Bringing Communities Together Through Music
Welcome to Virginia Tech Linux Laptop Orchestra’s L2Ork Tweeter. L2Ork Tweeter is a free and open source program inspired by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has required a vast majority of the human population to practice prolonged social distancing. It is designed to bring communities together by empowering users around the world to engage in collaborative music making even over slow internet connections. It also facilitates the exploration of audio synthesis and the rich variety of sounds one can generate using the frequency modulation algorithm. It supports up to ten concurrent performers and as many additional guests or audience members as the server bandwidth allows who can observe a performance live over the internet. Each user is given an instrument with a tracker that can be populated by up to 64 loop-enabled keystrokes or notes. This intentional constraint requires users to build complexity through interaction with other users. It is in part inspired by the popular social media platform Twitter that imposes a similar design constraint of allowing only up to 280 characters per Tweet. As a result, and as evidenced by its name, L2Ork Tweeter can be seen as a musical counterpart to Twitter.
Below we cover essential steps to get you started as quickly as possible. For a detailed overview of Tweeter’s features, we encourage you to watch the video above. For a 2-minute quick-start, fast-forward the video to the 1:25 mark. You may also want to check out “Into the Abyss”, the first ever crowdsourced work written for the L2Ork Tweeter platform and premiered live online on December 8th, 2020, as part of the fall 2020 Creative Technologies in Music/C+I/ICAT event, or jump directly to the online synchronized “drop” found near the time marker 03:23.
As of August 2021, the latest version of the L2Ork Tweeter and the server are included with Pd-L2Ork. Therefore, you only need to download and install the Pd-L2Ork free and open-source digital sound manipulation visual programming language using one of the following links.
Download latest Pd-L2Ork release for your specific platform:
Once you have installed the Pd-L2Ork. You can access L2Ork Tweeter in your user’s home folder (on Windows it is found in the Documents folder) by navigating to Pd-L2Ork/apps/L2Ork Tweeter, and opening the L2Ork Tweeter patch. This is intentional because this way you will be able to save your own presets. If you ever corrupt the L2Ork Tweeter by introducing changes to its core that break it, you can always restore the original version that has shipped with the installed release of Pd-L2Ork by navigating to Preferences and then clicking on the General tab. The original version of L2Ork Tweeter and other apps installed with Pd-L2Ork can be also accessed through the Help Browser which can be invoked by pressing CTRL+B (CMD+B on the Mac), or by selecting the Help -> Help Browser option in the menu. Once the Help Browser opens, scroll to the Apps section and click on the L2Ork Tweeter, and then again on the L2Ork Tweeter patch. In the event there is a newer version of L2Ork Tweeter than the one shipped with the Pd-L2Ork you currently have installed, you are strongly encouraged to upgrade Pd-L2Ork, as the newer version of L2Ork Tweeter may also rely on the new features found inside Pd-L2Ork. Alternately, you can simply download the latest release and overwrite the L2Ork Tweeter folder found in your home/Pd-L2Ork/apps directory (or Documents/Pd-L2Ork/apps directory on Windows).
In the event you need to download the latest version of the L2Ork Tweeter and do not want to upgrade Pd-L2Ork (even though this is not recommended), you can do so using the link below:
Please note, to account for any changes the network protocol and therefore ensure full server compatibility, each new release will also include a version bump to the server patch. Once you have unzipped the newly downloaded version over the existing folder you should be ready to go. Note that new client releases are backwards compatible, so you should not lose any work by upgrading. As we add more content (loops, presets, and sessions), to prevent having the newly included content overwritten by your content from the older version), when creating your own content, please make sure to primarily save loops and presets using numbers 1-10, or use some really high number (e.g. 1000). Please don’t forget to share your content with us and we will gladly consider including it in the future releases. For additional details what has been added, changed, and/or fixed, please see the CHANGELOG.txt file that is included with each release, starting with the version 0.33.
We very much look forward to the creations you may come up with while collaborating with other users from across the world. Please don’t forget to share your creations with us and we will gladly include them in the future releases of the L2Ork Tweeter. Until then, stay safe, stay creative!