In the World of Grains - Part 12
(= part 16 of all articles about sonic grains).
Some Notes about Composing with Grains
Techniques and cross-compositional resources:
There are different ways to come to grips with the immense amount of grains and their individual parameters, but most of them have one strategy in common: the use of tendency masks.
These set evolving borders, meaning upper and lower values, between which the parameter in question may change randomly. Each change is unpredictably random, but the entirety of changes along the time axis follows a tendecy set by the evolving upper and lower borders.
I try a bottom-up approach taking a certain number of grains with different frequency content, layer them, and compose the volume envelope of each of these grains, then using the such constructed cluster to serve as a higher-order element, which itelf can be layered, sustaining the structure of the applied envelopes, but using different grains with different spectral content for setting up the next cluster,
I prefer a top-down strategy setting the structure of my whole piece, then developing more and more details going deeper level after level,
tendency masks are useful tools to deal with huge amounts of parameters, as they relieve me from setting the sonic parameters for every and each of the hundreds of thousands of grains I´m using.
Tendency masks may not seem that essential, when I prefer a more process led approach, starting somewhere and somehow with my composition, and see, where each next step will lead me, and deciding at each step, whether or not the result is suitable or likeable.
Another strategy surrenders seeing how vast the number of individual grains in a composition is, grains, each of which carries a couple of sonic parameters. Instead of attempting a consistent bottom-to-top approach the composer takes either a stream of real world sounds, runs it through a granular processor, which operates according to pre-defined or live manipulated algorithms, records the results, and uses pieces of these recordings to set up the actual composition,
uses pre-produced pieces of sound containing more or less categorized kinds of “macro-clusters”.
Let me mention a special technique, which Barry Truax talks about in “Interacting with Inner and Outer Complexity”. It´s about gaining new sonic material out of existing grains, by convolving, what is a kind of filtering the sonic content of a grain through the content of another grain, emphasizing those spectral components, which are existent in both grains. Let´s listen to the master himself: “... Normally when one convolves continuous sounds together, the result is a smeared and quite blurred texture, but because these sounds were comprised of numerous impulses (Truax is talking about “Riverrun” here), the results of the convolution were highly detailed and well defined...”
to be continued
to part 1: ("A Short History of Granular Synthesis - Part 1"):https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/340
to part 2: ("A Short History of Granular Synthesis - Part 2"): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/342
to part 3: ("A Short History of Granular Synthesis - Part 3"): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/346
to part 4: ("A Short History of Granular Synthesis - Part 4"): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/356
to part 5 ("In the World of Grains - Part 1"): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/364
to part 6 ("In the World of Grains - Part 2"): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/373
to part 7 (“In the World of Grains – Part 3”): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/378
to part 8: (“In the World of Grains – Part 4”): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/385
to part 9: (“In the World of Grains – Part 5”): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/390
to part 10: (“In the World of Grains – Part 6”): https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/398
to part 11: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/407
to part 12: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/414
to part 13: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/421
TO PART 14: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/483
TO PART 15: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/486
to part 17: https://www.dev.rofilm-media.net/node/494
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