(Reminder: if you’ve already joined our Max for Live mailing list, you can access MAPPA at the download link that we emailed you when you joined!)
Performing with encoders (also known as dials, rotaries, those 8 knobs at the top of a Push) is something of a haphazard affair for me. I’ve seen an awful lot of performances which just devolve into the performer twiddling as many dials as possible, thinking that they’re relishing in some intense moment in the music, but resulting not only in crappy performance but crappy music. As an audience member, I feel there’s so much validity in a performance where the performer actually knows what they’re doing.
The Max for Live device here encourages more restrained and intentional performances. “Mappa” allows you to create a break-point function (the blue line) which becomes the new “map” for that parameter, so now, moving an encoder from its lowest to its highest point can be changed to an intricate and interesting array of values.
As an example, load up “Mappa” on a new track, click the Map button at the bottom and then click on a parameter you might like to control, say, track volume. Then move the slider above the Map button: you’ll already notice that the track volume doesn’t move in a linear fashion like you’d expect—it’s moving as the function above it (the one that looks like the letter “M”) tells it to. The track volume goes up quickly, falls down a little, climbs back to the top again, and then suddenly falls back down to the bottom.
Of course, you can edit the function however you please. Click in the square to create a new point, hold Shift and click on a point to delete it. Holding down “Option” (or “Alt”) and clicking and dragging on a line will turn it into a smooth curve.
The ‘function’ object is quite an essential part of Max, and can provide a very nice graphical means of controlling and tweaking sounds made in Max. I highly recommend looking at the ‘function’ help file and getting a sense of how powerful it is. I’ve also borrowed some code from the LFO object in the Max for Live Essentials pack to make this, because it provides for a very easy way to attach a Max for Live device to a parameter. As I’ve said before though, be careful when using other peoples’ code like this. Always give credit where it’s due.
This is one way of bringing a more intentional sense of control to your performances, and as usual we’d love to hear how you’re using Mappa, or any of our Max for Live devices, for your performances and productions.
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