The Who musician to help the world create their own unique music
Musician Pete Townshend has launched a new software programme called “The Method” that will enable everyone with a computer to create their own piece of ‘musical DNA.’
The programme was developed with composer and mathematician Lawrence Ball and computer developer Dave Snowdon from an idea Townshend had as an art school student back in the 60s.
In the early 70s, the Who musician came up with the concept that everyone has their own musical fingerprint, and he explored this in writing a film script called The Lifehouse. Although fathoming how to make the idea come to life to a further 30 years of technological advancements, his work at the time led to the renowned Who album “Who’s Next” – spawning classic tracks such as “Baba O’Reilly”, “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
With the advent of the internet, Townshend with Ball and Snowdon have been able to make capturing a snapshot of an individual’s personality with music a possibility now.
For The Method to take it’s ‘picture’ – users aka ‘sitters’ simply have to input four samples; two of which are sounds such as a voice, a photograph of something significant and a rhythm sample – into the software which then ‘composes’ a piece of music based on the data put in.
Each piece has infinite possibilities for instrumentation, style, mood and tempo so each piece will be unique to the user.
It is also possible to layer tracks together from several users, the software replicates one within the other – so you could, for example, see what you and your partner ‘sound’ like together.
Townshend places great emphasis on the part of the ‘sitter’ as part of the artistic process in making an orchestrated piece of music. Although nothing is finalised yet, Townshend is looking at ways round the complicated copyright licensing laws to give sitters a third of the publishing rights to their individual track.
The software was first used experimentally on the track “Fragments” on the most recent Who album “Endless Wire” and, as was demonstrated at the launch yesterday (April 25) – each piece of music composed via The Method is able to be layered, elaborated, edited and enhanced with arrangements and lyrics, until it feasibly ends up as a bona fide song.
Townshend and Ball will be picking up newly created tracks that interest them to work on over the coming months.
Throughout the process of making and testing The Method, an album was created by Lawrence Ball, entitled “Method Music – Imaginary Sitters, Imaginary Galaxies.” The album is available to download through iTunes now.
The online Method programme goes online from May 1 on a subscription basis, although the first three months and the first three ‘sittings’ will be free.
Pic credit: PA Photos