An ‘audio sketchbook’ – a non-book containing non-sketches, more of a ‘samplesite’
Frameworks for Interactive Sound
Obvert box, shake, return, select orientation, make sketch.
Select aural metaphor for each visual detail.
The hand claps are pitched enough that you can hear the difference.
Rather than make 19×11 separate phrases, I chose to make 20 phrases, each representing a column in the grid, with the y axis (looking down) representing pitch.
Kick drum and high hat in left channel, hand clap, snare, and TS404 in right channel.
Here I chose to represent my imagined process of how the box was constructed, first just the lens, then the walls, then the other walls and screws, then the sugar, then the marbles – then taking it apart again.
The Piece – “Why, it’s a piece of… art!”
Genesis put out an album called ABACAB, named for the standard form of many of their songs
Best Song Ever:
Malleus Maleficarum – ©ï@|í5
Find the script to a play. The meter will affect the final music, so keep in mind that Shakespeare may sound somewhat boring.
Find a scene with a number of actors equal to the number of people participating.
Find two or three objects that make a sound when you hit them (with your hand, a pen, a hammer, whatever)
Now, read the text of the play as though you were acting, but don’t vocalize any of the words.
An example might be:
From The Empire Strikes Back
Could sound like:
instrument set 1: ‘middle (pause) HIGH middle middle MIDDLE low’
Hit the instrument harder or softer to suggest yelling or whispering, etc. The words in caps above suggest louder sounds.
If playing directly from text is too difficult, first transcribe the text into the notation used above and play from that.
Here it is, at long last – the synthesis of my interests in music, narrative, and visual arts: matchstick.com/acetio
Ada Babbage: Abba: Aba Cadaba
Heinrich Schenker had some interesting theories of music. One, I believe, was that every euphonious melody begins on the 3rd or 5th and ends on the root.
– Made with FruityLoops, Jazz32, and Audition, as well as Blaze Audio Wave Creator and Goldwave
4our – ABA (or ABCA?) midi track quantized to 1/12th notes for an odd, staggered rhythm
“Feel the beat of the rhythm of the night!” – El DeBarge
Ursatz or Ersatz?
Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Skunk
Fifty-Five Noises, some from nature, mostly man-made. The natural ones are most interesting to me.
I tried doing some spectrography on these noises, but since they contain huge swaths of frequencies, the spectrograms ended up just looking like solid blocks with no discernable concentrations, which makes sense.
Play with the filtergraph patch in MSP. You’ll see that surf has a Q of under 1 and wind has a Q of over 2. The noise in between doesn’t quite sound like either.
I discovered that you can save an audio file as txt format, which then has a single line header (e.g. [ASCII 11025Hz, Channels: 1, Samples: 287448, Flags: 0]) and then one line for each sample with a single value (e.g. 0.00781) on each line.
Headers are in uppercase, so changing all characters to upper case left the headers intact while making everything lower case ended up messing them up.
Changing character set on the Sopranos file made it unreadable (even though I left the header intact) while it had almost no effect on the honkytonk file.
White noise, pink noise, red noise, and brown noise
A history of digital audio compression
A good (well, pretty good) explanation of MP3
And a slightly less technial explanation of MPEG, psychoacoustics, etc. is here
MPEG is lossy, just like JPEG, but bitrates of 48 or 56 produce files with no audible artifacts (at least on my speakers) and going this far below the typical 128kbps means an additional compression of maybe 4:1.
The grey album link posted this week on the list is better than the one I had a week or two ago.
#1: Inverse Primes
The values are: 880, 660, 587, 528, 503, 480… 440
#2: Inverse Primes II
The values are: 440, 660, 733, 792, 817, 840… 880
#3: Inverse Primes III
Taking just the primes 2, 3, and 5 and combining the two scales above:
Not too bad. The equal-tempered equivalents are:
This scale has a sharper minor third, slightly flat fifth, flatter 6th, and sharper 7th.
The frequencies taken from a sample of a lark sparrow’s song.
‘snot wong – ‘swite
Snot Wong has some interesting patches for Max/MSP.
Sounds of Nature: Breaking the Wind
This page has more spectral analysis software as well as analyses of whales, human voice, etc.
When I was in college, my job was digital sound engineer, recording and editing language instruction tapes using this brand new tool called ProTools.
Here’s a spectrograph of my voice. Even while trying to speak clearly and evenly, there are lots of harmonics.
Here are the frequencies I found in one bit where I said ‘ah’ for a few seconds, trying to match C2 on my keyboard: (just looking at frequencies with over 30dB of representation)
Not at all what I was expecting. The ‘C’s seem on target, but all the other notes are a surprise. It looks like some kind of 9th chord.
So if I ever meet my robot-clone-doppleganger, I’ll be able to recognize him by his voice, which clearly, sounds terrible.
Obviously there’s a lot more subtlety to the human voice than just raw frequencies.
What does this mean?
The amazing thing about Pythyagorus and the other ancients is that they did their long division using fucking Roman Numerals!
There are a few fundamental irrational numbers:
Early confusion over the exact value of pi was because people assumed it had to result from a basic ratio, such as 22/7.
I have a theory, that there is a basic irrational number that determines fifths in music that is not based on a fraction such as 3/2 and results in a euphonious scale that includes no comma.
