Audiobus: Your virtual music studio.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

SO Strange... (musing)

What are “wrong” notes? I play in an arbitrary scale of frequency ratioed patterns and it sounds cohesive. I play a note sharp or flat not in the scale and it sounds “off”.

Wait a few moments and play the “wrong” note in another frequency ratioed pattern and it sounds like it belongs. Particularly vexing if the note which was previously wrong is the root or tonic/starting tone of the new pattern.

Like I said, musings.

Comments

  • It's all about the context. Right or wrong cannot be answered by a simple formula.
    Listening to your favorite kind of music and never stopping to discover new great material can help tremendously.

  • edited August 16

    @audiblevideo Tension and release.

    @rs2000 is absolutely correct - notes sound off given the context in which they are placed. This context can be within a melody (notes on either side of the one in question provide a departure point and destination) or within the harmony (perhaps a backing chord) or with the bass.

    I always think of it in terms of how I'm resolving something. You can play an entire solo 1/2 step above the key center of a given tune and it'll sound like you're the King of Jazz if you resolve it strongly back to the key center. If not, it sounds like crap.

    Here's my favorite example: in the solo section of Herbie Hancock's Chameleon, he ends up 1/2 step out of key at the very end. So what does he do? He RIDES THE HELL OUT OF IT, before playing the last time through against the correct key center (start listening around 6:48):

    One of my old teachers liked the phrase "Strong and Wrong". If you find you hit a "bad" note, rather than quickly switching to something "better" and telegraphing to the audience that you made a mistake, just play the same "bad" note over and over again until it starts to sound like you did it on purpose ;) If you're gonna hit a bad note, make sure you play it with GUSTO!

    There's no bad notes, sir - there's only JAZZ @linearlineman

    :D

  • Did I say that @Daveypoo, or are you tellin’ me? My teacher, Connie Crothers, told me she gave a great concert and on the last chord she hit a real clunker. Well, being Connie, she threw her head back and laughed. Standing ovation and a couple came up to her and said “great concert! And that final chord!!!
    Beauty is as beauty does.

  • edited August 17

    It's a good question.

    If I had to create a hypothesis to explain the concept of a bad note. I'd start from a perspective of vocalization in animal behavior.

    We(g) know that birds are capable of "singing notes" using complimentary frequencies. Some bird songs are sung in complimentary scales. So I think we have to assume that the use of various sounds with harmonizing pitch exists in nature as a form of communication.

    I might also point to the use of "songs" by animals such as whales and dolphins, and again we see harmonic relationships between notes.

    Other animals might have less music-like tonality to their voices like, Cats, Wolves, and Cows.

    But I think what most animals seem to have in common. Is that a "content" or "happy" animal, or bird, tends to use it's voice in more uniform way than the animal or bird that is under some kind of stress.

    If anyone ever accidentally stepped on their cat or dogs tail, you know that the sound is not as steady in pitch as the voice of a happy animal.

    So my hypothesis is based in the idea that animals use a more steady vocal tonality for expressing contentment. But non-uniform vocalizations are more common for expressing alarm or stress.

    Even if I think about a bird trying to drive some predator away from it's nest. The vocalizations are chaotic and non-harmonic, compared to the same bird happily singing on a branch at sunrise.

    Thus, I think "bad notes" are universal in the animal kingdom, as a way to express alarm, and unhappiness.

    So my hypothesis is that when people hear "bad notes" it triggers an instinctive reaction associated with something unpleasant. More steady notes in harmony, tend to convey a sense of contentment, and well being.

  • @LinearLineman said:
    Did I say that @Daveypoo, or are you tellin’ me? My teacher, Connie Crothers, told me she gave a great concert and on the last chord she hit a real clunker. Well, being Connie, she threw her head back and laughed. Standing ovation and a couple came up to her and said “great concert! And that final chord!!!
    Beauty is as beauty does.

    Couldn't resist busting your chops a bit, sir 😉

  • I love your theory @horsetrainer, but I don't necessarily think a sound of alarm or unhappiness has to be a "bad" note. I think these sounds have their place in music (tho not to everyone's ears). We train ourselves to love noxious cheeses, enjoy rollercoasters, look at violence. Unlike other animals, human brains seem to have a perverse pleasure in extremes. Especially in music where the previous generation often hears what is currently adored as caterwauling.

  • We "tune our ears" ... some can do so very quickly - others find it very difficult ... but if you listen to birds a lot or Indian or Japanese music say, it actually gets a bit blurry what sounds right and "in-tune"... stretches one's ears ... like aural yoga.

