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Re: instrument and interactivity
>>I believe that "making it an instrument" is more internal than external.
>>For me, the question is "at what length does a delay become an
>>and my answer would be, "around two seconds".
I like this one a lot, Kim (after the thousands of mails we exchanged, you
still surprise me ;-) :
>For me, the loop length is nearly irrelevant to it being an instrument.
>What matters is interactivity. An instrument to me includes an interface
>some kind that lets my heart, brain, and soul interact and connect with
>sound. The interface connects me intuitively, so I express what I want
>without having to think about the mechanics too much. But interactivity is
>key. There have to be features to let me continue to work with the sounds,
>evolve them, change them, screw around with them, be continually involved
>in it. To me a looper is a data instrument, it lets me manipulate audio
>data in real time. Add to it, subtract from it, shift it, sequence it,
>shuffle it, flip it, chop it, mutilate it, reconstruct it, evolve it.
>The kind of looper that just records something and then just sits there
>spitting it back at you, offering no way to continue manipulating and
>interacting with the loop, that's not much of an instrument. It's a
>device, just doing it's thing without you. Might as well play a cd and go
>Similarly with a lot of delay things, its more of an effect. It just sits
>there doing it's thing, and you don't get involved beyond what sounds you
>dump into it, and the way you react to the sounds coming out with some
>other instrument. That's just an effect, not an instrument. It might be a
>really interesting effect, but still: no user interaction, no instrument.
I just would like to add, that interaction can happen on various levels:
- buttons, controllers
- a characteristic of the effect. For example a good distortion increases
expression, the player can "animate" it with various playing tecniques, so
it turns part of the instrument and does not just "sit there", although it
may just have a on/off control.
- algorithms: the instrument can analize the players expression and
automatically change its parameters. The thouch-wah is a rather primitive
example, at the universities, much more sophisticated ones are developped
(Buchla...). I think in the future, this technology will become much more
The user will have to study or even build the algorithm to learn to
interact with it, as if it was "the second part" of his instrument, still
completely controled by fingers on strings or mouthpiece or whatever.
A future looper may recognize the tempo of the player, maybe automatically
filter out things when the loop becomes overloaded, work out accents...