Subject: MAX Digest - 5 May 1999 (#1999-137)
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 00:00:00 -0400
From: Automatic digest processor 
Reply-To: MAX - Interactive Music/Multimedia Standard Environments
To: Recipients of MAX digests 

There are 4 messages totalling 173 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. Concert announcement (fwd)
  2. Floats and "=="!?
  3. USB serial interface that claims to work with MIDI
  4. Pulse Sequencing


Date:    Wed, 5 May 1999 20:25:00 -0400
From:    Christopher Murtagh 
Subject: Concert announcement (fwd)

@rtSounds:||  presents: murmures

20h Friday May 7, 1999
Les Salles du Ges=F9: 1200, rue de Bleury, Montr=E9al, PQ
Info/reservations: (514) 861-4873
Tickets: $17 general admission / $13 students

@rtSounds:|| is a recently-formed ensemble of musicians, artists, computer
programmers dancers, and writers, based in Montreal. We are presenting an
inaugural concert with original works and live electronics; the concert
will be followed by a reception at which Jazz Pharmacy and other local
bands will be featured.

The concert programme includes the following pieces:

 (re:)generations - a noiseful prayer An Ojibwa storyteller narrates an
original text entitled 'Generations'; this narrative input prompts a
granular synthesis processing of the text material; live mixing done by
technician Robin Davies

 Ravel - Sonate pour violon et violoncelle The original sonata is played in
its entirety, followed by a documentary-style 'commentary' on the music in
the second half of the program, called 'UnRavel'.

 Pentalog - An interactive piece for viola and MAX , a digital signal
processing program. The viola, electronics operator, dsp algorithms, and
tape parts pay varying degrees of attention to each other - a conversation
between five electroacoustic sound sources.

 all my brothers dead - Oudist Sam Shalabi improvises on a series of folk
and religious tunes (Middle Eastern); he is accompanied by a computer
animation which explores the theme of genocide in the twentieth century.

* - A surprise piece for shortwave radio and internet sources.

totentanz - A composition on the theme of the dance macabre/dances of the
dead. Live dancers, string trio, percussionist, and singers.

Original compositions and electronics by Robin Davies and Gascia Ouzounian;
musical performances by Jennika Anthony-Shaw, Frederique Vezina, Jennifer
Sheppard, Sam Shalabi,Robert Poliquin, and Louella Alatiit; narration by
Alex Cywink; dancing by Carina Rose and Tom Casey; choreography by Howard


Contact: Vanya Rose @ (514) 490 4242 for more information


Date:    Wed, 5 May 1999 20:41:06 -0400
From:    Tom Ritchford 
Subject: Re: Floats and "=="!?

The best solution is to get rid of floats from your program.

They're very slow (as much as 100 times slower than fixed point in
some cases) and also suffer from problems like you've seen involving

Knuth (Art of Computer Programming, vol I) speaks very movingly
of this, pointing out that almost no property that you'd expect
is valid of floats in the general case (associativity, distributivity,

I've been making my living as a programmer since 1979 and only twice
to my recollection have I had to use float, once in engineering math
and once in option pricing.  Both of these were high-powered numerical
calculations that made heavy use of logarithms and trig functions.

Other than that, I've always been able to avoid them...

This is off-topic -- contact me off-list if you need some further
tips on eradicating the evil floats from your code!



Date:    Thu, 6 May 1999 10:55:59 +1100
From:    Jim Franklin 
Subject: USB serial interface that claims to work with MIDI

The "Stealth" serial port, by ( _claims_ to work
with Opcode MIDI interfaces; the website includes a nice pic of OMS
registering that it has an interface on the "modem port", the implication
being that it works. Haven't tried it yet, although I'm going to have to
soon, to cope with a few blue G3s my uni has got "stuck" with (having
ordered old models...)

If anyone tries one of these, please let me as well as everyone else know -
privately if you wish (




Dr Jim Franklin
Composer and Shakuhachi Master (shihan)
Course Coordinator, Music
Lecturer in Music Technology
University of Western Sydney, Nepean
Tel. --61 - 2 47 360 929
Fax. --61 - 2 47 360 166



Date:    Wed, 5 May 1999 21:07:31 -0700
From:    Charles Lyons 
Subject: Re: Pulse Sequencing

Also sprach Rothwell:

>I was convinced that interactive sequencing and
>arpeggiation were very similar processes, so I wanted to identify a
>lower-level algebra which would support either, as well as
>combinations of interactive and preprogrammed behaviour.

Interesting. I'm curious to know what the advantages are in abstracting to
such a degree, as opposed to creating more specialized tools for specific
functions. If I understand correctly your registry object works by
organizing the settings of your pulses and sequences in terms of
configuration as well as data, allowing you to manipulate this algebra in
different ways.

>And I
>wanted something which would be easy to program and yet generate
>unexpected (but reproducable) results.

This sentence particularly struck me - an analog step sequencer is very
easy to program, in part because the results are easy to predict. It sounds
like you must be using a very different programming metaphor then. How are
you breaking this "what you see is what you get" correlation without
clouding the (more or less linear) relationship between interface and
result? Or is that relationship even an issue?

>Colls don't work because they are
>naive and only have a flat structure. (Stephen's solution works in
>simple applications, but doesn't scale, compose or abstract.)

True; I'm resigned to using a text editor for the time being and keeping
things as simple as possible, but it's going to get unweildy fast. I have a
copy of your registry object on my hard drive somewhere; when I get to the
point where I'm thinking about such things I'll have to take a look at it
and see how it might fit with what I'm doing.

I'll also have to look at detonate, after reading Chris' description of how
he uses it - I'm impressed with the rhythmic complexity he's capable of


End of MAX Digest - 5 May 1999 (#1999-137)