Online Opera


Skteches, scenes, arias & ditties from 'Please DO not **use Wet Paint'

An Appeal: the Universal Sting PDF Print E-mail
Written by D. Bond   
Thursday, 25 March 2010 09:36

Fetch the wet string, I feel a whine coming on:


I wonder why should I give so much away? Especially when no one cares.

Please friends, this should be possible to do in my own community! Don't chase me away. Let us do this thing. It's not going to hurt anyone. It may even help. I wish to build musical instruments, toys and games. And I will speak of the mind and the nature of life. That's all. Nothing new or extraordinary. Just the usual.

The innovations I have in mind are not to be found in these pages. I hold some things back hoping I won't end up as some kind of Nikola Tesla figure with all my ideas stolen feeding pigeons in a park, or a recluse hiding from everything like Emily Dickinson (or Milarepa!).


  Much Madness

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain.

- Emily Dickinson


Emily, I wonder how many can even read your words anymore, let alone comprehend them?

I wish my theory were abstruse like Einstein. Sadly it is not. So simple. Should one read, it becomes clear, consider it, it is sensible, hear it, it is divine.

I say universal, but people won't forgive me for this. But I repeat: 'it is universal, and I'm sorry.'

Someone had to discover the harmonic matrix at some point in human history - just as has been done on other worlds, past, future, concurrent, (always) again sorry - and on this planet I'm afraid it was me. But I am not competing with anyone, please understand. The I has very little to do with any of this!

No. Please don't ask me to reveal my great prize now. The enfolded string is too much. It is my dissertation. My salvation.

Ask me and I will explain. Sit & listen, I will sing a new song for u.

The structure of emptiness revealed: I once pinched into being, fall away, endlessly.




Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2010 22:06
State of the Union Address: "travel grant NYC" PDF Print E-mail
Written by D. Bond   
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 09:59

3. Artistic Statement

Primarily, my work is in the composition and theory of music. The foundation of my research, and all artworks resulting from my investigations, comes from a new approach to musical intonation and rhythm I have named "Harmonic Matrix Theory". This theory encompasses and subsumes all musical theory up to this point, expanding upon it, challenging the traditional concepts of music as having twelve tones per octave, the notion of a fixed center of pitch [i.e. A=440], the notion of 'tonality' and opens up the largely unexplored territory of arbitrarily simple and complex rhythms and forms.

The use of the computer is essential to accurately realize precise pitch and rhythmic relationships that go beyond the capabilities of even the best human instrumentalists. However, the goal is not to render the human obsolete, but to integrate the technology with the performer and to create something new, virtuosic, precise and sound. To this end, last year I attended the New Interfaces for Musical Expression [NIME] conference and returned to commence work on the building electronic of devices that can realize the musical implications of the harmonic matrix. Thus far, I have adapted many existing devices [mouse, keyboard, piano keyboard, game controllers, webcams, pen tablet, midi devices, etc.] and designed and built two original instrument designs, "The Clamshell" [an xy touch pad, dial, with pressure sensor and infrared distance detector] and "The Musical Ruler" [pressure and position, dial and magnetic field sensors]. Plans for many more devices are on the drafting table, requiring only adequate funding to realize. Over this past year, I have reached the conclusion that given any electronic input device, it is possible to create a musical interface suitable to control an aspect of the harmonic matrix.

From the experience of working with these new devices, new discoveries have been made in terms of the theory that now include the "Golden Matrix", and "Universal String ["ustring"]". Also, for the first time, the pure beauty of the "Harmonic Hypercube" has been sounded and a model of the "Prime Pyramid" has been built. The linking of the harmonic matrix to the golden section and to physical properties of strings, provides evidence that the harmonic matrix is not just a manufactured abstraction [such as the 12-tone matrices of the serialists] but gives important insights into observable phenomena.

Returning to musical composition, there are many ways to integrate these new devices and theoretic approaches into comprehensive compositional systems that respond meaningfully to human input and gesture, are flexible, expressive, and beautiful. With intonation and rhythmic execution being managed by computer, this frees to performer to interact with global compositional parameters, shaping and influencing the composition in real-time. For example, in 'ascend+descend' [an installation work premiered at send+receive v.11], measuring the motion of the observer affected the composition's tempo and position controlled transposition. In a work for ensemble currently in development, one performer plays a melody, while another controls transposition, another voice selection, another spatialization parameters, etc. It is important to mention that the idea of creating a work that is performed exactly the same each time is anathema to this aesthetic, as is free improvisation [do anything you want for as long as you want], along with complete chaos and randomness.

