Michael Brecker Effect (Top Note Input)

Official support for: mucoder.net
Enkerli
KVRist
79 posts since 31 Jan, 2017

Post Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:30 am

Really been enjoying tonespace. For a monophonic instrument like a wind controller, it’s really amazing to be able to play diverse chords. There’s chord support included in some DAWs (including Ableton Live), but tonespace gives a lot more control over what those chords can be and it makes for a lot of variety.
Of course, the fact that the plugin/app is free (as in beer) is very welcome, for struggling musicians. Will surely donate some money towards it after a paid gig using it.

So, it’s a bit strange to request a feature from a free tool but it might just be a bit of food for thought. What if tonespace could take MIDI input as the top note instead of the root? This could allow for an effect very similar to that achieved by EWI player Michael Brecker in some performances.

There’s an app doing something similar. “Real-Time MIDI Harmonizer” by Johan Looijenga:
http://www.johanlooijenga.com/downloads ... nizer.html. At 30€, it’s a bit out of my price range, for now. And it’s not clear to me that it integrates as well in DAWs as tonespace does. It does have several neat features, but most of them aren’t important for me. The one feature which does make a difference is that it builds chords under the input note instead of above it. Sounds like Michael Brecker himself may have used it. From videos of it, it does sound like it easily achieves that effect.

The “top note input” is especially relevant with random chords because you could then play a melody and have something of a basso continuo. Otherwise, something similar could be achieved with a deterministic setting (such as a chord cycle): you play the root notes knowing the top notes you want in a melody. But that can be very confusing and the results would be the same every time, which isn’t exactly the point.

Alternatively, it’d be neat to specify some other order for the cycle or to somehow send data to the app/plugin telling which chords are desired. But then, it can get pretty complicated, if not complex.

Started playing around with Pure Data. Johan’s plugin was written in Max/MSP, it sounds like, and it shouldn’t be too hard to build a basic version of the same in Pd. As a dabbler, it might help me learn more about interesting stuff. It was really simple enough to create a very basic patch which adds fixed intervals to the input (either up or down). The challenge would be to modify the chords according to some rules. Sounds likely that such a patch would already be available. Have yet to find it. Could be a useful addition to tonespace.

But, again, the tonespace plugin and app are great as they are. Been having way too much fun improvising chords with them.

My particular setup gets a bit convoluted: a WX-11 driving tonespace in Ableton Live which sends the MIDI to a separate track containing Studiomux which then records to a separate audio track. Studiomux then feeds the MIDI from tonespace to an iOS app like iWavestation or Sunrizer (low latency) and brings back the audio to Live (with more latency). Because of this, it’d be particularly neat to find an iOS equivalent for tonespace but my searches so far haven’t led me to anything as powerful and neat.

So, congrats to mucoder for a really powerful product and thank you so much for making it available at no cost. Will also give hypercyclic a try, though it’s probably less useful for the keyboard-challenged among us.

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