Why Pure-Data?

For computers sound file playback is rather easy, so easy that they can play many at the same time, also under certain conditions they can move from one file to another without any gap being heard.
This characteristics makes it suitable for performing "Aleatory Music".
Aleatory Music is not new, but it is new that a home appliance like the computer can recreate the given random factor of a musical composition and perform it.
For example a song could be divided in 3 parts, one sound file for each part, the computer replacing some kind of "lottery" or "dice" can generate the sequence 1, 3, 2 and playback the files in that order without any silence in between them. This is impossible with a turntable, with tape you will have to paste the 3 tapes each time and with a CD player the CD lens will have to move from one track to the other with a little silence between them. This example can easily be done with any media player with a random playlist option (winamp, itunes, etc.) but with limitations, one being that a playlist should be created for each song and another that only one file at a time could be played (for the example is enough), but this simple example gives 1 of 6 possible songs.
Being somehow an interpreter of it's own programming language, with PURE-DATA a lot more flexible or complex things can be done. Of course it is not intended to replace your favourite media player.
PURE-DATA is developed by Miller Puckette, pioneer in "computer music". (you can google "PURE-DATA" or "Miller Puckette" for more info.)

A better example of the "power" of an aleatory music piece will be the following:
2 folders, one called "flutes" an the other "birds", inside "flutes" 10 sound files containing 1 minute of melodies performed in flute each one different from the other 9, inside "birds" 10 sound files, each containing one minute of a certain bird singing, (10 different birds) and the following computer program translated to English:

"Randomly choose one file inside the folder "flute" and another one from the folder "birds", after you chose them start playing both at the same time."

This perform 1 of 100 possibilities of this same piece, essentially "bird and flute" but for each time you play it a certain bird and flute are associated.
This is no little thing in "the art of combining sounds" both for the artist and the audience.
This can be easily done with PURE-DATA and there's no need of a supercomputer, basically any XP or later computer will be fine.

Pure-Data is free software and its maintained by people who knows a lot of the matter. There are versions for windows, mac and linux.
Here a simple guide on how to install it.

  • Argentinian "Musique concrète" duo integrated by Andres Toro and Lucas Cordiviola formed in 2000, disbanded 2013. They live and work in Buenos Aires.
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