Currently, the "Golden Matrix" is used to divide lengths of time, that are iterated and nested to create structure. Random elements are strictly controlled and 'composed' algorithmically. A visual notation using colour, text, graphical objects, etc. is being developed that provides performers information about where they are in the composition, what gestures should be made, and what choices and divergent roads are available. Also being explored are the creation of images corresponding to a performer's gestures, i.e. 'the visualization of music'. This is different from the current [very impressive] approach that analyzes the audio input and then draws images, rather images and audio are created simultaneously using the parameters of the compositional algorithm and the input of the performer. The result is a multi-media, audio-visual composition that is performed with discipline and virtuosity, yet each time it is played it is different.

4. Project Proposal

The International Computer Music Conference [ICMC] is undoubtedly the most important annual event in this very broad and constantly changing field. Moreover, I am thrilled to report that a short piece of mine will be played in the 60x60 concert series as part of the ICMC.

This year, the ICMC put out a call for workshops, papers, presentations, installations in the following areas:

  • Digital Audio Signal Processing
  • Sound Synthesis and Analysis
  • Music Analysis
  • Music Information Retrieval
  • Representation and Models for Computer Music
  • Artificial Intelligence and Music
  • Languages for Computer Music
  • Printing and Optical Recognition of Music
  • Mathematical Music Theory
  • Psychoacoustics, Music Perception
  • Acoustics of Music
  • Aesthetics, Philosophy and Criticism of Music
  • History of Electroacoustic Music
  • Computer Systems in Music Education
  • Composition Systems and Techniques
  • Interactive Performance Systems
  • Software and Hardware Systems
  • General and Miscellaneous Issues in Computer Music
  • Studio Reports

While all of the subject areas are of interest to me, related most closely to my work is 'Digital Audio Signal Processing', 'Music Analysis', 'Music Information Retrieval', 'Representation and Models for Computer Music', 'Mathematical Music Theory', 'Aesthetics, Philosophy and Criticism', 'Composition Systems and Techniques', and 'Interactive Performance Systems'.

As I did at the NIME conference, I would consider it my 'job' to attend as much of the conference as physically possible, to listen, observe and absorb information. Considering my statement above, while I have created an imperturbable foundation upon which to base my work, I admit that the growth of the structure that has taken root is embryonic, fragile, requiring growth and development. Forced to reconsider music from an entirely different perspective, I have done perhaps, as Erik Satie suggests:

"Si quelqu'un trouvait quelque chose de vraiment nouveau, je recommencerai tout."

To nurture my idea, I seek better understanding of what others are thinking especially with regards to musical composition systems, interactivity, and the building of devices for human expression that link all these components together. There is the potential that music may be the best way to interact with machines, to listen to 'trends in the stockmarket' for example [as observed at NIME] or the weather, to input extraordinary amounts of data through a system, to steer a composition as one steers a flight simulator, to personally create 3-d audio-visual environments through physical gesture & musical responses. The act of composition is no longer the creation of a static object kept on paper, tape, or preserved digitally, only to be 'replayed', it becomes the creation of an ever-changing environment that a listener strolls through, participates in, creates within a subset of possibilities and the potential for interconnectivity. The virtual world is a fabrication and therefore limited; for it to exist, it must be composed.

The design and development of intelligent music systems goes in tandem with the requirements of performers and demands of audience. The ICMC will bring together some of the best installations and performing artists in the field of computer music. Likely they are asking themselves the same questions I am asking about the future of art and music, and presenting their findings and answers in their work. I am very interested to hear what they have to say.

