Hi everyone! I have been using ELIAS over the past couple of weeks and having an immense amount of fun with it. If you haven’t already, then make sure to check out ELIAS for a solution to your adaptive audio needs!
ELIAS are holding a Composer Contest, with submissions for round one due on the 18th of April 2016, so if you would like a chance to win $500(US) plus your theme becoming available for sale and an interview that will be featured on the ELIAS website, now is a good time to familiarise your self with the program.
The inspiration for the Composer Contest is as follows:
When you woke up this morning to see a cloudless sky and the first buds of spring waving in the garden, you knew that today would be a perfect day to pay your friends in Fae Way a visit!
With a backpack full of your famous apple muffins, you make your way through the verdant woodland; surrounded by birdsong and the distant trickling of a brook. You smile to yourself as you catch sight of the first tree-house that signals the border of the quaint little town and quicken your step.
But what’s that? You can hear shouting. It has to be happy shouting, right?
As you run into the town square you’re shocked to see many of your friends are being rounded up into cages by those no-good Red Caps from over the hills. You’re not about to have your perfect day and the chance of a picnic with friends spoiled so, unzipping your backpack, you arm yourself with muffins and set about restoring order to Fae Way by bringing down as many Red Caps as possible either by distracting them with a tasty treat or just knocking a few over long enough to free your friends.
In my previous post, I outlined the basic working of ELIAS and demonstrated how to use Triggers, this was in the form of an Acoustic Guitar song that adapted and evolved based on the Trigger level. When reading the inspiration for the ELIAS Composer Contest, I thought that the Demonstration I had made would fit perfectly to this story, so I have added more instruments and introduced tonal “Stingers” to help with the transition between Triggers.
For “Phase One” of the Contest, Composers are to record a Real-Time, one-minute demonstration of their Composition, using ELIAS to shift through at least three intensity levels (Triggers). Here is the working copy of my submission (keep in mind there are 11 days until submissions are due, so no doubt this will evolve).
TRIGGERS AND STINGERS IN FAE WAY
I have used 6 Triggers in the Composition (it will be increased to ten) and have created tonal stingers for each instrument. In my previous Blog Post, I had promised to show you how to use more layers and how to use stingers, so for an example, let’s check out how I have used them in FAE WAY.
As you can see in the above photo, I have added an Irish Flute, Female Choir and Cello to the ensemble. Adding more instruments can be tricky, so make sure to compose any new musical information using the same phrases (4 bar, 8 bar etc.), this helps the composition to sound natural when changing. Something I had noticed was that the Guitar is composed in 4 bar phrases, melodies from the Cello and Irish Flute would often flow into 8 bar phrases and would make the composition sound jarred or disjointed. Remembering that the whole purpose of ELIAS is to make musical transitions smooth, we must think of phrasing, especially with melodies, as we are composing.
Because of the need for adaptive audio within games, we don’t always have the luxury of waiting for our 4-bar or 8-bar transition, this is where stingers can become particularly useful. Stingers are a short piece of musical or non musical information that can help smooth the transition between triggers, especially quick transitions. Stingers are also handy when you are making a transition between intensities.
The stinger above is heard 15 seconds into the composition and is a clean and smooth way to introduce the upcoming Cello melody. By using a stinger at a specific time in the composition, it can give a level of realism to the virtual-instrumentalist, akin to an up-beat or Anacrusis in classical music.
As you can see in the above photo, the Cello-Stinger’s Agility is set on the Custom Setting. The numbers in the box refer to when the stinger will play, in this case it will play on bar-8, beat-1 OR bar-12, beat-1 OR bar-16, beat-1. By setting the stinger to play at these specific times, the transition is smoother and sounds musical, instead of robotic and disjointed. In this demonstration, the Cello-Stinger is heard when making the transition between Trigger-1 to Trigger-3.
I have skipped Trigger-Levels to adhere to the one-minute submission requirement and because of this, Stingers are essential to maintain musicality and cohesion. Let’s now have a look at the Flute-Stinger, which plays when we transition from Trigger-3 to Trigger-5.
The Flute-Stinger is heard 33-seconds into the composition and signals the transition between Triggers 3 and 5. I have used a faster Stinger in this transition because Trigger-5 has a higher intensity and is quicker (not from a change of BPM, because of the triplet rhythm). You will notice that the Flute’s Stinger is six-triplets, this helps to introduce the new rhythm, similar to how the Cello introduced the melody, which was melodic, the Flute works on the same principle, but does so rhythmically.
This concludes today’s demonstration, I will keep you informed about the ELIAS Composer Contest in the following weeks and also Blog about my Graduation Ceremony, which was held in Brisbane on the 30th of March, 2016.
Thanks for reading and stay creative!