Generative music with networked iterative maps — made easy
Nodewebba brings some distinctly wild and crazy music algorithms out of the research lab and into the home and professional studio. The result is a generative music tool that can, without programming, produce surprisingly fresh and dynamic melodic and rhythmic patterns for use realtime performance or for studio-based productions.
An "iterative map" is basically a kind of mathematical feedback, where the output of a formula is fed back into its input. Nodewebba uses an iterative map originally designed as a random number generator —and mutates it into a bizarre music-pattern sequencer. It provides six of these pattern generators, or "nodes", and allows them to be mapped to MIDI outputs. There's a lot of creative fun to be had right there.
But the real magic of Nodewebba lies in arranging the nodes in networks, or 'webs', where the output of one node effects the settings of other nodes. Now we not only have multiple musical patterns running together, but they are also changing each other's behavior. A change in one part causes a change in another part. Kind of like… music. Plus we can have feedback within feedback, giving rise to delightfully unexpected outputs.
Ultimately, one doesn't control Nodewebba as much as to explore it to see what kinds of behaviors emerge. When magic arises, capture it as a preset. Or simply pipe the output to a sequencer and select from the best of your adventures.
Nodewebba can be controlled through its own interface. It also supports external MIDI control of its parameters from performance interfaces and sequencers. Plus, coders familiar with Max/MSP can address the variables inside Nodewebba to extend and alter its behaviors. It already includes some examples of such code 'intercessions' in the form of humanizing functions for velocity and rhythm.
The foundations of Nodewebba — the concept of Variable-Coupled Map Networks (VCMN) — can be found in my Organised Sound article "Musical Pattern Generation with Variable-Coupled Iterated Map Networks". The first piece in which I used these approaches wholesale in a composition was Clonal Colonies. The insights gained through the creation of that piece led to the conception of Nodewebba — a tool that provides the power of VCMN without programming.
Current version = 0.011
Nodewebbas is Open Source. The full Max/MSP source is available at GitHub.
Max/MSP programmers can access the inputs and outputs of the main functions of Nodewebba through send/receive ports, including all of the parameters of nodes. Thus direct connection with patch cords is not necessary. Documentation of these variables can be found in the Coder's Reference — available in the Github source, in the Docs folder.