New Form Of Music Pioneered

My name is Thomas Park. I represent AutoCad, a 'leading-edge' electronica
band. We are from St. Louis, Missouri. The band is ASCAP registered,
and has a steady online audience of listeners who have given
good reviews to AutoCad's music. Here is a copy of an interview
featured by Live365.com, an excellent online source for groundbreaking
online radio. It sheds some light on AutoCad's innovative composing
techniques:

Posted by Michael Bordash on Wed Jul 18, 2001




Math, Music and Chaos Theory
Thomas Park's music is not from a Star Trek Voyageur episode, but it could be.
Our Skies Radio (56K Modem)
PanMuse Global Radio (T1/DSL)


Math, Music and Chaos Theory

Thomas Park's music is not from a Star Trek Voyageur episode, but it could be. He's created music by mapping the complex patterns of nature to music by way of complex fractal mathematics and some tricked-out studio gear.

Listen:
Our Skies Radio (56K Modem)
http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/directory.cgi?autostart=ourskies
Could be part of Brian Eno's Ambient series.

PanMuse Global Radio (T1/DSL)
http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/directory.cgi?autostart=panmuse
Could be John Zorn's evil twin.

Park says he "composes" his music on the following gear:


Algorithmic Arts Soft-Step Pro MIDI Sequencer
Sonic Foundry Acid Rock 2.0 software and various loop libraries
Cool Edit, shareware version
Wingroove Midi to .wav conversion software
Anvil MIDI studio (shareware)
E-machine 400id PC
We talked to Thomas Park about his methods, the math, and the music that results.

Live365.com: Your profile reads, PanMuse Global Radio ... focuses on music created using data derived from simple mathematical ratios and natural phenomenae. How, exactly, does this work?

Thomas Park: I look for sequences of numbers derived by man from nature or mathematics. Then, I try to apply these sequences to music-- usually, as directly as possible. My theory is that nature, math, and music have much in common, and we need merely to shed a light on these congruencies and they will surprise us.

Live365.com: It's an incredible concept! Can you elaborate exactly how you go about creating these compositions, from start to finish?

Thomas Park: I have 2 main methods.


Research (usually online).
Find a sequence of numbers referring to some natural or mathematical phenomenon.
Try to find sequences that are actually series (referring to elements that move from simple to complex, small to large, East to West, etc).
Input direct "snapshots" of these sequences into Mixing/Sequencing software (esp. Sonic Foundry 2.0)-- where, for example, the number "2" generates a note 2 up from the base of the selected scale.
Try to build compatible sounds using, as much as possible, different views or snapshots of the same sequence.


Find a sequence of numbers referring to some natural or mathematical phenomenon.
Try to find sequences that are actually series (referring to elements that move from simple to complex, small to large, East to West, etc.)
Input the numbers into "seed" switches in Algorithmic Arts SoftStep Pro software.
Use a variety of fractal-generation and number-generation modules, together with quantization, to produce a sequence of pitches and duration's using the source data for seeds in as many cases as possible.
"Mix down" the resulting MIDI file using Anvil Studio software, further quantizing, selecting instruments, and greatly reducing tempo.
I tend to use the first method for "PanMuse Global Radio" pieces, and the second method for "Our Skies Radio" pieces.

Live365.com: Do you assign certain sounds/frequencies/tones/timbres to certain intervals or mathematical functions?

Thomas Park: The sounds are chosen at my discretion. The frequencies vary in scale but, in general, match the source data in degree.

Live365.com: How much of this music is generated via the equations you're feeding it, and how much is your creative input? Is "equations" even the right word here?

Thomas Park: "Equations" is fine! I try to find sequences of data that seem to illustrate one "equation" or another-- logarithmic, arithmetic, etc. . . and I stick with the source data when composing as much as I possible can.

Live365.com: What kinds of natural phenomena do you compose from, and how do you extract the mathematical information from them?

Thomas Park: I have used, for example, white dwarf star data, a group of dinosaurs, various stars, and, recently, data derived from the movements of a sea turtle (tracked by Berkeley scientists) for nature-inspired pieces. I look for a sequence of numbers, in which some progression forms the independent variable-- time, size, distance, etc. These sequences then are made to correspond to temporal (independent) and pitch (dependent) variables when composing.

Live365.com: How did you get hooked up with the data from the AAVSO observatory?

Thomas Park: The AAVSO supplies free data in the "Quick Look" section of its website, at: http://www.aavso.org/ql/. Mr. Price of the AAVSO, having been informed of the Our Skies Radio concept, approved of the use of AAVSO data, within certain financial constraints.

Live365.com: Okay, here's where my geeky side comes out. I am no mathematician, but I'm fascinated by the ways music maps to math. How would you describe the relationship between music and mathematics?

Thomas Park: Lately, I have been wondering-- aren't numbers much like symbols, that, in part, make our minds comfortable, in the same way that notes on a scale make our ears comfortable (hopefully). Numbers are like notes, just more generalized. In a strange way, if I can apply a number to quantify a motion or phenomenon, and I can apply a number to quantify a musical note, then the number becomes a symbol of both the phenomenon and the note. This gets interesting when sequences and series are applied, as supplied by a non-musical source, and applied to music.



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Here ends the interview. Please feel free to print any or all of this material if you are
interested in exposing your audience to a new online music resource,
and some innovative music composing techniques.

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Contact Thomas Park of AutoCad

e-mail: autocadthomas@netscape.net

snail mail: Thomas Park

5073 A Chippewa

St. Louis, MO 63109


Thank you for your time and consideration!


Sincerely,

Thomas Park

AutoCad

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