TAPESTREA : Transformation + Synthesis interfaces

version: 0.1.x.x (tap tap)

home: http://taps.cs.princeton.edu

Figure 1 : Synthesis interface full-shot

Getting started

The synthesis face is divided into three areas. The top half displays a timeline and related controls. The bottom left displays the internal library of available templates (with a rectangle around the currently selected one), while the bottom right displays transformation and synthesis parameters for the selected template. A template is selected by clicking its icon in the library.

An overview of the row of buttons near the center of the screen :

  1. load : Opens a file dialog box from which various taps files can be loaded. What happens next depends on what kind of file is loaded.
    • .tap : Reads in a template and adds it to the library.
    • .ck : Loads a ChucK script.
    • .qz : Reads in a quantization table and associates it with the currently selected template.
  2. listen : Plays the selected template.
  3. stop : Stops the selected template (or ought to).
  4. revert : Reverts to a previous version of the selected template. Usually if a template's parameters are modified, hitting revert undoes the changes by returning the template to the state it had when it was first selected (this time). Thus hitting revert immediately after selecting a template makes no change. Also, it is not possible to revert to previous versions of timelines or mixed bags.
  5. copy : Makes a copy of the selected template and adds it to the library.
  6. save : Saves the selected template as a .tap file.

In addition, checking the write to file boxes at the center left write all synthesized sound (and silence) to one or two files, while the boxes remain checked. The write2 box writes a stereo .wav file, the write8 box writes an 8-channel .wav file, and the both box writes, well, both. The file names contain "tapestrea" as well as a timestamp, for identification. They are saved in the working directory.

Using the library

The library pane shows an icon for each available template.

Figure 2 : Zoom in on library pane (by pressing 1)

Some points to note are :

  1. The shape and color of the icon show the template type. (For example, green spheres are deterministic events, donuts are loops, and so on.)
  2. Clicking on a template selects it. The bottom right pane then displays the controls for that template, which can be manipulated in real-time.
  3. To delete a template from the library, select it and hit the "backspace" or "delete" key (on the keyboard). A template only gets deleted if it is not being used in a timeline or mixed bag.
  4. To play a template without selecting it, right click on it.

Creating a loop

A loop can be created from a deterministic or transient event template as follows.

  1. Select the event template.
  2. Among the event parameters, click in the box entitled loop me to make sure that option is selected (marked by a green sphere).
  3. Click the copy button.

A new loop from the selected event should now appear in the library. It can be selected, played and manipulated as desired.

Figure 3 : Zoom in on loop control pane (by pressing 2)

Creating and using a timeline

  1. A timeline is created by specifying a duration and clicking the new button at the top right.
  2. The new timeline created is automatically selected and displayed across the top. In the library pane, the name of the currently displayed timeline is always written in dark red instead of black.
  3. The duration of the current timeline, in seconds, is displayed at the top left. If no timeline is being displayed, a message to that effect appears instead.
  4. The duration can also be modified after the timeline has been created, simply by altering the duration controls at the top right. If a timeline is shortened so that some of the events on it occur too far from the beginning to get played (or displayed), their existence is marked by a red arrow/triangle at the right end of the timeline.
  5. Tick marks appear on the timeline at intervals of the currently selected duration unit (or the next lowest unit, if the duration is a proper fraction of the current unit).
  6. You can zoom in on parts of the timeline using the zoom and shift sliders below the timeline (not shown in figure).
  7. To add a template to a timeline, drag and drop its icon from the library onto the timeline. The dropped icon's horizontal distance from the beginning of the timeline determines when the template is played. Its vertical distance from the center currently means nothing.
  8. To reposition a template already on the timeline, drag and drop the icon on the timeline (to elsewhere on the timeline).
  9. To remove a template from a timeline, drag its icon off the timeline into white space.
  10. To play the timeline, select it and hit listen. The left and right boundaries on the timeline specify the time range that is synthesized and can be adjusted to play a certain region.

Creating and using a mixed bag

  1. A new mixed bag is created by typing N (shift + n) on the keyboard.
  2. Templates can be added to a mixed bag by dragging them from the library pane to the parameter/control pane (bottom right quadrant) while the appropriate mixed bag is selected.
  3. Templates can be removed from the mixed bag by dragging them off it into white space. This can be done even while the mixed bag is playing.
  4. The overall mixed bag controls are originally visible when a new mixed bag is created. To access individual template parameters within a mixed bag, select the see LOCAL controls box. To access the global parameters again, unselect that box.

Figure 4 : Zoom in on mixed bag control pane

Using ChucK scripts

ChucK scripts let you assert more precise control over the timing and value of synthesis parameters. They also enable more specialized tasks such as changing multiple parameters simultaneously, controlling synthesis via OSC or MIDI messages, loading a set of templates via a single script, and adding to the graphical user interface. The scripting API for synthesis is listed here.

Special commands

Some of the special (or obscure) keyboard commands for the synthesis face have already been mentioned, but here they are again, along with some new ones.

Backspace	: delete selected template from library
Space bar	: play selected template (short cut)
N (shift + n)	: create a new mixed bag
q or z		: toggle display of quantization markers
		  (if a template has associated quantization tables, a small
		   blue or green marker appears next to its icon when this 
		   display is on, as it is by default)

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