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Progress and Patterns

Pixel-based musical notation. That's what I'm still experimenting with.
Formerly I was taking a photographic narrative approach and creating a musical score based on a series of images. This was okay, but it turns out people are actually more interested in how changing the graphic changes the resulting audio. It's also interesting to see what type of image (photograph, in this case) creates the most appealing or dynamic range of sounds.

Through breaking down many different photographs into pixel based musical notation, I've found the most exciting audio comes from images that have a varying, somewhat vertical pattern. Diagonally balanced patterns are also very nice.


(As a reminder, the audio notation reads from left to right. The pitch is determined by the height of a pixel, and the brighter the pixel, the louder the audio value.)

I will edit these examples to play in the same key for comparison's sake.

A graphic of simple horizontal lines has no rhythm and no variations in melody:


A graphic of vertical lines has an obvious rhythm but also has no movement of melody:


So there is definite motivation to use images that actually will make for interesting audio.

For my final end product this semester, I will still be making a video with the images and their corresponding sounds, but instead of using narrative photographs, I have chosen to just photograph things I see within walking distance of my house that I think will sound the best. I am mostly looking for interesting patterns that transform both horizontally and vertically.

Here is one example:



Depending on how I change this bitmap image, the sound also changes. To show this relationship, I will also include different variations for each photograph (which will be included in the video).

Compare the following graphic and audio to the previous one. Notice how the more elongated tones in the second example match the longer horizontal groups of pixels.



I will also include all the edited graphics of the notation in my final body of work.

Digital Focus | Project Overview

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Throughout the next 13 weeks I will be conducting a series of experiments that explore the impact of specific environmental factors on visual communication.

I will be updating my blog on an experiment by experiment basis, documenting my process and reflecting on the conceptual aspects of each.

Some environmental factors that I may explore include:

Forms cut from reflective vinyl laid on plain vinyl of the same color, the image appearing only under certain lighting circumstances. Some of my inspiration:

Bright Bike from Michael Mandiberg on Vimeo.

Freezing images and typography in ice. This idea was inspired by a discarded love letter I noticed frozen under about 1/2 inch of ice on Tischer Creek in Duluth, the translucent nature of ice allowing only certain words to be visible.

Andy Goldsworthy
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Recording the audio waveforms of ugly, beautiful, or otherwise pointed phrases, and showing the resulting visual aesthetic, juxtaposed against contrasting words or images to expose new meaning. Here's an example of some of the visual forms audio waveforms can take:

Cymatics - the study of visible sound and vibration

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