Automatic Typing​/​Terminal Beach

by Daniel Steffey/Ryan Page

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about

Automatic Typing by Daniel Steffey

This text describing this piece is what created this piece in real time. I have made a patch in Max/MSP that detects keystrokes, and separates them into groups. Those groups are: spacebar, consonants, vowels, punctuation, capital letters, numbers, the ‘enter’ key, and arrow keys/backspace/and the letter Y. Every time I press a key, it opens a gate or changes a value, or scale of values, of a number that is converted into a control voltage signal, and sent to a modular synthesizer. As I type this, the sound you are hearing was recorded from my typing actions directly.

These 8 categories are patched into the synthesizer in various ways, I found that plugging the reaction of the spacebar into the 1V/Oct. for the oscillator has an interesting effect, because I press the spacebar the most often. What is happening, is I press the space bar, which is opening a gate that has a rapidly changing random number, which is again converted into CV. When the spacebar is lifted, that number stops, and that pitch is held until I hit the spacebar again.

This same structure is replicated for other categories of keystrokes, being patched into other parts of the synthesizer. One for filter cutoff, one for filter resonance, and so on... These are of course not consistent throughout each movement of this piece. I did make differences to the patch according to my own interests in doing so.

What is interesting about this method of music making, is that not only do you have some control over the result, but you almost get an arguable literal sonification of my thoughts as I am typing them. You cannot see when I am typing slow or fast; or more importantly, when I have made a mistake. The arrows and backspace also control this result, and while I have used all of them plentifully, you never quite no where it is, because the mistake has been fixed in type.

This text is only part of the entire tape that you will hear. Specifically the 1st movement of the whole piece (which was subsequently written last out of the 6 movements). This is the finale and overture all at once, the codification of an idea realized, and then put back to the top to explain what is about to come. The other movements are variations of this idea, Sometimes, I leave the mistakes alone. Sometimes, I have a stream of consciousness that is the resulting piece. At one point I describe how I made the video component of the VHS as I was making these pieces. This is too much text to include here, and may be included in a future release, or maybe will be included in this release. I’ll make that decision later.

Thank you for listening to the music, and I hope you enjoy yourself!

credits

released November 1, 2016

Daniel Steffey - electronics
Ryan Page - electronics

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Cutty Strange Records Brooklyn, New York

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