Generative Meditation


This generative piece for Max/MSP and a human improviser is constantly changing. The piece is based on a drone made up of the first 16 harmonics of the overtone series. The fundamental of the overtone series is determined by the year, month and calendar day on which the piece is being performed. The algorithm which calculates the fundamental takes the year/100, the month/10, the day/10, the hour/100, the minute/100 and the second/10000 and adds the 6 values together. As a result the tuning of the piece is in a constant state of flux from day to day. There is no notated score for this piece. Instead there is a general form and rules that govern the performance of the piece related to the day of the week (Monday-Sunday) and the time of day. While the piece is intended to involve a human performer it is also usable as an ambient Max patch for computer alone.

The present recording was captured on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019  during a 4.5 hour installation of the piece in the Owen Hall Recording Studio at University of the Pacific. 2 hours here is excerpted for the listener which includes 2 extended chants as well as moments of the patch alone. Note that the patch is intended to be performed in a quadraphonic speaker array despite the fact that this recording is captured in only two channels. The drone was captured using 2 AKG C414 microphones set to omni-directional pickup patterns. The chanting was captured with a Beyer M160 ribbon-dynamic microphone.

This PDF shows the modes for each day of the week and their corresponding tuning ratios.

You may request a copy of the Max patch on the Score and CD order page.

Max Patch and Chant by Kevin Swenson

Recording Engineered by Darla Testino and Professor Jeff Crawford