Author Archives:

Project 2: Tweet Generating Sound Art

Can I use Max MSP to integrate data collected from the web to affect the sound of a musical composition?

In this project, I utilized the SearchTweet Max Java external to search the Twitter API.

I began with a simple song construction:

While Max is playing the sound file, it uses SearchTweet to identify the 10 most recent tweets of the search parameter, and stores them in a Coll object.



A number of operations (word count, letter count, number of uppercase and lowercase letters, the use of exclamation points, etc.) are performed on the text received from the Tweets.  Based on the results of those operations, values are sent to grainstretch~ object to manipulate the track.

Operation values also affect the voice (using aka.speech) of the synthesis engine speaking the tweets above the affected music.

Main Patcher

Main Patcher

Sound of the affected sound file.  As the variables will change per each refresh of the Twitter content, this is an example of the types of transformations that occur.

(Max file was missing in initial upload)

Digitally Prepared Piano V. 1

Can Max MSP be used to “prepare” the keys of a digital piano in order to bring an additional level of expression to a composition?

The tradition of a prepared piano (credited largely to the twentieth century composer, John Cage) is to alter the inside of the instrument with elements that change the audio characteristics and response of specific keys, using physical objects that are attached to, or placed between, the instrument’s strings. Items like paperclips, erasers, springs, screws, bolts, tacks, cutlery, cotton, clothespins, etc. were commonly used to modify the prepared piano’s sound in the related works of Cage and other experimental composers.

This project sets up a MIDI piano for a performance of the piece, Bombarider in this digital setting.  It separates specific keys to be altered (or prepared) using techniques including: signal filtering, time shifting, spectral processing, etc.

Live performance will be presented in class.


A very basic spectral convolution between the recording of a choir and an industrial drone produces an unexpected effect. It may possibly turn out to be useful for an underwater environment’s sound design.

The original recording is a composition I wrote for the Pittsburgh choir, Yinzer Singers.

Original choir recording:

Post processing:

Assembling the World’s Most Complex Machine

The source came from some experimenting I was doing with machine sounds. I started putting one sound next to another and it began to make me think of putting together some sort of hi tech machine. Then I got to imagining what would be the sound of assembling the most complex machine there was. The result is the first recording in the playlist above.

I recorded two balloon pops: one was in the hallway outside my apartment—fun for the neighbors; the second was in a long corridor outside the theater at the ETC. The first, when convolved with the machine sounds, created a reasonable reverb for putting together the machine in a normal room space. The second seemed comically exaggerated, as if trying to be quiet while constructing the machine in a large auditorium.

The experimental impulse response recordings were a sample of a staccato note on an upright bass, and the end of a timpani roll. (Actually, this to me would pass as the end of a timpani roll, however it was actually just some experimenting with a bow on the bass.) Using the bass produced an interesting percussive texture with the original timbre. The “timpani” seemed to conjure a more abstract result—something I could see using in an ambient piece or as source material in sound design.

Delay System 1

This is a simple experimental song generator. It creates new and interesting textures. The controls will vary the composition, and each play through will be unique. But a distinct quality of the song should remain.


A random number is created by the system every 2 seconds. That number is scaled and ramped to alter delay times and pitch transpositions of three supplied sound files. Maximum settings for both variables may be altered by the listener.

The supplied sound files are patched to independent, clean gain controls, and are also sent to the transformation process. Before they’re altered, the mixture of each signal is controlled by a similar function as the randomized delay and pitch transformations, kept independent to provide diversity in numeric results.


“When I sat down, I was in the other room.”

Lost in Google Translation

ENGLISH (Original)
I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am copying the words I am typing and I’m going to paste them back into the translator again and again until the algorithm reinforces itself so that any semblance of literal meaning, with perhaps the exception of the essence of the first sentence, is destroyed. What you will see, then, is a natural resolution of the system, based on the words used in this paragraph. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of technological fact, but more as a way to bring out any poetic content the text might inherently have.

وأنا جالس في غرفة مختلفة من الذي أنت فيه الآن. أنا نسخ الكلمات أنا كتابة وانا ذاهب الى لصقها مرة أخرى في الترجمة مرارا وتكرارا حتى تعزز الخوارزمية نفسها بحيث أن أي مظهر من مظاهر المعنى الحرفي، وربما باستثناء جوهر الجملة الأولى، هو تدمير . ما سوف ترى، إذن، هو قرار الطبيعي للنظام، استنادا إلى الكلمات المستخدمة في هذه الفقرة. أنا أعتبر هذا النشاط ليس كثيرا كدليل على حقيقة التكنولوجي، ولكن أكثر باعتبارها وسيلة لاخراج أي محتوى الشعري النص قد يكون في حد ذاتها.


ישבתי בחדר אחר מהמיקום הנוכחי שלך. העתקתי את מה שכתבתי, אני מקל ולאחר מכן תורגם שוב ושוב, עד אלגוריתם שיפור עצמו, המשקף את המשמעות המילולית, אולי תמצית של המשפט הראשון, הוא הרס. תראה, אם כן, הוא הבסיס של מערכת טבעית של החלטה על סעיף זה עם המילים. אני מאמין כי פעילות זו אינה כל כך הרבה טכנולוגיה היא למעשה סימן, אבל עוד דרכים להוציא כל טקסט יכול להיות כשלעצמו תוכן פואטי.