    I've got a bizarre organic random sound generator on-site - a little nuclear family of Australian magpies in a nest 10 feet from my backdoor at eye level. They make a range of complex warbling, yodeling calls described as "carolling" - when not nesting they can get up a deafening performance when there's 20 or more singing away - sort of together - at times. It's very improvisational and free-form but I think there are rules of a sort . Have a listen to the first clip here: http://www.magpieaholic.com/freebies/ Can spend a lot of effort programming a gadget to churn out wild stuff like that.

    The musical structure - notions like key and scale - slides around a lot but they sort of harmonise - in fact that's central to the whole business - how bonds are formed and identity expressed. Interestingly they seem far more concerned with rhythm and a call and response arrangement than I would have first thought.

    Music but not as we know it, Jim. Playing havoc with my whistling.

  • edited August 17

    @LinearLineman said:
    I love your theory @horsetrainer, but I don't necessarily think a sound of alarm or unhappiness has to be a "bad" note. I think these sounds have their place in music (tho not to everyone's ears). We train ourselves to love noxious cheeses, enjoy rollercoasters, look at violence. Unlike other animals, human brains seem to have a perverse pleasure in extremes. Especially in music where the previous generation often hears what is currently adored as caterwauling.

    Thanks. :)

    To look into this hypothesis further, I think we(g) need examples of very "extreme" music to study and see if there are any elements of "calm" that may be somehow interacting with the elements of "extreme".

    A theory based on this hypothesis might predict that "extreme" must be contrasted with elements of "calm".

    What's the most "extreme" music you can think of?

  • @Soundscaper said:
    We "tune our ears" ... some can do so very quickly - others find it very difficult ... but if you listen to birds a lot or Indian or Japanese music say, it actually gets a bit blurry what sounds right and "in-tune"... stretches one's ears ... like aural yoga.

    I've got a bizarre organic random sound generator on-site - a little nuclear family of Australian magpies in a nest 10 feet from my backdoor at eye level. They make a range of complex warbling, yodeling calls described as "carolling" - when not nesting they can get up a deafening performance when there's 20 or more singing away - sort of together - at times. It's very improvisational and free-form but I think there are rules of a sort . Have a listen to the first clip here: http://www.magpieaholic.com/freebies/ Can spend a lot of effort programming a gadget to churn out wild stuff like that.

    The musical structure - notions like key and scale - slides around a lot but they sort of harmonise - in fact that's central to the whole business - how bonds are formed and identity expressed. Interestingly they seem far more concerned with rhythm and a call and response arrangement than I would have first thought.

    Music but not as we know it, Jim. Playing havoc with my whistling.

    That is so cool!
    I love bird songs/sounds. :)

  • Most extreme music : Black midi

  • @horsetrainer, I immediately thought of the music from the movie Dunkirk. There is a battle scene where this klaxon like alarm (Dive! Dive!) is going on for so long that it made my skin crawl after a while. Also the Psycho violin screech. I guess movie music is fodder for examples cause it often evokes unpleasant feelings to enhance the action. Still, as in the Psycho example, very listenable... and upon repetition we look for it.

  • We are pattern seekers. Frequencies that are harmonically related are a one pattern. Rhythm is another. Repetition is one more.
    Some “contradictory” thought to the pattern seeking statement: We also enjoy novelty and surprise.

    So hypothetically one could take the most discordant of frequencies (a chord which no simple ratio of harmonics) go bang bang bang ... bang in a rhythmic pattern and end on say for instance on an augmented c minor chord and call it music.

    A related thing to these thoughts is the Sonification of “non musical” data, pictures, graphs, or occurrences that happen outside of the bounds of our unassisted perception.

    Sometimes it’s just the stuff moved to where our senses are calibrated like the vid below

    Other times it data to varying degrees put through the wringer to give an more structured outcome
    Oh Tantacrul your vocabulary cracks me up

  • edited August 17

    @LinearLineman said:
    @horsetrainer, I immediately thought of the music from the movie Dunkirk. There is a battle scene where this klaxon like alarm (Dive! Dive!) is going on for so long that it made my skin crawl after a while. Also the Psycho violin screech. I guess movie music is fodder for examples cause it often evokes unpleasant feelings to enhance the action. Still, as in the Psycho example, very listenable... and upon repetition we look for it.

    I'd speculate that the Psycho violin screech might fit the theory because it resolves to a series of simple long cello base notes in the end.

    But if we(g) take the violin screech on its own. I'd point out the silence between the notes, and speculate that the silence may be comparable to the way negative space is used in visual art.

    In this case the silence provides a kind of rhythm of silence between the screech notes. Those intervals of silence might be viewed as a calm which "frames" the extremeness of the screech notes. Removing the intervals of silence and having just a long continuous screeching violin, might not be as successful in invoking the same degree of tension.

    Is this the Dunkirk part beginning at time mark 19:40?

