Use Atonal Line

  1. How to do it:
    1. Get very acquainted with generators, and particularly with the Atonal Line generator. Consult these articles, preferably in this order:
    2. Practice: following the instructions in How To Generate Music, use the Atonal Line 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 Line specific rules:
        • favor higher values in Initial direction weight, in the range of 60-90%; this gives more obviousness to your melody;
        • favor to Use rests;
        • a Notes to rests ratio in the range of 65-85% should work best for most applications;
        • avoid setting Climax point to 0% or 100%; values in the ranges of 20%-40% or 60%-80% tend to create tunes with more comprehensive melodic profiles;
        • don’t overlook setting up the Durations; poorly chosen durations can render an (otherwise promising) line unintelligible; usually, it works best to lock onto a single (primary) duration and give it the highest available weight; then, choose a couple more durations and give them significantly lower weights (with respect to the primary duration) but in pretty much the same range. Also, less is more: using three durations will make for clearer rhythms than four or five;
        • when deciding on the Step motion intervals to use, keep these rules at hand:
          • scarcely use the perfect prime (1p), unless you carefully programmed the Durations section, the way that very interesting rhythmic patterns have a chance to occur; giving a significant weight to 1p will likely result in bland melodies that mindlessly keep repeating pitches; on the other hand, omitting it entirely, will introduce a certain restlessness to generated material which might fatigue the listener if used on large areas; including the 1p and giving it the smallest weight should generally work best;
          • ever since Debussy, virtually any succession of major seconds (2M) means the hexatonal scale; in western music, the hexatonal has got a well-established connection to hopefulness, light and equidistance; if you plan on only using 2M, you ought to assume a certain disengagement and “Debussy-esque” sound from your generated tune;
          • subsequent minor seconds (2m), since the dawns of the 16th Century, mean passus duriusculus, which has been for centuries an icon for sorrow and grief; if you plan on only using 2p, expect a certain tension from your resulting melody;
          • for most application, you should use both 2M and 2m and use weights to favor the one that is a closer match to your intended mood;
        • use these guiding lines when setting up the Skip motion intervals:
          • consider including the inversions of all the intervals that you use. Give the inverted interval much lower weights. For example, if you added a major third with a weight of 50, consider also adding a minor sixth with a weight of 5 or even 1. It is common practice in western classical music to use a number of techniques for transforming existing melodic material, one of which is substituting melodic intervals for their inverted counterparts. By including inversions in your Skip motion intervals you increase the chances for this to happen, which in turn can make the resulting music sound more “thought-out”;
          • despite the fact that you work at melodic level, you should also consider harmonic implications. You do not control when or how steps and skips are used, MAIDENS does. Therefore, evaluate the arpeggiated chords that might occur if two or more of your chosen skip intervals immediately follow one each other. For instance, if your chosen Skip motion intervals include major thirds and minor thirds, both with significant weights, then the odds for major or minor arpeggiated triads to appear are fairly high. This might make your melody sound rather tonal at times — which might be a good or bad thing, depending on your intentions;
          • keep an eye on the so-called emotional effects of melodic intervals, as established by western culture, and craft your selection accordingly.
        • you should avoid the lower half of the Analysis window parameter range, unless you deliberately want to achieve chaotic output;
        • mixing a low Max adjustment with a high Analysis window makes no sense; the opposite might (occasionally) yield interesting melodies that are neither fully chaotic nor precisely meaningful; for most applications, you will want to keep Max adjustment in the upper third of its range.
  2. ii. Hints:
    1. if you want to get useful outcome from the Atonal Line generator, this is essential reading:
      1. The Generators;
      2. The Generator Node;
      3. The Atonal Line Generator;
      4. How To Generate Music;

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