Miller Puckette and New Music Creation

Making Music is Creative

Making music is a creative process. At every level. There is not only composing and playing, but there is the instruments themselves and also how we record and play back music. Technology and creativity abound at every level.

 

I’m a musician. That is how I ended up in Electronics Engineering. I even wrote a blog piece about how Music Electronics was where my passion for creating new electronics devices all began.

 

Miller Puckette

I learned something new this week about music creation. I use Ableton Live as my sequencer and it incorporates a product from Cycling 74 called MaxMax was created by Miller Puckette quite a while ago. So I see another soul keen to push the boundaries of what is possible and was fascinated to read his history. Everything from Teaching Music at UCSD to creating music software like Max in 1988, its successor starting around 1996 which is Pure Data, or Pd as it is usually abbreviated, and which was set up to be an open source project so others could contribute and it wasn’t locked down by commercial constraints like Max is.

 

Miller Puckette - musician and music technology creator

Miller Puckette

 

I was also pleased to hear that Miller Puckette continues to perform music. This is something I also enjoy.

 

The only way to understand what is possible with tools like Pd is to see it in action. Enjoy.

Did you notice that the player on the left is moving his hands on a cloth covered platform. This is being tracked by a camera and the hand movements are used to trigger notes and other controllers and effects. You can reach him at Jaime E Oliver and the cellist accompanying him is Michael Nicholas.

 

PdCon

And if you found that interesting, then check out the concert video from PdCon16~ . That’s right, Pd has its own conference.

 

The first video has Miller Puckette as a contributor.

And the last one also has Miller Puckette as part of a duo. This is all very avant-garde yet the degree of expression possible is amazing.

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2017 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

Music Electronics

On the threshold of a career

I have often been asked about how I got into Engineering. I got a serious reminder of it on 23 November 2011 when I went to see The Moody Blues in concert in St Kilda.

 

The Moody Blues - Live in St. Kilda 2011

The Moody Blues – Live in St. Kilda 2011

I had started a science degree at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds, Geelong, and stopped after the first year because I realised I didn’t have a good reason for being there. I had always liked science but I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career.

 

Isn’t life strange

One thing that did happen that year was that a fellow student introduced me to a music group I had never heard of. This was The Moody Blues. I was hooked on the first listen. They sang songs about the meaning of life and communicated with such skill that I wanted to able to do the same. So I took up guitar and started teaching myself how to play.

 

At the end of that year I decided not to go back for second year of science and took a year off. I worked a couple of mundane jobs, move from Geelong to South Melbourne and joined a pub band to try my hand at music. We were no comparison to The Moody Blues but something very important happened. I found that I loved working with the equipment and thought it would be really cool to be able to design my own guitar effects, amplifiers and PA equipment. Music Electronics was the career for me.

 

I had no idea what to study so I went back to Deakin University and asked them. They said that I should do a degree in Electrical Engineering majoring in Electronics. So that is what I did for the next 4 years. This time I had a reason to be there and it showed in my academic results when I graduated with a First Class Honours degree and a grade average of a High Distinction. I also started designing music equipment during my career and even before graduating had equipment installed in recording studies and sold to professional musicians.

 

So that is how I got started in Electronics and why Analogue Electronics is one of my technical specialties.

 

Lovely to see you again my friend

So back to the concert.

 

The Moody Blues - Live in St. Kilda 2011

The Moody Blues – Live in St. Kilda 2011

Wow. The Moody Blues were founded in 1963 and the main lineup dates from 1967 where they released the first concept album. That’s right, they beat the Beatles to it. The album was Days of Future Past. Of that lineup, 3 are still touring: Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge. Graeme Edge turned 70 earlier this year. And they still rock. That’s what finding the right career does for you. Passion and perseverance for the long haul. It is one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

 

And again I am grateful for the inspiration they were to me and for the career in Electronics that came from that.

 

Some of you may have noticed that the headings are all based on albums or songs by The Moody Blues.

 

New Horizons

I still play guitar and now also produce music. So as an example, here is a piece I recently produced trying to capture the journey from uncertainty into hope using music only. It is titled “Finding Hope“. Enjoy.

 

Finding Hope -Ray Keefe

Finding Hope -Ray Keefe

 

Finding Hope – © Ray Keefe Right click to save or click to listen in the browser.

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2011 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd