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SMART HARMONY

December 8, 2016

Smart Harmony is an interactive music program developed by the author that generates harmonic accompaniment to melodies input by the user. Using Cycling 74’s “Max,” interactive music programs, synths, and compositions can be created with endless possibilities. The program is a creative tool that draws from a technique called algorithmic composition; which allows music to be created using algorithms or data that usually have no musical relevance. Smart Harmony allows anyone to create a usable harmony regardless of their background in music. Smart Harmony can be utilized by educators to experiment with harmonic progressions commonly used in a variety of time periods, genres, and styles. Generating a “smart” harmony can jumpstart the creative thought process to further music production workflow. The program takes a monophonic signal from a microphone, or MIDI (keyboard) input, and yields a harmony based on predictive tables that once established by the user can be static or be modified interactively as the melody is played. The key modifiable parameters include the rate at which chords change, the key signature, which composer or song to reference, and the desired scale to use. Utilizing Ableton Live, creating a Max for Live patch can route the harmony to synthesizers, MIDI effects, and audio effects; adding another layer of creative possibilities.

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