    Dunkirk Soundtrack

    I think this is interesting because it seems very similar to violin screech part from Psycho. In that they both utilize a pause between the sounds of tension. The first Psycho example utilized science. Then the Dunkirk example uses a crescendo of rising strings that resolves into a 5 second silent pause, before proceeding into a rhythm of a muted sort of metallic ringing synth sound, divided by silent pauses.

    I find this kind of deep investigation into the ways music can be structured to convey strong emotion, to be really interesting. Thanks for sharing your insights! :)

  • Yes, @horsetrainer, that's the spot. It gives me shivers even over my iPad4,speakers. This is the famous Shepherd's tone underneath it discussed in another thread. A never ending illusion of rising.

  • edited August 17

    @audiblevideo said:
    We are pattern seekers.

    Indeed!

    @horsetrainer said:
    What's the most "extreme" music you can think of?

    The music that I cannot recognize any structure in.
    Example: Pat Metheny's album "Zero Tolerance For Silence" from 1994.

    PS: I love this thread :smiley:

  • @rs2000 said:
    The music that I cannot recognize any structure in.
    Example: Pat Metheny's album "Zero Tolerance For Silence" from 1994.

    That right there is the most extreme music I've ever heard.
    At that point, I think we(g) have to start forming our own opinions on what seperates music from chaotic noise....

  • @audiblevideo said:
    We are pattern seekers. Frequencies that are harmonically related are a one pattern. Rhythm is another. Repetition is one more.
    Some “contradictory” thought to the pattern seeking statement: We also enjoy novelty and surprise.

    So hypothetically one could take the most discordant of frequencies (a chord which no simple ratio of harmonics) go bang bang bang ... bang in a rhythmic pattern and end on say for instance on an augmented c minor chord and call it music.

    A related thing to these thoughts is the Sonification of “non musical” data, pictures, graphs, or occurrences that happen outside of the bounds of our unassisted perception.

    Sometimes it’s just the stuff moved to where our senses are calibrated like the vid below

    Other times it data to varying degrees put through the wringer to give an more structured outcome
    Oh Tantacrul your vocabulary cracks me up

    Your post makes me think about the ways people use words to communicate. Maybe music and words are similar. Each word is something of a unit of information, and we string them together into patterns to form ideas.

    Musical notes together with timbre, may be sort of analogous to how words are used in sentences. However, the notes and timbers don't provide exact meaning the way words do.

    But if we(g) listen to people communicating in languages we don't understand, sometimes we can sense a general feeling of what the conversation is about by tone of voice, calmness or excitement, gentleness or argument. Much of how people express their emotion within a sentence seems to involve the tones, inflections, and intensities of how the words are said.

    Maybe the notes, tones, and timbres of music, are like the notes, tones, and timbres of a conversation absent the actual words?

    As an experiment we(g) could record two people having a heated argument, and also record the banter exchanged by two people in love. Then apply musical filters and audio tools to each conversation to extract the notes, tones, and timbres from the words of each conversation. Then as a test we(g) let random people listen to the results and see if they can tell which "music" is derived out of the heated argument, and which "music" is derived out of the loving conversation.

    I kind of think most people might be able to tell which is from which.

    Maybe music evolved in tandem with language? We know that animals were vocalizing long before people existed. Primates communicate vocally. It might be that as language evolved, it evolved over a pre-existing layer of an earlier understanding of communicating with vocal tones. Which could make sense because people can sing songs and melodies by humming, or by using steady vocal tones without any need for words.

    It might be interesting to take a scientific look at comparing music with the emotions conveyed by vocal inflections, and then look at various pieces of popular music, and attempt to analyze them to see if there are underling emotional patterns being expressed within music, in some predictable way.

    Having an understanding of this could also be a applicable to writing music.

  • @horsetrainer

    the notes and timbers don't provide EXACT meaning the way words do.

    😂🤣😂🤣

    My em-PHA-sis. I'm pointing this out, not to pick on you or because I don't understand what you're trying to say, but because how many blow-outs on this very forum have happened because of people not agreeing on the meaning of words.

    😉

  • But if we(g) listen to people communicating in languages we don't understand, sometimes we can sense a general feeling of what the conversation is about by tone of voice, calmness or excitement, gentleness or argument. Much of how people express their emotion within a sentence seems to involve the tones, inflections, and intensities of how the words are said.

    Tone. yup tone is important. Also as a point of detail I have noticed that people who are arguing often don't leave space for the other person to talk - or if they do they then seize it immediately for rebuttal.

    In contrast those who "love" often leave plenty of space.

    Now, go and use this compositionally.

  • @Soundscaper

    Super cool

    I've got a bizarre organic random sound generator on-site - a little nuclear family of Australian magpies in a nest 10 feet from my backdoor at eye level. They make a range of complex warbling, yodeling calls described as "carolling" - when not nesting they can get up a deafening performance when there's 20 or more singing away - sort of together - at times. It's very improvisational and free-form but I think there are rules of a sort . Have a listen to the first clip here: http://www.magpieaholic.com/freebies/ Can spend a lot of effort programming a gadget to churn out wild stuff like that.

