A while back I developed something I called Areas, a way to group some instruments and give them a certain behaviour. The idea was good, but needed some polishing. It's been sitting there for a while, and now it was time to give them some attention. Since I had to review/redo a fair bit of code, I thought it was a good time to find a better name: welcome the Ecosystems, which I find way funkier.
What are Ecosystems?
Wikipedia says: "An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.". Let's remap some of that: community to selection, living organism to instrument, nonliving to musical, air to rhythm, water to harmony and mineral soil to texture, and what we get describes pretty well what Whole-Play Ecosystems are:
A Whole-Play Ecosystem is a selection of instruments in conjunction with the musical components of their environment (things like rhythm, harmony and texture), interacting as a system.
So an Ecosystem is a selection of instruments, and their behaviour (what each one does) in response to their musical environment. Think of it as an agreement among the instruments about what they are going to play, taking into consideration their musical context.
Why are they an interesting idea?
There's various reasons why I think Ecosystems will work quite well for Whole-Play:
- They can function as building blocks for a composition. The sequence of Ecosystems will shape the whole piece.
- They are independent. Each Ecosystem decides how its instruments will behave in the musical context, and don't depend on other Ecosystems.
- They are generic. This means they can be reused and combined freely.
- They are responsive. An Ecosystem is not a fixed pattern: it's a certain organization of a group of instruments that can work on multiple (any?) contexts.
- They can respond to Indicators. Therefore they contribute to the organicity of Whole-Play (see the Indicators link to read about that).
The following image is aimed at describing the above visually, and the relationship between Ecosystems and Indicators.
Lately I've been doing a lot of abstract development, I'm hoping I'll have some sound samples to share soon.