Are "unlimited sonic possibilities" infinitely bor

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freq_divider
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Are "unlimited sonic possibilities" infinitely bor

Post by freq_divider »

I always get upset when i see the words "unlimited sonic possibilities" in ads and articles :bang:

That's why i wrote a little piece about it :mad:

Very therapeutic, at least for me :party:

http://www.dubbhism.com/2015/08/survivi ... ty_21.html
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Post by Jamesf1 »

Spot on
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Post by Mort Rouge »

Hear, hear!
Calling a circuit that outputs the maximum of several sources "analog OR" makes as much sense as calling a ring modulator "analog XOR" ...

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Post by sparvs »

More food for thought along these lines:

http://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing/ess ... -mark-fell
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Post by Smokey »

"Advertising isn't about truth or fairness or rationality, but about mobilising deeper and more primitive layers of the human mind."
- Brian Eno

It’s best not to let advertising upset you…
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Post by chamomileshark »

it used to be "only limited by your imagination".

But I don't have any imagination :despair:
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Post by mdoudoroff »

Imagination tends to thrive around limitations.
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Re: Are "unlimited sonic possibilities" infinitely

Post by Graham Hinton »

freq_divider wrote:I always get upset when i see the words "unlimited sonic possibilities" in ads and articles
Kevin Lightner's usual response to such claims was "OK, can it make the sound of an articulated truck going into a skid and crashing through a supermarket plate glass window taking out a mother with a baby in a pram on the way?". That restores a sense of perspective. All products are restricted by the imagination of their designers.
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Post by nostalghia »

Some more thoughts about options vs limitations from Brian Eno:
The Revenge of the Intuitive

He's often stated that he is more creative when working within a small set of limits or capabilities (self imposed or inherent in something used as an artistic tool).

An excerpt from the article-

"The trouble begins with a design philosophy that equates "more options" with "greater freedom." Designers struggle endlessly with a problem that is almost nonexistent for users: "How do we pack the maximum number of options into the minimum space and price?" In my experience, the instruments and tools that endure (because they are loved by their users) have limited options.

Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users - when given a choice - prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else."
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Post by Tronman »

nostalghia wrote:Some more thoughts about options vs limitations from Brian Eno:
The Revenge of the Intuitive

He's often stated that he is more creative when working within a small set of limits or capabilities (self imposed or inherent in something used as an artistic tool).
It seems that some folks are more interested in creating unique, never-heard-before sounds than they are in composition. I think that's why so much electronic music is boring.
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Re: Are "unlimited sonic possibilities" infinitely

Post by extra testicle »

i'd say no unlimited sonic possibilities isn't boring unless life is boring. any non-ridiculously simple system will have more possibilities than you could pull off in your life, making it practically unlimited while still limited by time/cost of involvement with one thing, limited by excluding others.

people are generally no good at realizing how many possibilities only a few numbers have...and that's why we have the lottery. :)
https://www.mathsisfun.com/combinatoric ... tions.html
http://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculato ... ations.php

within infinite there are (infinite) sets of what you like and can use in composition and those you can't and those you can't yet and...! imo the trick is learning more of what you like because the goal is to make expressive music and that's something you can always improve on and learn more about. or i really hope so at least. ;)

to me it's like blind people + elephant. specific doesn't mean limited in fact i'd say the more specific - the unique the point of view the more helpful it is in learning the limitations of your own imagination. i find the main limitation is following path you've already been on because it's easier. or thinking that you are unlimited because then you stop looking. default mode. like yamaha fm could be called bells unlimited, if i only used in my default mode. ;)

i don't think equipment is really limited by the the designer unless they just throw absolutely everything at you and say have at it, without attempting to design their ideas into the interface. at best they're also okay with people still doing it 'wrong' or have at least designed it so you won't electrocute yourself. :)

i rate ms20 as a great example. i mean it's awesome, but what were they thinking you'd actually use those features for? there's the trick of plugging in half way too...

kinda harsh words from sos review of additive synth, but i agree that designs based on theoretical 'anything' are usually pretty crap unless they luck into failing... imo theory is useful for knowing why after the fact so you can do more, extrapolate into new unknown.
Alternatively, you can replace one or more of the Sources' harmonic series with a PCM sample -- "a worse heresy than filtering," I hear all the additive purists cry!

Fortunately, these anoraks, the synthesis equivalent of trainspotters, are a dying breed. They used to lie in wait for unsuspecting journalists on the cheaper stands away from the main thoroughfares at trade shows, and having lured you into their lair, waffle on endlessly about how the pure additive system they had developed using mountains of public funding at some third-rate university in the middle of nowhere, could theoretically reproduce any sound with the right programming. But when you finally got them to play you something, it always sounded like a rather cheap, thin drawbar organ (a primitive additive synthesiser in itself, but usually somewhat more cost-effective than their monstrous prototype).
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Post by slow_riot »

I migrated to hardware modular from an unlimited software environment (MaxMSP) and it was as though someone had designed the perfect sub systems and enshrined them in permanent hardware. Taking away that layer of possibilites was exactly what I needed to work on music and performance.