  • Another musing related to the signal to noise, meaning, tuneful, idea

    Communication theory attempts to explain the production of information, how this information is transmitted, the methods used to convey it, and how meaning is thereby created and shared.

    Theories make certain assumptions about a phenomenon – in this case, communication – and apply rules (axioms) which predict how the phenomenon will behave, if the basic assumptions are correct.

    For example in Information Theory (Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver), it is assumed that noise is the enemy of information. So, it is proposed that noise reduces information-carrying capacity. This can be tested, for example, by having someone read a text to another in a quiet library, in a crowded coffee shop, and at a rock concert, and then quizzing them on their understanding of the text. The theory predicts that as the amount of environmental noise increases so the amount of information transmitted will be reduced. Indeed, it is highly likely that the person hearing the text spoken in the library will have received and understood more of the information contained in the text than the person hearing it at the rock concert. This ability to predict behavior/outcomes – based on the assumptions and axioms – which can then be tested, is a characteristic of all theories.

    more at https://www.sltinfo.com/communication-theory/

  • @audiblevideo said:
    @horsetrainer

    the notes and timbers don't provide EXACT meaning the way words do.

    😂🤣😂🤣

    My em-PHA-sis. I'm pointing this out, not to pick on you or because I don't understand what you're trying to say, but because how many blow-outs on this very forum have happened because of people not agreeing on the meaning of words.

    😉

    :)

    Maybe sometimes it's because written words lack the intonation/modulation/pitch layer of information that's only available when listening to a spoken voice?
    ...

    On the subject of bird songs....

    I wonder what it might sound like to take some interesting bird songs and, first apply time stretching to increase the note lengths. Then quantize the notes. Then take that result and run it through auto tune?

    Maybe also experiment by taking the final result and running it through a pitch to midi conversation tool. Then use the resulting Midi file to play a synth?

  • @horsetrainer

    On the subject of bird songs....

    Do this

    I wonder what it might sound like to take some interesting bird songs and, first apply time stretching to increase the note lengths. Then quantize the notes.

    Don't do this

    Then take that result and run it through auto tune?

    Amazing Slow Downer works really well for stuff like this.

  • Autotune!!! Dreadful abominable gadget ... makes musical sausages.

    Dead right on the Information Theory, Audible - all about patterns - recognising and anticipating them - even fabricating them. Central to music, maths, language, science, reason and logic. Very much so with patterns of rhythm and pitch - people expect that fourth beat in a bar to be there next bar - the expect a melody to follow a key or a scale structure of some sort. Turns it into a language - even with those who "aren't at all musical". Listening is also musical. The trick is to tweak and stretch those norms and expectations just enough - pepper it with something unexpected or different - a hook.

    Australian birds are very interesting musically - boffins who know believe Australia is where birdsong actually began back in dinosaur days. The whole place still runs on birdsong - at least away from cities - just constant ... lots of interesting ways of sharing congested bandwidths. Even evidence of bandshifting to avoid new traffic noise fer instance.

    Some excellent feathered samplers: Lots of these in the hills behind me here.

    What these lyrebird fellers are actually doing is reciting their collection, their repertoire, Pavarotti style - build their own stage too. They collect the loudest most interesting stuff that they have on their vast territory ... boasting to the gals - like a lot of musicians - loud too! Absurdly loud for a smallish bird.

    I knew one that did a full timber-mill in operation. The mill closed 20 years before. The best sounds - the loudest - can get passed down between generations... only the biggest strongest birds can pull off a 10' spinning saw blade ringing through the mist. Makes sense, Tinder-wise. Also explains why they don't "do" human voices - not repetitive.

    No practice, warm-ups or rehearsals ... an unusual learning technique - multiple takes ... it has to be a sound they hear a lot - is repeated - then one morning they just shoot a full-blown copy back. Hard to spot the differences on an spectrum analyser.

    Any future engineers thinking of designing a neural sampler - it looks like that lyrebird, I reckon - so stick some fancy feathers on it.

  • @Daveypoo said:

    One of my old teachers liked the phrase "Strong and Wrong". If you find you hit a "bad" note, rather than quickly switching to something "better" and telegraphing to the audience that you made a mistake, just play the same "bad" note over and over again until it starts to sound like you did it on purpose ;) If you're gonna hit a bad note, make sure you play it with GUSTO!

    There's no bad notes, sir - there's only JAZZ @linearlineman

    :D

    standard ‘jazz procedure’ right there

    Sun Ra was a master at the ‘wrong’ note exploration technique

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