Phrase Links

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sksherman's picture
Last seen 3 weeks 6 days ago

Phrase Links

I've not yet found mention of this in the forums or in the Synfire user manual.  I don't yet know of a way to do this in Synfire, currently.  I may well be unaware of some capabilities or features.  Given that, I'll present this as a new concept for a feature suggestion.  I believe this could be a powerful enhancement for the next generation of Synfire, further distinguishing it above all other advanced composition tools.

I believe the purpose of percussion is to emphasize present, past and future in a piece.  That's why so many approaches to unpitched percussion are unappealing to me.  But, Synfire could address this issue and more with support for what I'll term, "Phrase Links."

There are two parts to this feature.  The first is to support selection marking within phrases, stored and viewed within the phrases.  The second part is to specify parameterized linking between the markings within sorce and target phrases, also stored within source phrases.

A source phrase may include any number of links to target phrases.  Synfire Express might limit to creation of one or two links from a source to a target.  Synfire Pro might allow unlimited links and might also extend linkage to include external timecode sensitivity.  Infinite looping would be avoided by construction.

Thus, a source phrase may access the information of a target phrase such that when that target phrase is changed or processed, the source phrase responds.  A link between source and target phrase would include parameters to determine how effects would transfer, including impact on randomizaton and conversion.

This would enable, for example, percussion to be sensitive to phrases before, during and after.  So, for example, a percussion phrase at the end of a container could link to a melodic phrase at the start of a following container and use that to construct a pseudo-randomized fill.  Similarly, a percussion phrase at the end of a piece might reference a melodic phrase earlier in the piece to construct an ending.

This might also be a means for enabling percussion to vary velocity and complexity as phrases are interpreted.

Similarly, melodic phrases might have influence from other phrases that include interesting rhythms, whether pitched or unpitched.

In short, this would be like drag and drop of one phrase to another, but done in a predetermined, more controlled way and sensitive to changes made in any linked phrases.  This might, essentially, mimic instruments listening to each other.

I think this could go a long way toward solving the issue of creating percussion in a way that avoids generative pitfalls while enhancing the overall Synfire composing experience.

A related enhancement might include having a new window that displays and uses the same link parameters to control default behavior during drag and drop of phrases.  This might alleviate some of the mystery of what happens when doing this.  The window might be dynamically updated during phrase drag and drop with greyed out parameters, indicating which will be ignored and which will be processed with perhaps some info on how.


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