I am also hopeful that other may be interested in hearing what I have to offer. My piece Harmonic Hypercube [6-8-9-12] is to be played at the 60x60 concert series. In essence, it is a short theoretical synopsis of my work in musical intonation. The program note reads:


60x60 is a vibrant project begun 2003, that keeps gaining momentum []. This year 60x60 is holding 6 concerts each one hour in length comprised of 60 one-minute compositions by different composers. I am honored to have a work selected for this event [& delighted to report that my piece will also be part of the 60 pieces that make up the 'Canadian Mix', which [I believe] is released as a commercial CD]. I plan on attending the concert series, and wonder if may hear from, read of, or perhaps even meet at least a few other people in this world interested in the theory and practice of musical intonation and the fantastic possibilities offered by the computer.

online opera: minutes 10-04-27 Vesak 2553 PDF Print E-mail
Written by D. Bond   
Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:13

In a surprise move, on a day normally reserved for fasting and shaving his head, corporate lackey DL Bond got a proper haircut and ate a hamburger.

online opera: minutes 10-06-03 PDF Print E-mail
Written by D. Bond   
Thursday, 03 June 2010 22:06

Brief report filed late:

It is midnight. I am in Stony Brook. I have already been to, and left the organized madness that is Manhattan, to find only now this brief moment within my hectic schedule and the need to sleep to record a few notes.

I remember sitting in Toronto airport, and a young girl belonging to a young family eating Italian sandwiches pointing to the ceiling and saying "Look Mommy, there's so many speakers! There's so many speakers, but no music!" Given my affair with K of late, and the purpose of this voyage, I take this to be a sign of significance, an omen of good fortune.

I remember arriving in New York, asking for directions on taking public transit to Manhattan. A fleeting friend named Richard explained the bus service to the subway, which train to take, how to buy my transit card, rode the bus with me, told me when to get off. We talked about San Francisco. Remind me to name a hero after him.

I remember arriving in Manhattan, walking to the YMCA, and encountering a horde [or is it throng?] of Hasidic Jews protesting something or other. The police had three blocks cordoned off. Earlier I had been asking myself about belief, and displays of belief, and here is the answer: a thousand men in top hats, long coats, scraggly beards and long sideburns twisted into curls.

I remember arriving at the Y to find I have not paid as I had thought. Remind me to check my credit card bill. I have a small room with a tv, fridge, and I could touch both walls standing in the middle. No matter, it is for sleeping only.

I remember walking aimlessly around New York with a map, trying to get my bearings. The irresistible gravitational pull brings me to Times Square.  Beautiful girls in princess dresses, graduates, tourists taking pictures. And then, a guy with no pants on a scooter zooms past. Seriously, naked from the waist down. Welcome to NY.

I remember leaving the Y with bags and getting to the conference. The conference is smaller in numbers than I imagined but larger in content than is possible to take in. Concurrent sessions mean I must cake choices. I remind myself of another of my catch phrases 'choice is over-rated'.

I remember the lessons on networking and schmoozing I have recently learned and become fearless. I am meeting people, talking, sharing thoughts and ideas - not only that people are listening. 

I remember I entered 'Bond Institute' into the field asking for an organization or affiliation. It appears under my name on my name badge. People ask, and I tell the truth 'I made it up.' and share with them the story of Cindy Crawford and my non-subtle joke about being institutionalized. It is a good ice breaker.

I remember arriving at the Menno House to find a gorgeous room in a lovely home with a piano, and a back yard garden. The only thing missing is a cat. I am reminded I miss Nük.

I remember not having the pleasure of spending much waking time there.

I remember I must sleep now, and must try to jot a few notes later - but when shall I find the time?

I remember I did not bring any soap or shampoo. Remind me not to do that again.






Last Updated on Friday, 04 June 2010 07:05
installation: cardinal sin - LMAO PDF Print E-mail
Written by D. Bond   
Friday, 18 June 2010 22:28


two electronic keyboards are arranged in a 90 degree angle.

the first plays an equally tempered scale in the normal manner but makes no sound unless the other is played*.

the second keyboard reverses the ET keyboard around the note middle 'D' = 62 = 1/1

arranged descending/ascending ascending/descending makes no difference - heck use 4 keyboards, complete the circle. seal yourself inside. what do i care?


play whatever

try "Heart & Soul", "chopsticks", etc.


variation #1

make the pianos granular, so the tones can be sustained indefinitely.

variation #2

use any sound whatsoever


* uh, need i explain that the 2 pianos transpose one another by matrix multiplication?

[sorry mathematicians if this is the wrong term for making a new matrix by multiplying together two lists [1 x n matrices] but its the best I can think of.]


new challenge to the old school: compose works for solo performer and duet

[in other words, two keyboards, four keyboards, six keyboards, a dozen!






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