speed by converting it with a sig~ object
  • Record new audio into the buffer with the ezdac~ and record~ objects
  • Set up a MIDI keyboard to change simultaneously the speed and pitch of the buffer playback, with middle C set for default speed (although it would be better to alter speed and pitch separately)

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 14: Audio Buffers (9 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 13: Audio Playback and Pitch Tracking

In Chapter 13, “Audio Playback and Pitch Tracking” of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, I learned how to:

  • Playback pre-recorded sound files with the sfplay~ object (including the open message and a toggle to make it go)
  • Open sound files directly by giving their full name in the open message
  • Use the ezdac~ object to get the sound out and use the gain~ object to control volume
  • Use message boxes to restart the sound file or jump to specific times in the file
  • Set keyboard controls to start/stop/rewind the sound file
  • Loop the sound file with a loop $1 message
  • Have more than one sound file open and playing at a time
  • Record the audio with the sfrecord~ object (and toggle it on and off, as well as specify the number of channels to record)
  • Convert frequencies to MIDI values with the fzero~ object

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 13: Audio Playback and Pitch Tracking (13 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 12: Working with Audio

In Chapter 12: Working with Audio from VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, we get to start working with the MSP part of Max/MSP, which allows audio signals (you know, actual sound waves and recordings) to be used in addition to MIDI notes or mathematical equations. The chapter shows how to:

  • Get sound into Max with a microphone, at first with the adc~ object (that is, “audio-to-digital converter,” where the tilde ~ means that it is an MSP audio object) and later with the more intuitive ezadc~ object.
  • Create gain~ controls to keep the speakers from exploding
  • Create audio meters with the meter~ object
  • Output sound, at first with the dac~ object (i.e., “digital-to-audio converter”) and later with the ezdac~ object
  • Create sine waves with the cycle~ object and combine waves for more complex sounds
  • Create a virtual oscilloscope with the scope~ object, thus creating a visual display of the sound wave
  • Create a monophonic synthesizer with the ddg.mono object
  • Convert MIDI to audio frequencies with the mtof object
  • Use pack and unpack to combine or separate MIDI data, as well as midiparse
  • Create a polyphonic synthesizer with the poly~ object

Lots of good stuff. I plan on using several of these in my final project.

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 12: Working with Audio (17 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 11: Building Stand-alone Applications

A very short but significant chapter in which I learned to do exactly as its title suggests: I learned how to build a stand-along application. The first image above is from my duplication of one of VJ Manzo‘s patches in the chapter and the second, you may notice, is not a Max patch but it, instead, its very own application running on my Mac. When I got Max/MSP/Jitter, I wasn’t aware that this was one of the possibilities but now I’m thrilled about it! My big, unanswered question for the moment is whether I can make a standalone application that will read and save data from a Kinect without having to install all of the other geeky rigamarole in the system folders, etc. Wouldn’t that be beautiful for distributing interactive dance applications? (Yes, it would, very much….)

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 11: Building Stand-alone Applications (2 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 10: Working with Time

Chapter 10 “Working with Time” of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music is a busy one and a lot of fun. The most important parts for me were that we learned how to create user-controlled loops (of MIDI files, not audio) and how to create a simple step sequencer. Now I realize that it’s probably much easier to do both of these in Ableton Live (which my grant at  Utah Valley University got for me) and other, more specialized programs, but it gets to the heart of the things I want to do with Max/MSP/Jitter. (Well, some of the things, in any case.) But it gets much closer to the music making part that I’m interested in.

By the way, it occurs to me that it would be great if the fine people at Cycling ’74 (you know, the people who gave us Max/MSP/Jitter) could take the example of their Vizzie modules, which are preassembled, easy to use subpatches for working with video, and did a similar things for MIDI and/or audio files. I’m just sayin’….

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 10: Working with Time (18 exercises)
  • Patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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MMJ4M 09: Tools for Music Theory Concepts

Chapter 09 of VJ Manzo‘s book Max/MSP/Jitter for Music is about “Tools for Music Theory Concepts.” This generally refers to patches that are able to create chord progressions by reading user input and that are able to perform a variation of scale analysis. For me, I think that there are two particularly important applications of these kinds of patches and programs:

  1. Creating interactive dance performances where dancers are able to use gestural controls to create and modify music (which is a big part of my Dance Loops project at Utah Valley University)
  2. Elaborate versions of live looping, which is something I learned about originally from cellist  Zoë Keating, although I have since found many other people who do it; the big difference is that I play a one-note-at-a-time instrument – an alto saxophone – and these kinds of patches would make it much easier for me to create harmonies and chords, I think

Anyhow, those are the big ideas for now.

Completed:

  • Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Ch. 09: Tools for Music Theory Concepts (10 exercises)
  • Jitter patches can be downloaded from http://db.tt/GBYLb0vY (Dead Link)
  • UPDATED LINK: Patches can now be downloaded from http://j.mp/1iy19Xl
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