Walkthrough: Ili, ili / Presentiment – Improvisation, rhythm, sampling

Below is a walkthrough showing how I put together a live-coded composition using samples from the Visayan song Ili, Ili, Tulog Anay and a piano recording by Emahoy Guebrou. I use a slice function to split samples into a predetermined but changing number of pieces, and then rearrange them using a run function.

In my analysis class for music written since the twentieth century at UT Austin, I introduce some basics of algorithmic rhythm generation. This approach is useful for music that uses maximally even rhythms, including twentieth-century music by Antonio Roldán and George Gershwin. It’s an accessible introduction to how cyclic rhythms (like the rhythms used in tango) can be both complex and simple at the same time. The introduction that I teach is pared down in comparison to what you see below.

I use these rhythmic techniques in “Ili, ili / Presentiment,” although they aren’t highlighted in the video walkthrough here.