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it's all about the notation.

for the past year or so, i've had this idea to write an extensive paper on pattern recognition as it relates to music, words, and DDR. I'm not sure if i'm going to have the energy or time to do it, but one of the important aspects of the paper has to do with how DDR can be seen as an alternate to music notation.

I've written a lot of step charts, and i want to continue dong so because writing charts reminds me a great deal of writing for marching tenors. It's a different way for me to compose percussion music for the feet to a different audience that might know nothing about marching tenors. and it's fascinating to me how directly the two can correlate.

Easy example: After i finished my step chart to R5, I had dyaus7 try it out, and when he got to this section, he was able to FC it on a first read:






People who play marching tenors but don't play DDR would scratch their head and go, "huh?" looking at that, not realizing that I wrote that pattern thinking this:






that's an easy sight-read for a drum corps level marching tenor player, and DDR players who don't have that experience would scratch their heads and go, "huh?" But they're both the same thing.

For me as a teacher and pedagogue, that's *so* fucking cool.

Back in 1999, i wrote a cadence for the jerseysurf drum corps called "The Rusty Arm". It's one of the better cadences i've ever written (even though it's too thick). when i started looking for more experimental things to do with step chart composition, i decided to make a "finger chart" (designed just for stepmania, not for the feet) to a sequenced version of "The Rusty Arm" that Dave gave me a long time ago.

toastercookie has played that chart and gotten an A on it. he used to play drum set, but he doesn't know complex rudiments like paradiddlediddles, flam drags, flam taps, or swiss triplets, yet I embedded a lot of those rudiments in the step chart, and even though it probably took him some practice, i bet he can do those no sweat now.

I have this picture in my mind of... bridging the gap between the two. I can picture using DDR as a pedagogical tool to teach DDR experts who aren't musicians how to read music, and I can picture taking expert percussionists or pianists and finding a way to translate their musical skills into DDR and iidx.

it'd be neat to design a college course about that. Either in the practical or theoretical. Maybe some day. I wonder how many people would be into it.

Comments

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dyaus7
Feb. 17th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC)
If you ever need help with something like that, let me know. I'm not sure how useful I'd be, but that sounds extremely cool.

I'm always coming up with grandiose DDR/bemani related innovations. I'd love to teach a DDR class at some point. (And I have the equipment to do it!)

I went to a Valentine's Day dance last weekend, and I was pondering the lights. You know how some DJs have beat detection software that'll the lights flash with the beat? I couldn't help think about how fucking cool it would be to make the lights react to someone playing on a DrumMania machine (or something similar, you get the idea). And there could be two modes, one where it's "normal" DrumMania play, and a "freestyle" mode where there are no notes to follow, you just jam to the music and the lights react accordingly. (If the DJ is playing a song that has no stepchart yet, you'd have to play this way.) Maybe the sensors could be pressure sensitive, and when you hit harder, more lights are lit. The possibilities make me drool.

lifeofmendel
Feb. 17th, 2004 01:11 pm (UTC)
Re:
dude, what you're talking about would be *easy*.

See, most quality light control boards (like ones used for theater) use MIDI Controller values to deal with light control. And a lot of those boards have MIDI in /out ports, or have a slot designed to fit MIDI in/out cards.

It's just a matter of figuring out how that information gets mapped and then directing/remapping it. if you have a program like what I have on my computer (Max/MSP, which is that program i told you about that i used to make the infrared door detecting installation), it's just a matter of hooking the light board into my computer, testing to see what numbers go where when i mess around with the light board, and then experimenting to see what happens if i plug in the numbers myself to send *to* the light board.

Then, it's just a matter of creating subroutines and an interface that deal with the music side of it. When a person walks through this beam or hits this note or this pad at this velocity, it causes this light to flash this color with this degree of brightness.

If i had the hardware, i bet you i could create something like that in under a month, at least in the context of just my program. Trying to apply it to preprogrammed Bemani is a different story, but still. it would be cool.

And dude... i'm still a beginner. things like this yet much more complex are going on *all the time* in the electronic/multimedia art world. There are interactive installations out there that would blow your mind. i don't even know how to begin to describe all of it to you.
lifeofmendel
Feb. 17th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC)
Re:
it'd be fun to mess around with your DDR machine and see if there would be a way to interface with my computer and Max/MSP, but i'd have to know a lot more about the hardware and software interface design. Like... i know that there are four sensors per arrow that send information to the DDR machine, but what is that information? is it an electrical current (analog), or is it digital?

I bet we could redirect or additionally route the information if it's voltage into my alesis D4 (which turns acoustic voltage energy into MIDI numbers) and do some fun stuff with it.

hm... argument to get a laptop. Trying to do that with my desktop machine would be difficult. But it's definitely something we should talk about. I'd love to mess around with that stuff.
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