Sweeton, Michael (2011) Development of Compositional Tools in Max/MSP. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The aim of the research is to build a suite of software tools that use a unique combination of techniques to generate specific audio material. Emphasis will be put on the methods used to create the desired sounds, how to achieve sophisticated control over relevant parameters quickly and easily, and how to provide functionality that cannot be replicated with existing software. The driving force behind the creation of each piece of software is the type of sound created and how this can be used within my own compositions. The development of application will begin with a specific sound or compositional method in mind, which will be worked towards through a process of refining various audio and
control processes. I have become increasingly interested in drone music and two of the three applications will be ideally suited to creating audio material for this genre. The final application stems from my interest in the cut up style compositions of Akufen and is designed to simplify the creation of samples in this

An important part of the research is the development of the graphical user interfaces for each piece of software. I want to create not just Max/MSP patches, but standalone applications that I find enjoyable and easy to use. I feel it is
important to have continuity throughout the suite and will demonstrate this by using a similar design aesthetic in each application. Through my research of other applications created in Max, I recognise that the design of the user interface has a large impact on whether I enjoy using the software. With this in mind I intend to organise the interfaces in a logical way, and to keep them as clear as possible.

Another main research aim is using the computer to cut down the time it takes to achieve my compositional goals. Through actively using the applications as they are being developed, I will be able to identify areas that I can refine, which will save time when composing. One area I will investigate is the application of random number procedures and how they can be used to provide interesting variation of the sound within bounded parameters. Each of the final applications
will demonstrate their role in my compositional process.

I will use Max/MSP as the development environment as I have had extensive experience with it during my undergraduate degree, and also for independent
projects. As a prototyping environment it has an advantage over traditional code based programming because any changes are instantly usable, giving the environment a ‘live’ feel. The diagrammatical nature of the patching window also lends itself to experimentation and quick changes, which are not as feasible in text based programming languages. When working towards a specific sound, this ease of experimentation is a vital characteristic of the software and will
undoubtedly save time during the development process.

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