Creating Musical Gestures

Musicians have control over a lot of different aspects of sound that they use to create expressive, dynamic music.  A violinist may alter their bowing to change the timbre, a horn player may create a swell in volume, a vocalist may vary their vibrato.  This is what makes music interesting, it gives it variation, change over time. With computer generated music controlling these parameters is the difference between static, lifeless sounds and interesting expressive sounds.

There are a number of modular-muse objects that can assist in creating musical gestures. The first one is the [mm-env] object:


This is a user generated envelope (an envelope describes the change of a parameter over time). It could be used to control a filter sweep, a change in frequency or an increase in vibrato among others.

These are the controls:

time (ms) – How long to “play” through the whole envelope

max out – value at the top of the graph

min out – value at the bottom of the graph

graph – The graph can be changed by clicking on one of the points and drawing a new shape with the mouse. This gives the gesture a shape.

trigger – Clicking will trigger the gestures, alternatively sending a bang message in the first inlet the array will trigger the gesture.


Here’s an example of using it to sweep a filter:


Notice the bang triggers two envelopes, one which is used to control volume and another to sweep the filter cutoff frequency.

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