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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » January » 09


Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 10:22 pm

Millions of children worldwide use Scratch to enter the world of programming. Now there’s a new way to connect to music, as Roland teams up with MIT.

There’s a long, amazing history of teaching programming and creativity to kids. A lot of this legacy traces back to Cambridge and Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, and Cynthia Solomon, with their late 60s introduction of the Logo programming language and accompanying Turtle Graphics, alongside a physical turtle robot. (Cynthia Solomon by the way has had an ongoing career contributing to this work and was one of the people instrumental in seeing this tool introduced to Apple’s 80s computer initiatives, which is how I grew up with it.)

If you understand topics like programming, logic – and machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related fields – as an extensive of how we think, then this is more than simply vocational prep. It’s not just making sure we have a generation of cheap coders, in other words. Learning programming, creativity, and media in this way can help how we think – so it’s really important.

Scratch is one of the latest to follow in these footsteps. It’s a free visual programming environment available on all operating systems and in 70+ (human) languages, built in its latest iteration with Web technologies. You can use it in a browser, and it has some surprisingly sophisticated interactive sprite and behavior capabilities, merging some of the best of past tools like Smalltalk, HyperCard, Director/Lingo, ActionScript, and others.

You know – for kids.

The GO_KEYS keyboard from Roland. Its price is a bit above the entry level (around $300). The main thought here is to reach new musicians by offering different ways of playing with loops and discovering music.

So now, where Roland comes in – now there’s an extension that lets you plug in a Roland GO:KEYS keyboard and use the GO:KEYS both as controller and sound source. Roland tell us “the SCRATCH X Extension combined with new firmware on the Roland GO:Keys allows for bi-directional communication via USB.”

You can program the GO:KEYS – and its musical capabilities – from Scratch. And you can control Scratch interactively using the keyboard’s notes and velocity, without any manual setup. So you can trigger animations or interactions from the keyboard, and Scratch can rely on GO:KEYS unique looping and sound generation facilities to add musical elements. Roland explains: “The GO:Keys Extension for SCRATCH X includes “blocks” which can select Loop Sets, play back specific patterns, determine the musical key, and so on.”

The SCRATCH X extension is the work of Roland; Scratch itself comes from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Scratch programming interface with the new Roland module.

There’s some really cool potential here. HyperCard allowed kids (and adults) to create interactive storybooks and the like; with Scratch and GO:KEYS, you can imagine using keys to trigger story events, program logic creating musical events, and live control of music both from Scratch and the keyboard. Creative kids could turn this into a wild new instrument, complete with physical controls.

Now, of course, whether you specifically need the GO:KEYS for this or not is another matter. But it’s nice to see Roland even interested in this area. (And there’s an opportunity for the company to follow up with hardware loans and the like, and to work with other partners.) It’s also an excuse to look at this theme and where it could go.

Creative coding and teaching have long been a passion for me and this site, so I’ll be sure we follow up on this one!

GO:KEYS

scratch.mit.edu

The post Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 10:22 pm

Millions of children worldwide use Scratch to enter the world of programming. Now there’s a new way to connect to music, as Roland teams up with MIT.

There’s a long, amazing history of teaching programming and creativity to kids. A lot of this legacy traces back to Cambridge and Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, and Cynthia Solomon, with their late 60s introduction of the Logo programming language and accompanying Turtle Graphics, alongside a physical turtle robot. (Cynthia Solomon by the way has had an ongoing career contributing to this work and was one of the people instrumental in seeing this tool introduced to Apple’s 80s computer initiatives, which is how I grew up with it.)

If you understand topics like programming, logic – and machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related fields – as an extensive of how we think, then this is more than simply vocational prep. It’s not just making sure we have a generation of cheap coders, in other words. Learning programming, creativity, and media in this way can help how we think – so it’s really important.

Scratch is one of the latest to follow in these footsteps. It’s a free visual programming environment available on all operating systems and in 70+ (human) languages, built in its latest iteration with Web technologies. You can use it in a browser, and it has some surprisingly sophisticated interactive sprite and behavior capabilities, merging some of the best of past tools like Smalltalk, HyperCard, Director/Lingo, ActionScript, and others.

You know – for kids.

The GO_KEYS keyboard from Roland. Its price is a bit above the entry level (around $300). The main thought here is to reach new musicians by offering different ways of playing with loops and discovering music.

So now, where Roland comes in – now there’s an extension that lets you plug in a Roland GO:KEYS keyboard and use the GO:KEYS both as controller and sound source. Roland tell us “the SCRATCH X Extension combined with new firmware on the Roland GO:Keys allows for bi-directional communication via USB.”

You can program the GO:KEYS – and its musical capabilities – from Scratch. And you can control Scratch interactively using the keyboard’s notes and velocity, without any manual setup. So you can trigger animations or interactions from the keyboard, and Scratch can rely on GO:KEYS unique looping and sound generation facilities to add musical elements. Roland explains: “The GO:Keys Extension for SCRATCH X includes “blocks” which can select Loop Sets, play back specific patterns, determine the musical key, and so on.”