I think limitations are critical when working with music composition and performance systems. All the most successful systems have it, Minimoog, turntables and a mixer, Ableton, Roland x0x, electric guitar plus distortion, Bob Dylan plus amphetamines and a pen, etc.
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Nofrenchtests
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Post by Nofrenchtests »

Has modular officially passed the threshold for 'things that are worth writing clickbait articles about'?
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desdinova
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Post by desdinova »

Nofrenchtests wrote:Has modular officially passed the threshold for 'things that are worth writing clickbait articles about'?
Seven wild secrets about Eurorack Dieter Doepfer DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
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Nelson Baboon
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Post by Nelson Baboon »

Tronman wrote:
nostalghia wrote:Some more thoughts about options vs limitations from Brian Eno:
The Revenge of the Intuitive

He's often stated that he is more creative when working within a small set of limits or capabilities (self imposed or inherent in something used as an artistic tool).
It seems that some folks are more interested in creating unique, never-heard-before sounds than they are in composition. I think that's why so much electronic music is boring.
how exactly do you distinguish interesting sounds from interesting composition? And are there no boring tonal compositions? It's always interesting to me when people are quoted as if they have some kind of inside knowledge on this stuff. I mean, that's simply Eno's way of looking at things....
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Post by Nelson Baboon »

slow_riot wrote:I migrated to hardware modular from an unlimited software environment (MaxMSP) and it was as though someone had designed the perfect sub systems and enshrined them in permanent hardware. Taking away that layer of possibilites was exactly what I needed to work on music and performance.

I think limitations are critical when working with music composition and performance systems. All the most successful systems have it, Minimoog, turntables and a mixer, Ableton, Roland x0x, electric guitar plus distortion, Bob Dylan plus amphetamines and a pen, etc.
don't understand this point. modular systems have way fewer limitations than synths like the minimoog. Obviously at some point, if the work flow doesn't help you channel its possibilities, you're dealing with more of a programming language than an instrument, which sounds like it's really the issue.

If one is exploring sound, then I think that one simultaneously strives to expand one's possibilities, while also striving to control them.
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Post by slow_riot »

Nelson Baboon wrote:
don't understand this point. modular systems have way fewer limitations than synths like the minimoog. Obviously at some point, if the work flow doesn't help you channel its possibilities, you're dealing with more of a programming language than an instrument, which sounds like it's really the issue.

If one is exploring sound, then I think that one simultaneously strives to expand one's possibilities, while also striving to control them.
Compared to my experience designing a composition and performance instrument with MaxMSP, modular is limited. A Max patch is started literally from nothing, not even a set of knobs and input jacks (which is in itself fantastic), but when you are dealing with that level of sub design it can be constraining, more like a programming language as you say. (Some people of course make excellent music with Max)

The MiniMoog is just an example of a deliberate set of restrictions, obviously there is some scaling of relativity versus a modular. But I think the most successful modular systems are very carefully thought out with economy in layout and functionality.

My personal experience has been that I found the most yield in possibilities from the least expansive set of options, and really pushing that subset towards everything that it can do.
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Post by Nelson Baboon »

I pretty much said this. The ultimate in possibilities would be a programming language. Max/msp isn't a synth per se - it's a programming language.

But, basically, I'll shut up now. it doesn't seem like my points were addressed at all, which is fine.
slow_riot wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
don't understand this point. modular systems have way fewer limitations than synths like the minimoog. Obviously at some point, if the work flow doesn't help you channel its possibilities, you're dealing with more of a programming language than an instrument, which sounds like it's really the issue.

If one is exploring sound, then I think that one simultaneously strives to expand one's possibilities, while also striving to control them.
Compared to my experience designing a composition and performance instrument with MaxMSP, modular is limited. A Max patch is started literally from nothing, not even a set of knobs and input jacks (which is in itself fantastic), but when you are dealing with that level of sub design it can be constraining, more like a programming language as you say. (Some people of course make excellent music with Max)

The MiniMoog is just an example of a deliberate set of restrictions, obviously there is some scaling of relativity versus a modular. But I think the most successful modular systems are very carefully thought out with economy in layout and functionality.

My personal experience has been that I found the most yield in possibilities from the least expansive set of options, and really pushing that subset towards everything that it can do.
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Post by synthesymphony »

According to the math, if you have only one synth that produces an infinite number of sounds, all finite-sound synths paired with it would produce infinitely many sounds, still. Infinity * n, or infinity / n = infinity, infinity +/- n= infinity.

So really, just get one thing that produces an infinite number of sounds and you're set! :roll:

Good point about infinite time as well. I probably won't have the time to produce all the sounds available with the gear I have now (computer, semi-modular, two cheap digital poly synths, and percussion with my hands and any surface). If you go simpler, you would still jave a massive number of sounds available.
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Post by Joe. »

You still need to buy 4 if you want to make chords with "unlimited sonic possibilities"

:moneyburn:
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Post by freq_divider »

I found this in the "Anybody reading Curtis Roads" thread

http://www.zero-books.net/books/infinite-music

And by the way, in his brand new book, when Roads defines the specificity of electronic music (chapter one), he literaly starts like this: "Electronic Music opens the domain of composition from a closed homogenous set of notes to an unlimited universe of heterogenous sound objects."

infinity never ends...
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Post by strettara »

nostalghia wrote:"Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users - when given a choice - prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else."
Well knock me down. I agree with Eno. (Actually I often do.)
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Post by Opus110 »

strettara wrote:
nostalghia wrote:"Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment. With tools, we crave intimacy. This appetite for emotional resonance explains why users - when given a choice - prefer deep rapport over endless options. You can't have a relationship with a device whose limits are unknown to you, because without limits it keeps becoming something else."
Well knock me down. I agree with Eno. (Actually I often do.)
So do I.
freq_divider wrote:And by the way, in his brand new book, when Roads defines the specificity of electronic music (chapter one), he literaly starts like this: "Electronic Music opens the domain of composition from a closed homogenous set of notes to an unlimited universe of heterogenous sound objects."
And I happen to also agree with Curtis Roads. I think the rest of the book pretty much makes the point about what he meant by that first sentence.
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Post by kurodama »

Since I found this discussion, and the topics it touches very interesting and inspiring, I put together a little article on the matter for Horizontalpitch.

You can check it out here: http://www.horizontalpitch.com/2015/12/ ... ilities-2/
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