Zora, AIAC

I had nothing but final projects my last semester at Cornell, and my composition class was no exception. I had a tough time deciding what exactly to write, but I finally settled on using a song from Majora's Mask as part of my theme and worked from there. Specifically, I took the first 10 or so notes from the melody of this song and stretched them out over a longer timespan

We had our pieces performed by (mostly) faculty of the department in a quasi-concert. Below is the part of my piece that they were best able to play (which is also the main melody taken from MM):

There were a number of issues with the piece that prevented the players from performing better, chief among them the fact that the piece is in G# minor. Other problems included hard-to-read enharmonic spellings and rest rhythms. Also towards the end, the piano part becomes virtually impossible to play. You can check out the score to see what I mean (pdf).

If it were going to be performed again, these issues would be pretty easily remedied by rewriting the piece in a different key. Luckily midi doesn't have some of the problems human performers do, so I put a midi representation of the score if you're interested in hearing the piece in its entirety.


Adventures in Processing

Finally, Chelsea's and my game is done! It's called Universe, and you can read more about it and download it from the Universe website. Once the source code is cleaner, I'll tell you more about the game itself. I did however, want to mention a few surprising things about Processing 1.0 that I learned.

I'd say the most annoying part of this project was the camera. It made much more sense from a game implementation perspective to rotate the camera instead of rotating each individual celestial body. But in order to rotate and translate the camera, Processing has to be in 3D opengl mode... which means the resulting shapes/images can't be antialiased (at least this is what Chelsea tells me). Huh.

Also to my surprise (though in retrospective it makes perfect sense), Processing is NOT meant for audio. Here I thought Processing was very geared towards audio/visual combinations and it is, as long as the combination is mostly visual. While I adore the audio library minim, and it's come a long way, I still couldn't find simple things...like a pitch shifter.

Some of my complaints stem from the fact that processing is still Java, and Java is far from ideal for game making. Lesson learned. Another things I don't like about processing is its IDE, which is fairly limited when compared with my Java IDE of choice, Eclipse. The good folks at Create Digital Music pointed out that there is an eclipse plugin, but I haven't checked it out yet, so maybe that's easier to use.

Now that I better understand what processing is capable of, I'd probably use again for either a) very simple/visual java applets (just for fun) or b) for the visual end of an audio project built in another program. Specifically I'm thinking a Max/MSP or PD patch with communication to processing via Open Sound Control could work wonders.