Open Source Lead Sheet, Improv Tool, a Free Band-in-a-Box Alternative

Ask a machine to emulate human creativity, and at the very least, you’re guaranteed to learn something. Modeling creative rules and intuitive algorithms as generative code is itself an eminently human activity – think of it as interactive theory. And where the computer fails to sound like a human, you learn something, too. Improv-Visor is an artificially-intelligent jazz improviser tool, but it’s quite a lot more. It can be used to make lead sheets, to experiment with jazz harmonies and solos, and – by asking human students to fill in their own parts – a teaching tool. It continues some …

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Worldwide Busking Event Turns Street Music into School-Building Power for Zambia

Could busking – street music performance – be a tool for social change? It’s an idea I’ve heard artists mull before. Here’s one opportunity to do just that next month, in April, in support of building badly-needed school facilities in southern Zambia. And yes, digital musicians can participate, thanks to terrific, affordable, battery-powered amplification. I do hope this could launch a discussion, though, on how to organize this kind of action, and how to make busking work for good. Ben Matthews, founder of the charity, writes: LearnAsOne,a UK-based charity dedicated to funding schools in Africa, announces the launch of its …

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Augmented Reading: ImaginArt Animates Books with Max/MSP

With all the excitement brewing over multi-touch and tablet PCs, it’s great to see a simple, beautiful installation, augmenting paper books with subtle fiducials, letting the book control the technology: ImaginArt from recreat on Vimeo. Built with Max/MSP/Jitter by recreat. Lovely.

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Can Augmented Reality Make Real Games, Expressive Media? Inspiration from Georgia Tech

I’ve been blogging effectively every day for nearly five years, so it’s hard to avoid novelty – that’s kind of what we publish. The question is, is it the novelty that’s important, or do you see these as little steps toward something greater that hasn’t happened yet? I tend to favor the latter. Here’s the question: can augmented reality – using computer vision tools to mix computer graphics with stuff in the real world – become a real medium and not just a gimmick? If it works in a game, you begin to think there’s really something to an interactive …

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Sibelius 6: Notation Software Gets Magnetic Layout, ReWire, More – Details

Sibelius today gets the biggest upgrade I’ve seen from the tool in a long time, with major improvements to the way the notation package lays out musical objects on the score, and ReWire support so you can integrate it with your host of choice. This is an especially meaningful upgrade to me, as I’ve spent a lot of time with Sibelius since its first Mac release about a decade ago, both composing and teaching with it. In case you missed it Friday, I just spoke about some tips that can help with working in both education and composing: Five Sibelius …

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You Know, for Kids: Young Girls Create Digital Plushy Motion with Arduino

Arduino the Cat, Breadboard the Mouse and Cutter the Elephant from hmt on Vimeo. Media artists and design houses around the world: you’ve got nothing on this group of eight to eleven-year old English girls, bravely exploring interaction design, soft toy hacks, and physical computing using the open source Arduino platform to animate cats, mice, and elephants. Just how comfortable are these kids with technology? Comfortable enough that a robotic, killer elephant with glowing eyes is “cute.” Give them a couple of decades, and I think they’ll invent Cylons. I can’t wait. Thanks to Kyle McDonald and Memo Akten for …

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Propellerhead Hosts Producers Conferences in US, UK, Germany, Sweden Saturday

A quick note – this weekend, Propellerhead is running part of its ongoing series of Producers Conferences, educational events focusing on music making with their flagship tool. It’s really about production, not just about Reason per se; looks like the previous installments have been quite nice. There are some really terrific artists in the lineup, and significantly, our sources say some big news will be announced live at the event. If anyone plans to attend and wants to cover that, do let me know. Here’s the lineup: Los Angeles May 9, Musician’s Institute, Hollywood. Bon Harris, Kevin Teasley, Gerry Basserman, …

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Apple GarageBand Artist Lessons Still Limited, But Alternatives Abound

Well, those kids today love their Sarah McLachlan, right? There’s no question that GarageBand represents one of the better values in music software, especially since even Apple expect a lot of its users will simply acquire it with their Mac. It still ranks high on software you’d recommend to a beginner on a budget. Apple’s decision this year to add lessons, interactive lessons that introduce you to musical concepts, and to invite famous artists to play familiar songs, is a fantastic idea. The Artist Lessons themselves, however, have been relatively few in number. I expect more are coming, but so …

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