Deepware Brainwaves
The ‘Chord’ Machine

Purpose

This machine is the most complex and flexible of Deepware Brainwaves. Using it, you can make from a monophonic buzz to complex polyphonies that evolve according to rule you can program.

The Chord machine is divided in four parts that interact amongst them:

  • Tuning
  • Keyboard
  • Tracks
  • Composer

Tuning

It is possible to select the relationship of frequencies between notes, when there are more than one, choosing a tuning system or another. The available ones are:

  • Bach, the commonest tuning in contemporary music.
  • Pythagorean, used during the Middle Ages.
  • Just, used in ancient and folk music around the world.
People with no musical training will find very difficult to find the subtle differences amongst these tuning systems.

When pythagorean or just tuning systems are selected, the tonic is always taken from track 1.

Keyboard

It shows the current musical scale, and the notes being effectively played. Both scale and notes are editable:

  • Scale can be edited in any moment, because when a playing note stays out of the scale, the app puts it randomly within the scale at the next chord change.
  • Note edition is less flexible, because the number of notes is defined by the number of tracks (see below), and not the other way round.
The chord shown at the keyboard does not belong to any particular octave. Octaves are set at track level. This chord is a “floating” one and it only determines the relationship between notes.

Tracks

The number of tracks, that can be added or removed at wish, determine the number of notes in the chord.

The relationship between notes and tracks is dynamic, following the specified criterion.

Tracks can be “played” simultaneously or separately depending on whether the arpeggio button is active. In the latter case, the related slider can put the notes closer (like the strum of a guitar) or separate them to sound equally spaced in time.

Individual track

Every track is a submachine that even stores its own presets. The settings of each track are independent. The parameters are:

  • Waveform
    It can be sine, parabolic (a sine approximation with harmonics), triangular or square. The distortion slider is like the one at the Amplitude Modulator and only works in the same cases.
  • Continual/Dampened
    When the “bell” button is off, the track sounds like an organ. When it is on, like a piano. In the latter case, the slider defines the time in seconds for the volume becoming half in value.
  • Binaural frequency
    Each track has its own binaural frequency, so a single chord can cover many binaural frequencies at a time.
  • Slide time
    Time the track takes to get from one pitch to another.
  • Working octave
    The assigned note will be placed into the specified octave.

Every track has its own Amplitude Modulator, like other machines.

Composer

When active, we can set the bar length and specify a set of rules for transforming the current chord. This is the place where you can unleash your creativity.

The “transitions” (transformation rules) are added or removed using the corresponding octagonal buttons.

When you add a transition, it is always disabled, so you can configure it at your wish before enabling it.

Each transition has its own configurable triggers (M and N values) that follow the bar number shown at the top of the composer.

With enough ability and patience it is possible to program almost any song, although this system is aimed to improvisation.

The available transitions are:

Scalar transposition

It shifts the notes within the scale, as many as specified. You cannot set negative values. For example, to down 1 note into a 7-notes scale, you must indicate 6.

Chromatic transposition

It shifts the notes AND the scale a number of semitones. You cannot set negative values. For example, for lowering 2 semitones, you must indicate 10.

Note transposition

It selects a note or track, according to the first criterion, and replaces it using the second criterion.

You can get paradoxical results, since at times, replacing the most dissonant of a chord by the most consonant alternative is not always possible.

Chord mutation

It tries to change only one note from the chord in order to acquire the desired characteristic indicated by the selected criterion.

If it is not possible to make the transformation moving only one note, and the Recursivity button (snail icon) is disabled, this transition will not change anything.

If the Recursivity button is enabled, the system will move more than a note until attaining the desired result.

[c] Alberto Viñuela Miranda / Cranfcom 2013-2014