Use Atonal Harmony

  1. How to do it:
    1. Get very acquainted with generators, and particularly with the Atonal Harmony generator. Consult these articles, preferably in this order:
    2. Practice: following the instructions in How To Generate Music, use the Atonal Harmony generator to produce various spans of music that employ arbitrary configurations. Observe these guides when adjusting generator parameters:
      • Generic rules:
        • avoid median values by and large; they tend to translate to even distribution, which is a short path to dull music; instead, favor values in the first or last third of the available range;
        • favor smaller subsets; this is prone to heighten contrasts, which is good for comprehensibility;
        • when allocating weights to the elements of a subset, make sure to segregate them in very few distinct classes: two works best (leader and followers) but three is also acceptable (leader, followers and stray). The essential point here is that a single element in your subset must have the greatest weight, followed, at considerable distance, by all the others. This loads the generated music with a sense of bearing, aim or direction and renders it more acceptable to human listeners;
        • whenever available, include rests; otherwise, craft the note values distribution the way that occasional, significantly larger durations do occur; this conveys a sense of breath to your melody and eases its perception.
      • Atonal Harmony specific rules:
        • bear in mind, when populating the Harmonic ranks parameter, that the harmonic intervals you pick here are both stacked upon each other and overlapped, in various combinations. When building a chord, MAIDENS can use the interval sizes chosen by you either in relation to the bass or to the next lower pitch available. For instance, if you only added minor third – major sixth, aka 3m6M to Harmonic ranks, the chords built over C can be — as you expected — C-Eb-Gb, C-A-F#, C-Eb-C2 or C-A-C2, but also C-Eb-A and even C-A-Eb, because MAIDENS is free to use octave doubling or switching. If you also added major third – minor sixth, aka 3M6m you would get the full range of triad qualities: major, minor, diminished or augmented, but also some added tone chords;
        • when setting up Durations, give higher weights to the longer note values: halves (minims) or quarters (crotchets), as they are usually more suitable to support chord progressions than eighths (quavers) or sixteenths (semiquavers). Whole notes (semibreves) should be included with very low weights, as they are ideal as a fermata equivalent. At times, when not doing vocal music and four-part harmony, the inclusion of (very) short note values can produce interesting effects, especially if their weight is the same as the dominant note’s weight;
        • use Lowest permitted note and Highest permitted note so that they encompass the upper two thirds of the current instrument’s range, to prevent your choral from turning into dark clusters — unless, of course, this is what you need in your specific situation;
        • keep Analysis window and Deterministics strength as high as your CPU can handle.
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