Introductory session NTNU, Trond/Øyvind

Date: 3 May 2016

Location: NTNU Mustek

Participants: Trond Engum, Øyvind Brandtsegg

Session objective and focus:

Test ourselves as musicians in cross adaptive setting. MEaning, test how we react to being in the role of the processed

Test out different mappings, different effects. Try the creative/multiband sidechain gating, and other means of crossadaptivity within an off-the-shelf regime.

Reflect on this situation.


Take 1: first test. Two-way control.

Take 2: Voc control Guitar (only). Pitch to Reverb Hifreq decay (high pitch means open hf reverb tail), Amp to Reverb Time (amp ducking reverb time, high amp is short reverb)

Take 3: Guitar controls Voc. Pitch to Delay feedback (high pitch is long feedback). Trans.dens to delay time (low density means long delay time)

Take 4: Two-way control. This is more music! Same mapping as for track 2 and 3. Minor adjustments to noise floor etc during take.

Take 5: Multiband sidechain gating. Vocal lo freq opens gate for pitchdown effect. Vocal high freq opens gate for pitchup effect on guitar. Several takes …

Take 6: As track 5, but switch roles. Guitar controlling gate for vocals

Take 7: (Several) attempts at refining the setup form track 6 for cleaner gate trigging. Take 7c seems reasonably good. Using electric guitar allows cleaner frequency separation. And we use an extra sidechain from the low-band trigger track to duck the high-band trigger track (avoiding strong transients in the bass registe to open the hi-freq gate). Again, one thing that is hard as a performer is when one wish for a specific sound, and the modulating musician plays something to the contrary, there is a strong tension (for good and bad).


* There is two wildly competing modes of attention:

  • control an effect parameter with one’s audio signal
  • respond musically to the situation

… This is a major issue !!

* Attention grabber (also difficult): to remember what I control on the other sound and what the other performer controls on my sound. Intellectual focus. It is also difficult (as of yet) to hear and listen to the sound and understand musically how the other one affects my sound. Somewhat easier to understand how I affect the sound of the other.

* Introductory exercises: one-way adaptive control. One being processed, the other one controlling.

* When I merely control the parameters of the other, I might feel a bit left out of the situation, not participating musically. My playing infuence the collective sound, but what I actually play does not make sense.

* When controlling, and having a firm and good monitoring of the processed signal, the situation is more open for participation and emotional engagement.

* We should test playing with headphones for even more controlled monitoring, and more presence to the processed signal.

* Using traditional effects (reverb time, delay time etc) forces the musical expression into traditional modes. Maybe trying more crazy effects will open up for more expressive use of the modulations. Simple mappings provide more intentional control, but perhaps complex mappings can provide a frebag-energy-influenced expression.

* Take 4. Two way control now approach more musical interplay. Easier to wait, give room, listen to the (long) effect  tail. Wait. Listen.  Intentional control possible, but also interspersed with chaotic “let if flow” approach. Changing between control and non-control is musically effective. When going out of the traditional tonal type of playing we attain more (effective) timbral expressive control.

* Relationship between feature and control signal can effectively be reversed (reversed polarity). Changing the polarity of modulation distinctively changes the mode of musical interplay. E.g. low transient density means long delay time, or low density means  short delay time).

* Multiband sidechain gating works well in traditional musical application. It seems also reasonably easy to control for the performer, but needs considerable signal preprocessing to isolate energy in the desired frequency band.

* Multiband separation (for clean gating) is difficult, because transients generally have energy in all frequency bands. Ideally we would like to separate high notes form low notes, but high note transients has considerable low frequency energy in many instruments. Low notes also have considerable energy in the higher partials. We experimented with broadband EQs, medium Q, and also very narrow Qs centered on specific notes (e.g. trying to separate out a low E on a guitar). Acoustic guitar with contact mike was particularly difficult, trying now with electric guitar, seems a bit easier.

* The effects applied in this session is generally quite simple, not initiating musical incentives as such, if they were static that is. With cross-adaptive control they get a higher dgree of plasticity, and the energy flow in the interplay creates more interesting behavior. … in our current opinion.

2 thoughts on “Introductory session NTNU, Trond/Øyvind”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *