ADAPTING TO CHANGE

Welcome back! In my recent Blog post, ELIAS, Empowering Composers, I had outlined how ELIAS worked. To my delight, a fan of this website, “reubpress” has commented and the depth and detail of their comment has compelled me to write this post. The WordPress user known as reubpress has theorised about use of ELIAS within games and has even suggested chordal arrangements to allow the music to change key and adapt to the player’s input. Let’s take a look at the comment left by reubpress and explore their insightful idea.


 

Hi Sam, ELIAS looks like a very useful tool for game audio. After reading your blog I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of incorporating the idea of key modulation in conjunction with the ELIAS middleware. It is well-known that composers use different keys and key relationships to evoke different moods etc.. so my thought was how would this idea fit within a platform that changes according to the play of the game (game audio!).
Thinking of this I started considering some of the tools used by composers such as the idea of secondary dominants (using the 5th chord of the new key to activate the modulation).
Unlike composing music only now the challenge arises of fitting this into a changing platform with bar limits etc.. As suggested in your blog having some versatile transition material seems to be the KEY!!
Rough idea:
First subject group in Cminor (used until triggers for music change is reached).
Transition material type progression for modulating to Major:
– Cm – Dm – D7 (Secondary Dominant) – G (chord 5 in Cm or chord 1 GMaj).
Transition material for modulating back to Cmin:
G – Gmin (5th chord of Cmin) – Cminor (home key).

Like an altered sonata form for gamers. (reubpress, 2016)


Thank you once again for the comment and now, let the fun begin…in the form of a new ELIAS-triggered composition using the chordal arrangement that reubpress has so humbly supplied.

COMPOSING TO THE GUIDELINES

To begin with, I blocked out the chords in Pro Tools that reubpress supplied (C Minor, D Minor, D7, G Major, G Minor, C Minor). This gave me an 8-Bar composition.

The Basic Chord Progression
The Basic Chord Progression
MIDI information for the 8-Bar outline
MIDI information for the 8-Bar outline

From these eight bars, I took one bar at a time, duplicating each bar so it would play for play for eight (bars). Once each chord was playing for eight bars, I composed a Cello melody that remained the same rhythmically, but changed in tonality, according to what chord it was playing with.

C Minor Extended for 8-Bars
C Minor Extended for 8-Bars with Cello Melody
Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.57.08 PM
D Minor Playing for 8-Bars with Cello Melody
Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.59.52 PM
D7 for 8-Bars with Cello

 

I repeated the process that you have seen in the above photos for the remainder of the composition.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.57.24 PM
The Entire Composition with Cello Melody

Keeping the Cello melody’s rhythm the same made the composition flow when changing Trigger levels in ELIAS.

Cello Rhythmic Motif
Cello Rhythmic Motif

IT’S ELIAS TIME!

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.28.49 AM
Setting up the parameters in ELIAS

Once each 8-Bar phrase was recorded in Pro Tools and Exported as .wav’s, it was time to bring them into ELIAS to test how well the adaptive composition worked. In my last post about ELIAS, I had outlined the importance of labelling your tracks so that you can recognise them once they are in the middleware-domain. I labelled my tracks to correspond with the chord progression that was supplied by reubpress (C Minor, D Minor etc.).

The Exported .wav's in ELIAS
The Exported .wav’s in ELIAS

By duplicating each bar in Pro Tools to play for 8 bars, I was able to imagine how the composition would sound when changing at 1 bar intervals in ELIAS. If you think back to the original blocking-out of the chords, then you will recall that the progression was 8-bars long. By Keeping the Cello melody’s rhythm the same in all chord-variations, the change in harmony when changing Trigger levels in ELIAS was not harsh at all, rather, it was pleasant to the ear.

Setting the Agility to 1-Bar meant that the Trigger level would change at one bar intervals.

Agility set to 1 bar
Agility set to 1 bar

Because of the quick changing of Trigger levelS (Agility set to 1-bar), the Cello Rhythm had to remain the same in all variations to sound cohesive and natural.

If you would like to explore this example further, then click the following link and download the ELIAS session.

10_04_16_ELIAS_REUBPRESS

Thanks for reading and stay creative!

 

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