The SCRATCH X extension is the work of Roland; Scratch itself comes from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Scratch programming interface with the new Roland module.

There’s some really cool potential here. HyperCard allowed kids (and adults) to create interactive storybooks and the like; with Scratch and GO:KEYS, you can imagine using keys to trigger story events, program logic creating musical events, and live control of music both from Scratch and the keyboard. Creative kids could turn this into a wild new instrument, complete with physical controls.

Now, of course, whether you specifically need the GO:KEYS for this or not is another matter. But it’s nice to see Roland even interested in this area. (And there’s an opportunity for the company to follow up with hardware loans and the like, and to work with other partners.) It’s also an excuse to look at this theme and where it could go.

Creative coding and teaching have long been a passion for me and this site, so I’ll be sure we follow up on this one!

GO:KEYS

scratch.mit.edu

The post Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

THE COMPLETE AIR + STYLE LINEUP IS OUT!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 6:00 pm
Zedd, Phoenix, Gucci Mane, Cashmere Cat, Cut Copy, Dram, Griz, Mura Masa, Phantogram, Tinashe, Washed Out, Badbadnotgood and more!

THE BONNAROO LINEUP IS OUT!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 3:30 pm
Eminem, The Killers and Muse all headline! Future, Bassnectar, Sturgill Simpson, Bon Iver also top the lineup!

«Why do MCs sing about expensive cars?»

Delivered... Renato Martins | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 2:47 pm

The Brazilian music style funk ostentação is the south-american version of the «pimp model» in US rap. In his comment, Renato Martins asks why an MC would «sing about expensive cars and motorbikes». From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Would funk MCs actually take the bicycle? (Photo © Flickr/Carlton Reid, 2008)

When I started to study funk ostentação — a derived style from funk carioca that MCs from São Paulo created in 2008, I never imagined I would discover that it is just a copy of the «pimp model» in American rap. Singing about money and wealth has always been part of Brazilian funk music, but it was never as strong as in funk ostentação. Before, funk music — as dance music — predominantly focused on the subject of sexuality. I asked myself, «Why does an MC sing about expensive cars and motorbikes?» and I soon recognized that funk ostentação changed the way these MCs were dealing with the topic of money completely.

Two distinctive parts of the ostentação movement can be identified: the kick-off and the definition. The first ostentação video by Kondzilla, main director of more than ninety percent of all ostentação clips, was «Megane» from MC Boy do Charme, an MC from São Vicente. Before recording, he invited a few friends to appear on the set. In exchange, they had to bring along their own expensive motorbikes and cars—swanky vehicles that create a contrast between the reality of their still poor neighborhood and the wish for a better life.

The second part of the movement started with «Plaquê de 100» from São Paulo-based MC Guimê. This is the moment when the video language stops being honest with its audience. Suddenly the video show under-contract dancers and models with rented cars and motorbikes. Instead of hanging around with a few friends, the genre started producing expensive music videos with professional staff. From then on, the songs and videos became just about money and the dream of being rich. The style of ostentação was consolidated.

The video medium itself became more and more a space for competition: who can collect the most expensive things on the set? They started with a Megane, continued with a Citroën, an Audi, a Ferrari or a jet ski, and ended up with helicopters and planes. All this material is very expensive—if not impossible—to own. Finally they reached the apex: there were no more lavish objects to show. And, as tends to happen with trends, new MCs began singing about other subjects and ostentação became old.

In the Brazilian funk carioca culture, the artists would always sing about their lives. So, it’s none too surprising that as soon as it’s possible for them to buy new clothes—a comprehensible consequence of the economical boom, which started at the same time as the ostentação movement in 2008—they would sing about it. But these funk MCs definitely lost any contact with reality when they started to sing about unaffordable objects.

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Bruno Muniz: «Funk is Culture – Music Politics in Brazil»
> Hannes Liechti: «Dick, Pussy, and Ass for Everyone»

Read More on the web

> João Paulo Vicente: «Meet Brazil’s MC Bin Laden, the “Crazy Ass Kid” Who Just Wants to Come to America»

********, ∆, †‡† … the most unpronounceable band names ever

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 1:04 pm

Whether it’s a marketing gimmick or a way to stop anyone ever talking about your band, musicians are rejecting random nouns in favour of punctuation and ancient languages

Of all the stock ways to name a band (lame puns, random nouns, Something Something and the Somethings), one of the most enduring is choosing something totally unpronounceable. Take ********, whose “first and final” album The Drink is out at the end of the month. They’re probably pronounced Guinness, given this self-penned guide to their name: “Generally Underwhelmed. Incognito. Niceties. Not Even Slightly Suggestive.”

Their aggressively out of tune Bontempi jams, like Dean Blunt tinkering in a haunted bingo hall, aren’t likely to bother the mainstream, so they might as well stop people even being able to talk about them. Or is it the opposite – that they’re making their very unpronounceability a talking point? Well, whether obfuscation or marketing device, they’re far from the only ones to choose a name that requires a record company briefing before you can insert it into dinner party conversation.

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