Flexatone HFP
Icon
  • System Detail

System: AC Toolbox

Authors

Description

The AC Toolbox is a Macintosh application to assist the algorithmic composition of music. Version 4.1.1 is a native OS X application that requires system 10.2 or higher. Version 3.5 will work with MacOS 8.6-9.x. Several models for defining musical events are included. They can be used by defining objects such as sections, shapes, masks, or note structures. It is also possible to play, plot, modify, and examine objects in a number of ways. Extensive online help is available. In addition to MIDI input and output, the AC Toolbox can also produce text files suitable for use as data in other programs. In particular, files for Csound can be produced. MIDI output via a firewire interface to a Capybara is also supported. An important method of creating data in the Toolbox is the use of generators. A number of generators have been included reflecting various approaches to the creation of musical material including tendency masks, stochastic functions, chaotic systems, transition tables, recursive subdivisions, metric indispensabilities, morphological mutations, etc. The AC Toolbox is implemented in Lisp and input syntax often reflects the conventions of this language. It is also possible for a user to extend the Toolbox by adding Lisp functions. For example, additional generators can be defined in Lisp to use with the Toolbox. MIDI input and output for 4.1.1 uses CoreMidi, QuickTime Musical Instruments, or Symbolic Sound's Capybara sound computation engine. The AC Toolbox is distributed as an application. The source code is not distributed. An extensive tutorial in HTML format and a folder of files containing objects related to each chapter of the text isĀ  available. The AC Toolbox was developed by Paul Berg at the Institute of Sonology, The Hague, Netherlands.

References

“... the individual and the society are deprived of the formidable power of free imagination that musical composition offers them. We are able to tear down this iron curtain, thanks to the technology of computers...”

(Full citation)

“The danger is great of letting oneself be trapped by the tools and of becoming stuck in the sands of technology that has come like an intruder into the relatively calm waters of the thought in instrumental music.”

(Full citation)

“With the development of electronic and computer music, multidemnsionality of sound representation turned out to be both natural and useful. But music goes beyond multidimensionality -- it is even more complex.”

(Full citation)

“Music is then no longer primarily conceived as a guide for premeditated emotions, but as the density of the possible relationships which first become actuality during production under the influence of chance, and which during performance are presented to the listener as sounds beyond any environmental associatiations, independent of bodily actions required to produce sounds...”

(Full citation)

“... the use of numerical machines no longer stands in need of justification. It is not a mystery. If there is a mystery, it is in the mental structures of music and not in the computers, which are only tools, extensions of the hand and the slide rule.”

(Full citation)

“The use of computers is the logical outcome of a historical development. It by no means heralds a new musical epoch; it simply offers a fast, reliable and versatile means of solving problems that already demanded solution. The person who writes the computer programme must bear the development of musical language up to the present in mind, and try to advance a stage further.”

(Full citation)

“The characteristics of every sound depend on the way in which the sound was produced. Each art-form exploits its special production methods in order to endow the phenomena with unmistakable characteristics. Artistic economy demands that the means be appropriate to the end, and that the exploitation of the means be an end in itself.”

(Full citation)

“The computing machine is a marvelous invention and seems almost superhuman. But in reality it is as limited as the mind of the individual who feeds it material. Like the computer, the machines we use for making music can only give back what we put into them.”

(Full citation)

“... but beware, technique can submerge the user: We must defend ourselves; it is good to use techniques, but we have to dominate them, to stay alert.”

(Full citation)

“Composers are now able, as never before, to satisfy the dictates of that inner ear of the imagination. They are also lucky so far in not being hampered by esthetic codification -- at least not yet! But I am afraid it will not be long before some musical mortician begins embalming electronic music in rules.”

(Full citation)

“... and the hope of an extraordinary aesthetic success based on extraordinary technology is a cruel deceit.”

(Full citation)