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I would like to use some Lorem Ipsum like thing for synthesizer sound demonstration. To be specific, I want the following properties

  • Polyphonic (Some sounds like pads really needs a chord)
  • It should sound real, but be "content-less" exactly like the Lorem Ipsum filler text really looks like if it were a real text.

The lorem ipsum text is defined such that the distribution in word length matches the distribution for normal text. Perhaps it would work to interpret this as chord length. The individual letters can thought has the lead.

Any way, to measure I need a large collection songs in MIDI format to analyze...

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4 Answers 4

Search for "Markov Chain MIDI music generator". You'll find plenty of them.

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Beat me to it! +1! –  luser droog Aug 27 '12 at 6:18
    
+1 Really interesting! May I suggest you add a short description of the concept to the answer? –  Ulf Åkerstedt Aug 31 '12 at 22:40

I'm not sure this is possible. How can a sound be "content-less"? The sound is the content.

It's possible for a written word (such as "lorem") to be content-less because a written word is simply a string of characters, and strings of characters by themselves don't have meaning unless they are placed within the context of a language. The content of a written word isn't the string of characters of which it's comprised, it's the meaning imparted to that string of characters by the language. For example, the string of characters "hablar" has no meaning until placed in the context of the Spanish language---if you don't speak any Spanish, "hablar" has as much content as "lorem".

But in music, the sound itself is the content. How could it be otherwise? I'm trying to imagine myself hearing your synth demonstration. I'm sitting and listening, and the synth begins producing sounds that "sound real" but don't have any actual content? What does that mean? This is where I get hung up: how can I possibly not hear those sounds as music?

Maybe you could give an example or two of the kind of thing you're looking for?

Update: What Is the OP Looking For?

The discussion with @Raskolnikov below has helped me to clarify some thoughts, so here goes:

For those of you who may not be familiar with lorem ipsum text, the idea is this: imagine (for example) you're a web designer tasked with designing a client's website, and you've reached the stage where you want the client to evaluate some designs you've put together. So you use lorem ipsum text wherever text would appear in the design. Why? Because it looks like normal English text, but isn't actually real text. This accomplishes two purposes:

  1. Lorem ipsum gives the client a realistic idea of what the final website will look like when the real text is in it. Randomly generated strings of characters don't look realistic: the words are too long, there are too many consecutive consonants, and it just looks fake. Lorem ipsum, by contrast, is very carefully constructed to look like real English text. You could, of course, use actual English text---say, a passage from Moby Dick, which looks like real text because it is real text.
  2. But lorem ipsum is better than a passage from Moby Dick because it avoids engaging the client in reading the actual text (because you can't actually read it). This is important, because you don't want the client, while evaluating your website design, to read the text and become distracted by thoughts of white whales. When you're presenting the design, the content isn't the point---the design is, and actual text distracts the client from evaluating the design.

Ok. So the OP has a synthesizer they'd like to demonstrate (to a customer, a supervisor, or whoever), and they need some sequence of sounds for the demonstration. This sequence of sounds must do both these things:

  1. Sound realistic. The listener should hear the demonstration and think, "yeah, I can use this to make music" and not "what am I ever going to use this for?"
  2. Avoid engaging the listener with the music. The OP wants the listener to be thinking "wow, what cool things this synth can do" and not be distracted by thinking "wow, what great music!"

I don't think this is possible. I think any sequence of sounds that sounds realistic enough to convince the listener they could make effective use of the synth will (or at least might) also engage the listener in the music those sounds are making. Personally, I know I, at least, would definitely be distracted by the music.

So What's the OP To Do?

I think the best thing is to go ahead and engage the listener in the music. Choose music that's obscure and unfamiliar, but still worth listening to---maybe even compose some original music. After all, the ultimate goal is for the listener to come away from the demo thinking "I could use that to make my own music." By choosing something unfamiliar, you're less likely to lose the listener in humming along, but you'll still leave him/her with the idea that your synth can be used to make real music, and that's exactly what you want them to think.

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If the sound is just pure noise, wouldn't that qualify as contentless? –  Raskolnikov Aug 19 '12 at 5:49
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@Raskolnikov Perhaps (although by way of counterexample, check out Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music youtube.com/watch?v=YyF7g-dHO7g), but contentless pure noise doesn't "sound real" enough. It seems to me as though the OP is looking for something that sounds like actual music but isn't actual music---I contend this is impossible. –  Alex Basson Aug 19 '12 at 13:06
    
One could have a computer program generate 1/f noise and then let it harmonize it according to classical harmony rules, that would be random enough and still not so random that it doesn't sound like music. –  Raskolnikov Aug 19 '12 at 14:27
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@Raskolnikov "...not so random that it doesn't sound like music"---I guess that's my point. If it sounds like music, it is music. No? Randomly generated or not, computer generated or not, how is it possible for something to sound like music and yet the listener not experience it as (perhaps bizarre) music? –  Alex Basson Aug 19 '12 at 14:48
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@Alex, I am not sure Lorem ipsum was made to look like english. Original text comes from Cicero - De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (Liber Primus) –  Stephane Rolland Aug 19 '12 at 23:55

What about that warm-up sound the orchestra makes? That's pretty fun and recognizable. I don't know what it's called.

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They're just tuning their instruments. But it's a nice idea. –  Raskolnikov Aug 19 '12 at 14:30
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But it's a consistent progression, very full sound, and "contentless". Not even a tempo! –  uosɐſ Aug 19 '12 at 14:31
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If anyone is wondering, this sound is a bunch of stacked perfect 4ths and 5ths around A. –  NReilingh Aug 27 '12 at 14:52

Ok. I'm going to take a chance on this one.

This 'question' prompted me to find out about this :

http://www.scorio.com

If I understand correctly, you can make your "Lorem Ipsum" music yourself, and download a midi file along with that 'test' file.

Unfortunately I think it's up to you to make it polyphonic. I tried, gang.

More Specific Link: Start your Lorem Ipsum Midi or Whatever More

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