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    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2008
    The purpose of this discussion is to talk about how HighC allows us to overcome the limitations of music. Please post samples to show how HighC overcomes problems and limitations in regular music.

    Let us explore how HighC transcends the very definitions of music!!!
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2008
    What is sound?
    Sound is categorized by several things.
    amongst them,

    1. Loudness.
    2. Duration.
    3. Pitch. e.g. C, C#, Eb, etc
    4. Timbre(tone quality) - how you tell the difference between a trumpet and a piano

    In the following posts, I wish to show how HighC overcomes obstacles.
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008
    There are 4 criteria that determine the power (musically) of an instrument.

    1. Loudness Criterion. (Control over dynamics)
    2. Duration Criterion. (Control over Duration)
    3. Pitch Criterion (Control over pitch)
    4. Timbre Criterion (Control over Timbre)

    Most instruments fail one or more of these criteria. I wish to show why through examples.
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008 edited
    Lets look at the piano.
    1. Loudness Criterion. Well, the piano has great dynamic range (0-150), and can produce sounds from ppppp to fffff (as can be seen from the various works of Ligeti) - Pass
    2. Duration criterion. After the string is hit, the volume continually decreases. Until, after 20 seconds or so, the sound can no longer be heard and the key must be hit again. - Fail
    3. Pitch criterion. Although the piano has seven octaves, a truly extensive range. It cannot play other scales (e.g. the 43 note, 13 note, 16 note, 27 note, synthetic scales.) It is limited by the chromatic scale laid down by the twelfth root of 2. -Fail
    4. Timbre Criterion. The piano has a fixed timbre, decided by the maker of the instrument (e.g. Steinway, Bosendorfer, Yamaha). The pianist cannot change this. -Fail

    1. Although the piano fails several criteria, fantastic and moving music has still been composed on it.
    2. Making the criteria pass/fail is a bit unfair. As some of the attributes come close to passing. Lets evaluate the piano at a scale of 0-10 for each criteria and make the score out of 40.

    1. 10 (the piano has extensive range, and any more dynamic range added would be extremely difficult to perceive)
    2. 7 (Yes the duration is not unlimited, but 20 seconds is still substantial, and more would probably not be needed. In addition the note can be sustained using the pedal. However, the dynamic range of the note does NOT stay the same from start to finish, like the organ, so the duration is still affected.)
    3. 6 (The piano has one of the most extensive pitch ranges out of all the instruments, while it is true it cannot play notes between two chromatic notes (for example, the piano cannot play 427 hertz, (The note between A and G#)), the piano can still play hundreds of scales (chromatic, major, minor, and their relative modes (e.g.lydian))
    4. 1 (The timbre is nearly impossible to change unless you change the physical structure of the instrument. However, it is possible to make piano sound different by "banging" so 1.

    Total 24/40

    1. It would be interesting to judge the power of an instrument using this scale.
    2. Please comment on other criteria that you may think of. I thought of the 4 (I think) major ones, but I suppose there are others like , room for extended technique, and grandeur.
    Please respond if you have any more Ideas on analyzing instr
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008
    Lets look at the trombone.

    Remember these criteria.

    1. Loudness Criterion. (Control over dynamics)
    2. Duration Criterion. (Control over Duration)
    3. Pitch Criterion (Control over pitch)
    4. Timbre Criterion (Control over Timbre)

    1. 8
    substantial control is available over dynamics. Although it is not as extensive a range as the pianoforte, it is still significant enough for musical consideration.
    2. 10
    because of circular breathing (advanced technique) one can increase duration to several minutes. In addition, dynamics can also be changed while circular breathing prolongs the duration.
    3. 8
    The trombone can reach an infinite amount of pitches. One might think that this would qualify it as 10 but we must realize that even the best trombone players in the world can play these pitches in the register of b1-b5 (approx 4 octaves) so the pitch is not really unlimited
    4. 6
    Although tone quality cannot be changed absolutely, (make a trombone sound like a guitar), there are a variety of ways to change it including
    using a variety of mutes, bells, mouthpieces, tunings, and valve attachments.



    1. The trombone is very versatile.
    2. The trombone is more versatile than the piano.
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008
    Lets look at the drumset.
    same criteria as last time.

