Is it music?
Does p2s generate music? When is a sound 'music' and when is it... just a sound?
When I was a kid I spent hours at night listening to shortwave radio. The shortwave bands came alive at night, and with the right kind of radio it was possible to tune into signals of all sorts including morse code and 'teletype' from shipping and military sources. One particular style of transmission, known as MFSK (multi frequency shift keying) was generated by electro-mechanical machines and made a wonderful repetitive bleeping noise. I used to lie in bed listening to it through headphones and I found it stangely hypnotic and - well, musical. It was like a kind of crazy be-bop which was enhanced by weird atmospheric effects due to variable shortwave reception.
So, was my musical respose to this sonic 'objet trouve' valid? Actually I don't care! It seems to me that we humans are pre-programmed to seek out rythm and melody in everything we hear including speech and sounds in nature. I can get musical pleasure out of all sorts of noises, some of which is intended to be music (like Cecil Taylor playing the piano) and many which are purely natural or accidental. Maybe p2s is somewhere in between!
Under construction. If there is sufficient interest I will set up some kind of blog/forum for feedback, ideas, sounds, code...
What's next for p2s
There are so many ways this idea could develop, and so little time to do it.
Here are some applications of technology like p2s. Most of these ideas are not original (a quick google confirms that) and most have been suggested to me by more than one person. Please email me more!
- Aid for meditation or relaxation
- Background sounds for alternative therapies
- Bringing alive a digital photo album - each photo automatically plays its tune
- Mobile phone ringtones, based on a picture of the caller
- Social networking sites, a personal sound to accompany personal photo
Immediate plans for development of p2s (as time permits!)
- Add a midi sequencer so p2s plays tunes itself
- Animated annotation of the picture to show which part is 'playing'
- More control over the sounds
- Nice graphical way of adding note maps
- Add some control of note duration (e.g. auto-generate some half-notes and quarter-notes based on how 'fast' a color is changing in the picture; add syncopation...)
- Linux version (Tcl code maybe already work there)
- Mac version (Tcl code maybe already work there)
- Re-develop with a better GUI and full windows installation
- Any requests?
More way out stuff that could be done:
- s2p: sound-to-picture. Turn p2s on its head!
- p2p: picture-to-poetry... map pixels to words instead of music. You could have lots of fun categorising words as 'red words' and 'blue words' etc. :-)
Email Nick Gent at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't have much spare time these days (p2s was written during a few long nights!!) but will try and answer as quick as I can. Have fun!