Generating and Manipulating Sound

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Abstract

Music making and technological development has always been connected. The digital revolution has made advanced music production, writing and distribution tools universally accessible. New intelligent tools built on machine learning are entering the market potentially changing how we create music and interact with creative content.

The aim of this thesis project has been to find alternatives to existing interaction models manifested in modern DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations). Ideas developed through rough sketches and simple prototypes—the outcome consists of three concept videos proposing changes to three moments in the workflow of songwriters and producers.

Inspiration and Method

This thesis started with an idea of exploring the borderland between computer generated music and human creativity. Through desk research and interviews I learned that computational creativity exist and that there is a lot of different ways of defining creativity and art. Creating creative computers should not aim to replace humans creative abilities—it is rather about automating and creating tools that enhance our creative abilities.

To understand how songwriters and producers work the subject were investigated through semi-structured contextual interviews. The different ways of working and using tools were mapped out and potential opportunity areas were identified. This thesis have been a project that through sketching, mock-ups and simple prototypes questions how we use digital tools in music production. These concepts and sketches were continuously brought back to experts for feedback.

Result

The outcome consists of three concepts. They are presented through three short videos. These videos are now shared with a bigger audience and will act as an conversation starter for people interested in tools for digital music production.

1. Automating parts of the songwriting process and create a collaborative workflow between a you and a computer—through a conversational user interface.

2. The tune concept is a pressure sensitive touch surface that let you manipulate sound. It is an adaptive system that automatically detects active controls in your DAW—it maps these active controls from your computer screen down to a touch pad.  

3. The Find concept changes the way you organise and look for sound files. It is a automatised process where a software helps you compare different sounds to each other. It takes away most labels and focuses on mapping sound according to its auditory profile.