    1. 10 (The drums are the workhorse of the rhythm section. The drums provide the beat on which the entire band plays. In addition, the drums can accompany both Death Metal and a soothing Ballade and not be overpowering. Drumset has tremendous dynamic range)
    2. 1
    The drumset has minimal control over duration. A beat will fade very soon, although this is not a problem, as it suits the purpose of the drums, and another beat will soon follow. The drumset can however terminate a sound, by either muffling it by hand or by starting a new beat.
    3. 5
    The drumset has access to a wide range of pitches. (The bass drum- Splash Cymbal) However, the drummer does not have access to the pitches in between (the pitch between a bass drum and a floor tom) However, sometimes the drummer can strike a different part of the cymbal to produce a different pitch. But mainly the drummer is limited to a select set of pitches, although in an extensive range.
    4. 6
    The drummer has some control over timbre. For example, by tightening the drum, striking a different part of the cymbal, removing the snare on the snare drum, placing something on the drum, or using a different drumstick. This can change timbre substantially, but the basic sound is the same.


    (personally I would prefer 23/40, obtained by giving drums 11/10 for dynamic range)

    1. I believe that all instruments are imperfect, although some may be "better" that is, more versatile. Than others.
    2. Just because an instrument gets a low score does not mean it is bad. It just serves a different purpose in the band.
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008
    Lets look at HighC
    Same standards.
    1. 10
    In HighC the user has complete control over sound because of the level functionality.
    2. 10
    User has unlimited control over duration.
    A sound can be 1 milliseconds to a minute and beyond!
    3. 10
    In HighC all possible audible pitches are possible to produce. Also, pitches in between two notes of a chromatic scale are also possible.
    (yes, including 427 HZ)
    4. 10
    The user has control over the waveform, and thus fundamental control over timbre.

    Total 40/40

    1. It looks like HighC is the perfect instrument. What does it lack then?

    Grandeur perhaps...
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 15th 2008
    Here are sound samples illustrating the power of HighC in
    1. Dynamics
    2. Duration
    3. Pitch
    4. Timbre

    I hope to modify these in the future. I want them to sound like a Liszt Etude rather than one by Czerny.
    Enjoy. There are 4.

    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2008
    My apologies for the time lapse, I have been busy lately, although I have some really interesting samples to share, which I worked on lately.

    The first is an experiment in polyphony. It has the constant C drone, while complex sounds are articulated. Rising and then falling.
    The next is so innovative, it doesn't need explanation. (Just run the file(you'll see))
    I have also included a G minor piece. Although it does not exactly do anything the timbre study doesn't it still uses some interesting techniques, and sounds good.
    • CommentAuthorllixgrijb
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2008
    Here is a piece which I call the ABC's of High C, set with a C#, and F# harmonization for hearing comfort.
    Interesting piece.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2008
    I see your explorations of HighC are getting more and more elaborate as you start to be able to define your own vocabulary (well the alphabet for now ;-). You are using HighC exactly as intended, which is great: explore various materials, then assemble them.

    Now I read the comments at the beginning of this thread. While they are elogious to HighC, I'm not totally agreeing on the idea that HighC reaches the stage of the "ideal" instrument. There is a lot of thing to elaborate upon. Roughly said, the 4 dimensions you identify are certainly relevant to describing music, but they are only approximations of what's going on.

    First, intensity, timbre and pitch are not complete: phase is also a important, and yet, it is "hidden under the rug" in HighC (all oscillators are synced for convenience).
    Next, those 4 dimensions you mention are not independent from each other: pitch and intensity affect the perception of timbre and vice-versa.
    Also, as soon as you put 2 sounds or more with one another, they affect each other. I like to state it that way: "the presence of a sounding mass affects its surrounding space and time".

    If one was to design the "perfect" interface to editing digital sound, it might look like something that lets you tweak and adjust the value of each sample individually: perfect, but unmanageable in practice.

    Rather, the dimension offered for manipulation in HighC are "conveniently chosen" dimensions, that anyone can grasp quite easily, and may want to be able to manipulate directly. In short, those are easy to use dimensions that musicians usually want to manipulate independently from each other and that allow a quite good approximation. But HighC does not give you "total control" of the sound, and, even when it will be finished, it won't reach that "immaterial" perfection. What matters is to have fun and that the power of this instrument give you satisfaction and nurtur your imagination.

    I like the concept behind the alphabet. Are the horizontal bars of the "I" intentionally slanted?
    I suppose you could turn each of those letters into a pattern, and start composing with them...

    Keep up the good work.