So the comma (logarithmic) is equal to about a quarter of a half-note (linear)
Going up by fifths, you wind up at 57088.388671875, but going up by octaves you get 56320.
So, my proposed new irrational number is:
This page shows how the intervals stay the same all the way up the chain.
And now. Oh shit. I look at the chart with the 12-tone equal temperament and see my number already there, as the ‘fixed’ ratio for a perfect 5th.
Let’s a try a kind of fibonacci sequence, using the ratios between numbers for our scale:
It looks good. It even includes the basic pleasing intervals of 3/2 (fifth), 5/3 (sixth), and 8/5 (minor 6th)
Lets’ add a column to allow division by 2 numbers behind. Of course, then we end up with intervals such as 3/1, which is outside the range of an octave, so let’s also divide everything by 2, to keep it in scope:
The first new column levels off at the golden mean + 1. I didn’t know that would happen. And of course the second levels off to half that.
So the lowest note above the root is a major third, then some meanderings around half of one plus the golden ratio (which would be like a diminished 4th, I guess), then a 4th,
Let’s add another column:
It looks like we can’t go on infintely after all. Even if we fix the column by finding the ratios an octave down, we get mostly the same values
I’ll drop the values that hover around the assymptotes, and we get: (bold indicates the ‘pure’ tones that we got on the first pass, the other ones can be optional)
There are no numbers in the ratios larger than 5. That seems clean and pure.
And again with sample frequencies and equal-termpered equivalents:
The ugliest notes are the gold and (gold+1)/2.
The next trick will be to do it again using the E-660 as the root:
Combining these tables and halving some of the values, we get the full monty:
And just for overkill:
To produce: (cleaning out redundancies and adjacents) The standard frequencies are in the right column
I’m still missing an A#.
Maybe this shouldn’t count. All I’ve done really is replicate a version of a just tuning that surely existed hundreds of years ago.
Cornell’s Ornithology Lab (birds.cornell.edu) is probably the best of its kind in the world (and a beautiful facility nestled in Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, NY if you’re ever upstate).
I downloaded Raven which has a 10-minute timeout on the license, and doesn’t allow saving.
The 4x and 8x sounds like bird calls, and the 16x sounds more like an insect.
Many animals seem to use a lot of rising and falling pitches, rather than single ones.
You should also be aware of Silbo Gomero, a human language based entirely on whistling, used in the Canary Islands.
"Hey, Servando!" "What?" "Look, go tell Julio to bring the castanets." "OK. Hey, Julio!" "What?" "Lili says you should go get the kids and have them bring the castanets for the party." "OK, OK, OK."
At first glance I look for doublings to indicate octaves, 2,412 * 2 = 4,824, which is close to the derived value of 4,996, but still almost an entire half-step below.
Remarkably, although the pitches above fall in between the standard note frequencies, they do so regularly and consistently.
The 12th root of 2 is 1.05946309. If we look at the two lower frequencies above, the difference is 1.0713101160862354892205638474295 – close but different.
This page has a good Java applet to let you combine notes and see their waveforms.
I’ve been Googling, looking for the piece that used an 11th interval to suggest the braying of a donkey.
Let’s do the Fibonacci (one ‘n’, two ‘c’s) thing again, shall we? But this time using Prime numbers.
Here are the first 8 (did I miss any?)
Not bad. Levels off to A#, and eventually to A.
Clearly we have a leveling again as the ratios approach 1.
Secrets of Beating Off Explained!
3.mp3 100Hz + 101Hz = beat of 1 sec.
4.mp3 100Hz + 102Hz = beat of 0.5 sec.
5.mp3 100Hz + 101Hz + 103Hz = 3 beats per second, with an emphasis every third beat (3/4 or waltz time).
6.mp3 100Hz + 101Hz + 104Hz = 4 beats per second, with a deemphasis every fourth beat (quasi 4/4 time).
7.mp3 100Hz + 102Hz + 105Hz = finally getting interesting. I’m not sure I can describe it.
8.mp3 100Hz + 102Hz + 103Hz + 105Hz + 107Hz + 111Hz + 113Hz + 117Hz + 119 = Still a one-second beat, with much more texture.
9.mp3 100Hz + 103Hz + 107Hz = An interesting kind of 5/4 beat. I can’t explain it.
The bigger the difference between the frequencies, the faster the interference and thus the beat.
“Radio killed the Telharmonium star… Radio killed the Telharmonium star…”
You’ve probably heard some of the hype around “The Grey Album” a remix of The Beatles’ white album and Jay-Z’s “The Black Album”.
The problem I have with a lot of ‘new music’ is that it’s designed and marketed for the ‘club scene’ and in some ways is the ultimate sellout in that it exists to be sold rather than existing to be beautiful.
I’m waiting for an album called ‘Sand Nigga’ made by some Palestinian rapping about oppression under the Israeli government.
Bob Gluck made an interactive sound installation using Max/MSP called Sounds of a Community with sculptural electronic instruments in the form of Jewish ritual objects: eShawl, eFloor, eHarvest, and eChant.
I ‘work’ with acknowledgement of the thesis that music is the aural equivalent of the clitoris – an evolutionary accident that gives pleasure to some.