Cristyn Magnus composer

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Eartudes

Eartudes are a series of personal etudes. They can be performed alone or by the audience in a concert setting. The pieces can only be heard by the performer. Sounds are produced by the hands on the body. Sounds are filtered ambient sounds made with the hands on the ears, or very soft sounds made with the hands on the body that are transmitted to the ears through the body rather than the air. Eartude 1 is for solo ear; Eartude 2 is for stereo ears; Eartude 3 is for the whole head. Notation is animated.

Click the title button below to play Eartude 1.

eartude1-cmagnus

Behind Eartudes

Eartudes are written in Flash, which is designed for animation. It became clear early on that Flash might be perfectly lovely for animators who are used to thinking in frames, but it requires a way of thinking that is completely counter to audio software conventions. For instance, I expect software to do things like scale time automatically instead of first having to do the calculation myself then manually dragging the key frames.

I muddled through using the animation interface for Eartude 1. But as I began Eartude 2 I found myself constantly fighting the pressure to sacrifice compositional choices I'd made in order to avoid having to wrestle with the Flash interface. This would, of course, have been unacceptable. So I did what any good computer musician would do. I developed my own markup language so I could write my score in a text file. I built an actionscript interpreter so Flash would automatically render the scored animation for me.

Future animated scores can now be written as text scores and rendered without additional animating. As an added bonus, text-based scores could be re-rendered in another environment just by writing a new interpreter should Flash fall out of favor, as technologies eventually do.