Tables & Waves: Intone

In the narrative in my mind about this release, this is a love letter to the lines forum.


This batch of music, made between 2019 and 2022, corresponds to a period of lines-inspired voracious learning. The interests represented by this release largely involve ways to explore algorithmic melody generation. I’m also inspired by what some here have referenced as “open source music” that enables others to replicate significant parts of the work. So I created a companion website to provide interactive examples of melody generating algorithms:

The site has my (mostly bloviating) notes about a few of these algorithms, example code and references to more info. Most importantly, you can play with the algorithms through menus on the web pages to hear how changing input parameters affects the melodies produced.

Press Release-y Stuff

The name Intone is a compact reference to two primary modes of working: intuiton & intent. Both modes are rooted in engaged exploration of musical tools. I’m in the camp that doesn’t have a fully formed vision for what to produce. I rely on half-baked “what ifs” and let revelation do its work.

The intuition tracks tend to be more immediate and based on tactile play with physical things: knobs and buttons on MIDI controllers and synths. They were made (at least in germinal stages) using simple, playful processes. Press some keys, hack together some melodies or chords, get a sequence going, move sliders and knobs and find the joy in listening and prodding. These intuitive explorations were often kick started by reading through tons of lines posts, picking up little diamonds in the rough:

Small little tips here and there about a particular setting in tools that I own have led to very productive moments of music making.

The intention tracks have a different relationship to the tools that made them. Tools were made first and then used to build sonic structures and then listen, rinse, repeat, hone. Here the processes are more deliberate insofar as patching in Max or writing code puts some time between the development and the listening. They they tended to be prompted by studying specific algorithms. The intent is encoded in a Max patch or some code, but with lots of wiggle room for play.

Some of the major areas of exploration for these algorithm explorations are based references made from lines posts for the infinity series, Tom Johnson’s book Self-Similar Melodies and even ephemeral projects referenced here but no longer active. I have done a lot of reading, hacking and musicking thanks to posts like these:

Finally, I have to mention how much inspiration I take from the Latest tracks + videos thread. I am pretty sure I have listened to everything that was posted there since I joined. Some pieces I love, some I don’t, but that is a sign of a wide range of diverse practices here and I always love the exposure to real people’s creative work. Thanks, everyone, for sharing.