Disquiet Junto Project 0352: Layering Permutations

Disquiet Junto Project 0352: Layering Permutations
The Assignment: Play something melodic atop two variations.

Step 1: The idea is to have a simple melody of some sort, and to then have two variations on that melody play simultaneous with it. The key word here is “melody.”

Step 2: Come up with a melody, and then come up with means to create variations on it. Think of the variations as permutations of the melody. Try to have the variations not veer too far from the original. As you develop the variations, think about relative balance between the three layers.

Step 3: Record a short piece of music in which the three layers are stacked atop each other. You might perform the layers separately and then combine them, or you might have a means for them to play simultaneously. You might have the balance between the tracks remain static throughout, or you may change relative volume at times.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0352” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0352” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co.

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, October 1, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the early evening, California time, on Thursday, September 27, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0352” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Context: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 352nd weekly Disquiet Junto project (Layering Permutations / The Assignment: Play something melodic atop two variations) at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet to join in.

Image associated with this project is by John Getchel, used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license:




The project is now live.

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Simple as can be descending progression/melody played into Logic and used as is. First track is Omnisphere piano. MIDI was copied to two new tracks, and then randomised within the original key. Two other tracks are random Kontakt instruments. Cheese. :slight_smile:


I’m going back to remix my vaults again, same source as the recent junto 348.
It’s a piano playing a melody and a couple of variations over long echoes of the same melody, creating superimpositions that are repetitive yet always changing.

This is a solo piano performance by DD.

This track comes from an unreleased series I created a while ago titled Auto-Counterpoint where a single melody superimposed itself by the use of very long delays w/ infinite decay and Revox tape machines.

So I wrote a melody with some variations (melodic changes, permutations, octave shifts, rhythmic changes) played the whole thing a couple of times feeding 4 or 5 delay or revox lines that recorded to additional tracks.
In the end I’ve got a 10 minute mess of 5 tracks with the same measures repeated over themselves, a pandemonium of repetitions and superimpositions.

Then I made edits, creative use of the delete button and got a reasonable track.

As with the other auto-counterpoint pieces, I performed this in 10 minutes, and edit took several days to finish…

Image by Joel Filipe




The playlist is now rolling:



So I tried a technique. It is what it is. Don’t give it too much time.

I worked with midi loops in Ableton.

  1. Bass introduces melody. (bar 1-2)
  2. Piano picks it up (bar 3)
  3. Strings pick it up (bar 4)
  4. The drifting apart starts – I’m making the piano loop and the strings loop 1/16 shorter and 1/16 longer. The bass stays the same.

(My hope was to generate beautiful chords, oh well).

I automated some effects. Put an LFO on the strings reverb decay. Had some other instruments double the piano and strings loop. And finally some lofi drums to prevent death from boredom.



i followed the instructions but maybe it seems like i havent. doesnt sound how i was expecting.

i had a random arpeggio going through phonec and ddly. the delay confuses the sound possibly.

had another arp running panned 20% left random module pitched up (fifths)
and another 20% right pitched down. both fading in. not as much separation as i thought.


Really beautiful! Hearing this makes me want to come up with another entry!

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For this weeks contribution I utilized a Roli songmaker kit and the Noise application to create a melody that I played with the keys and a 2nd variation with the block. I only played F;A; Bb;Eb in different variations with in the melody. I used the same colors with in the block to build the melody. I then exported this to Abelton where I utilized clip mode to duplicate a few of the clips and modify the tempo and tone of them. I then played thru the variations in multiple layers. I then EQ’d a few of the tracks independently prior to melding them together. I hope you enjoy.



I made my melody by putting down a beat (a Meters break and a drum machine) and improvising on top of it using the aQWERTYon:


I set it to B harmonic minor, which best matched both the underlying beat and my mood. I made the first melody by recording an improvisation, which I then cleaned up a little via quantization. I created my first variation by playing along with the original, trying to follow it as best I could based on my memory of how it went. Then I made the second variation by playing on top of the previous two tracks. What you’re hearing is more or less the sequence of ideas as I recorded them.


Marc you missed me on the playlist (my fault, a typo on the title…)
it is corrected now.

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I took a short melody I had created from a graphic score in #disquiet0196 which had some dissonance in it, slowed it down for variation 1, and raised the slowed-down one 3 semitones for variation 2. Added a chainlink fence to var 1, and added the No. 3 bus to var 2. Then layered and staggered the vars with the original, which created some additional sort-of-melodies in the midst.


Thanks. Just added it. Much appreciated.

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I played something kinda random on a kalimba, then edited the timing of the results three times, so all variations are the same notes in the same order, but one is 15 bars, one is 14 bars, and the third is 13 bars long. Then I let them loop so they shift in phase with each other.

I felt like it needed a bit more of an anchor, so I sent the combo of all 3 melodies into a sample and hold type contraption, pitched down 2 octaves, EQed, compressed.

Near the end I bring in a reverbed layer of one melody, down 1 octave, and a delayed layer of another melody, up 1 octave.



Some emergent phenomena.



Variations of a simple melody (C4, Eb4, D4, Bb3) are modulating the pitch of two samplers and the delay time of the reverb. The melody is kinda buried but it’s there. The first sampler has three voices playing the sample with three different phases. The second sampler is playing a 4th below the first sampler and at a faster tempo. This is all done in SuperCollider. The sample is from https://freesound.org/people/juskiddink/sounds/109193/ used under CC license.



Layers takes some basic variations on a very simple melody (D, G, A, F / D, G, F, A) played three different synths (two through a sequencer, the other through an internal sequencer) and recorded here in one take using the volume slides only for the most part, with a few other things being tweaked at the end. I’m using preset sounds on the synths, and the delay is the built in one on the desk.



Next time you misplace your keys, try thinking like an ant.

Ants solve problems collectively by secreting messages to other ants. When an ant finds a source of food, it walks back to the colony leaving pheromone markers. As other ants discover that the pheromone trail leads to food, they populate the path with their own markers. The more ants who travel the path, the more pheromones are dropped. Once the food source is depleted, the ants cease populating the trail and any remaining pheromones slowly decay.

Scientists who study this behavior refer to something called the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) metaheuristic. That’s a fancy way of saying that ants tend to prefer shorter trails with stronger pheromones, not unlike how computer algorithms disambiguate search terms. When someone types the word “cars” into Google, for example, it’s important to differentiate the intended task of buying an automobile from watching a movie or listening to a 1980’s new wave band.

For this piece, Suss Müsik treated a single piano melody as an “algorithm” by layering each permutation. As the base path is developed, other instruments randomly travel outside the melody, perhaps resembling how ants continue scouting for additional food sources. The sequence ultimately “optimizes” with all musical pheromones aligning toward a single discovery.

The piece is titled Pheromones and composed for piano, violin, woodwinds, cello and brass.


Suss Müsik went back to the vaults as well. Great work as always.