ငါသည်သင်တို့၏လက်ရှိတည်နေရာမှတစ်ဦးကွဲပြားခြားနားအခန်း၌ထိုင်တော်မူ၏။ ပကတိအဓိပ်ပာယျကိုထင်ဟပ်သောတိုးတက်မှု algorithm ကိုသူ့ဟာသူ, ကိုပထမဦးဆုံးဝါကျ၏ဖြစ်ကောင်းအနှစ်သာရ, ပျက်စီးမှီတိုင်အောင်, နောက်တဖန်ငါ wrote အဘယျသို့ကူးယူငါကပ်ပြီးတော့နောက်တဖန်ဘာသာပြန်ထားသောနဲ့။ ထို့နောက်ထိုစကားနှင့်အတူဤအပိုင်းကိုအပေါ်ဆုံးဖြတ်ချက်၏သဘာဝစနစ်၏အခြေခံအုတ်မြစ်ဖြစ်ပါသည်, ရှာဖွေပါ။ ငါသည်ဤလှုပ်ရှားမှုကိုအများကြီးနည်းပညာကိုအမှန်တကယ်လက္ခဏာသက်သေဖြစ်ပေမယ့်စာသားအားလုံးကိုကိုယ်တိုင်က extract ဖို့ပိုနည်းလမ်းများကဗြာဆနျအကြောင်းအရာဖြစ်နိုင်သည်မဟုတ်ကယုံကြည်ကြသည်။

Eu sou da sua localização actual e sentou-se em uma sala diferente. O que reflete o algoritmo literal crescimento significado em si, a essência do primeiro período de, talvez, até que, mais uma vez o que eu escrevi, então eu já não tenho uma cópia. Então, com as palavras desta decisão por parte da base do sistema natural. Eu tenho um monte de esta actividade apesar da tecnologia de token realmente significa para extrair todo o texto em si conteúdo poético pode não acreditar.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 1)
I am your current location and sat in a different room. What it reflects the literal meaning growth algorithm itself, the essence of the first period, perhaps until, again what I wrote, so I no longer have a copy. Then, with the words of this decision by the base of the natural system. I have a lot of this activity despite the token technology really means to extract all the text itself poetic content can not believe it.


-> ENGLISH (Iteration 2)
I have to sit in different rooms, your current location is. The algorithm for the first period of growth in the literal sense, in essence, to reflect, and then I wrote therefore copying. Then, based on those words. Upon the natural order of decisions. Instinctively art icon Rev. true meaning of text content that you do not believe that the extract can, I have a lot of these activities.

… [REPEAT] …

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 3)
I sat in the other room, your current location. So, the first essence to reflect the improvements in the literal sense of the steps of the algorithm, and copy books. Then, based on those words. Decision of the natural order. Kai art icon known the true meaning of the text that you may not think there are many such activities.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 4)
I sat on your current location in the other room. Thus, the essence of improved algorithm first steps in the literal sense, and reflected on the copied books. Then, based on those words. natural order of decisions. Kay these many activities can feel the true meaning of text art features.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 5)
When you are in another room where I was sitting. Therefore, the first step in the literal sense, in terms of improved algorithm for copying books slide. Then, based on those words. Decision of the natural order. True meaning of Kaye, many activities can feel art features.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 10)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. So this book to practice an algorithm in an electronic version is the first step to improve the presentation. Then, based on those words. natural order of decisions. Friendly All you will have a lot of mental function can be sensory processes.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 15)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. Then, the algorithm of a report leading to a better understanding of the steps, the first step in an electronic copy. . All have processing decisions. Mood and emotion of the natural order.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 20)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. To better understand the treatment algorithm decisions with the natural first step of the electronic version. Emotions and feelings.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 25)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. The processing algorithm to determine the nature of the electronic version is based on the best sequence is not understood. Emotions and feelings.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 30)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. Approved algorithm based on the additional properties of a series of electronic copies are better understood. Emotions and feelings.

-> ENGLISH (Iteration 35)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. Results, software algorithms and other companies electronic version. Birth. Emotions and feelings.

-> ENGLISH (Final Iteration 36)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. As a result, software algorithms and other companies as an electronic version. Birth. Emotions and feelings.

-> ENGLISH (Repeat Iteration 37)
When I sat down, I was in the other room. Based on these words. As a result, software algorithms and other companies as an electronic version. Birth. Emotions and feelings.

• Languages were chosen to establish a variety of alphabets. Some were removed or swapped for others to define and refine the Translation System.
• Different languages exhibit different, specific, qualities in a Translation System. Through experimentation, for example, I’ve found that using Chinese as one of the languages in a Translation System will cause the output to diminish in length over time. By comparison, inserting Japanese into the system will keep the paragraph length longer, perhaps even concluding as such. Using Arabic will often lead to more nonsecular text outcomes. Adding Burmese (Myanmar) to a Translation System originating in English will cause more variation from the origin than will a latin-based language. …
• Using only one or two languages in a Translation System will cause most (if not all) chains to end at or below 7 iterations.
• A Translation System’s chain ends when additional iterations return the same result.
• The concept for this work is based on Alvin Lucier’s, “I am sitting in a room.”