Music Interaction Design: Harmony & Chord Progressions by Maya Pruitt

1. Music Teaching Tools: Harmony. Make some music using the following: chord progressions, arpeggios, chords. Write a short response discussing your experience. 

I attempted some chord progressions a la “The Four Chords Song”. I don’t have very good rhythm andIi’m not sure if it’s correct but it was fun. Though I’m not very good at playing the chords, I definitely see how the melody aligns on top of them.

Start thinking of interactions: what user actions will determine which musical outcomes? What aspects of the music will evolve independently of user actions (if any)?

I started playing around with visuals to sort of illustrate the concept in my head. The program below changes position and color on the canvas according to mic input and FFT analysis.

Then there are a few animations below of how colors/size could change according to notes.

Pitch match

Pitch match

Moving forward: I really need to figure out if a computer is able to identify pitch from mic input.

Maybe this can help?

2 note harmony

2 note harmony

Music Interaction Design: Progress Report by Maya Pruitt

Target Audience:

I have been thinking a lot about this project this week. I think the challenge of designing a user path, rendered me a bit of artist’s block. My original intention, I’m realizing is more SOUND interaction verses MUSIC interaction. I still need to flesh this, but going over all the music education tools in class was quite inspiring. Aaron made a comment in class, that these tools don’t often encourage singing which is for many people an easier entry point. So I think I would like to make my target audience singing learners. At least for now. I’d like to continue exploring the idea of vocal input + data visualization. A tool that helps singers learn pitch by following the user path. Then perhaps after this tutorial, they can be encouraged to use it to make their own sounds/music/performance, which then more experienced music makers could enjoy as well.

Aural Mood Board:

My vocalist friends declare this as a more introductory level choir piece. I think this could be a good place to start for easier harmonies and it is quite recognizable.

Another recommendation from my classically trained friend. We like the color and texture of the different voices in combination.

An example of stunning high notes, supported by the other vocalists. I like that it features an individual but still sounds whole only when there are many voices.

Harmonies with more of a synth/techno sound. This could be an interesting option. Perhaps a user can harmonize with software sounds as opposed to other voices.

A fun Jazz piece with vocal harmonies. I like the playfulness of the fast rhythm.

I love when you can hear how a harmony builds. The simplicity of adding each part over the original voice is very satisfying.

The human voice is a powerful instrument. I love how this completely instrumental piece with no lyrics of any kind transformed when sung by a group a cappella.

User Path:

Still working on this. I have never made music before and Ableton is quite overwhelming. I tried recording voice, but the volume is almost indiscernible!

But ideally the path is a few individual notes, with pause for the user to repeat them, move to chords, then melodies.

Music Interaction Design Prompts by Maya Pruitt

A brief description of the concept that includes what it does, who it is for, and where it lives (not more than a couple of sentences)

  • A drawn sketch (or sketches) that indicates form, materials, scale, and interaction

  • The song you started from

  • The oblique strategy you got

“My Boy” by Billie Eilish

Basic catalog of attributes:

  • Key: B minor

  • bpm: 90

  • drums, female vocal’s (breathiness), “ghostly sound”, synth, harmony

Random oblique strategy: “Make something implied more definite (reinforce, duplicate)

Kemi and I imagined that we work for Billie Eilish and her team. We created an installation with a supplementary mobil application. The installation features a large touch screen that with squares that highlight different aspects of Eilish’s music, emphasizing the implications of her sound. Touching the center would showcase the original sound, and moving outward to the corners breaks it down into components of what created that original sound.

We also discussed having the user input their own sounds, either speaking or singing, and have our device modify it, almost like a filter, to sound like these parts of her music.


2. Write a project prompt for yourself. You will use it to frame subsequent assignments, but it can evolve/change later. Submit it here.

Build a tool that allows one person to sound like many: I am thinking of a machine of some kind that would allow the user to sing into it and have the output harmonize with them, kind of like a one-man a cappella group.

Design a visualization of sound: For this I imagine two possibilities. 1) In my collective play course we are using web sockets. I see this as an awesome opportunity to have multiple clients input to/modify a collective outcome. I imagine singing produces colorful fuzzball that combine and mix color based on harmony. 2) this could also serve as a teaching tool for singers perhaps displaying perfect pitch versus the users so they can learn how to match it.

Create an installation that plays with the principles of acoustics: Not exactly sure what to do with this, and I’m not sure what its called, but some places are designed so if you stand in one part of a room you can actually hear what’s happening in a completely different part of the room.