Alex McLean

Making music with text

Category Archives: visualisation

Acid sketching

by Alex on November 8, 2009

I’ve been thinking about visual languages and the morphology of symbols (as opposed to words) for a while. I had the opportunity to start putting some of these ideas into code at a really excellent openframeworks workshop this week, run by Joel Gethin Lewis and Arturo Castro. Here’s what it does: Makes the point nicely […]

Mary Hallock-Greenewalt

by Alex on March 24, 2009

“Broadly, it is my desire to express emotions by means of timed variations of light and color in a manner analogous to that employed in the art of music. Such expression may either be for its own sake, or … as an accompaniment.” In 1906, about 40 years after the invention of the commercial light […]

Rhythm space

by Alex on April 18, 2008

I’m working with Jamie Forth on ideas around spaces of rhythm. Here’s a demo (which might not work in feed readers): [kml_flashembed movie="" height="300" width="400" bgcolor="#000000" /] The space has two quality dimensions, “intensity” (X) and “disorder” (Y). Drum patterns are arranged along these dimensions, so more intense ones are towards the left and more […]

Textual patching

by Alex on January 7, 2008

I wrote a perl script that allows you to compose puredata patches in a text editor. You define the patch using ASCII art like this:   *————————*   |           .——–.    \  .-x——–.  | osc~ 5 |     *  | osc~ 500 |  `-x——’     |  `-x——–’    |            |   |           .-x——.     |   |           | *~ 300 |     |   |           `-x——’     |   *—*         |            |   |         *————*   .-x——.   | *~ 0.2 |   `-x——’   |   *   |\   […]

Thank you Graphviz

by Alex on November 14, 2007

I love graphviz. You feed in data in a simple, easy to generate format and it creates the most beautifully laid out visualisations from it. I’m trying to make a triangular waveguide mesh, and wasn’t sure if my code was doing the right thing, so ran neato over the data and got this: full size […]

Peano curve weaves of whole songs

by Alex on December 27, 2006

Some nine months ago I played with weaving images from music, including using a peano curve as a mapping. I’ve returned to this subject, having many good ideas to explore from recent discussions with Tim Blackwell. We thought rendering some whole songs would work nicely. I didn’t fancy playing with my Java code again so […]

Woven sound

by Alex on March 23, 2006

Woven sound is an idea by Dr Tim Blackwell, where a one-dimensional stream of audio samples or midi events may be woven into a two-dimensional structure analogous to fabric. Tim has written this idea into his software, where (as I understand it) he uses flocking algorithms to seek out patches of high activity which are […]

Voronoi diagrams of music

by Alex on February 15, 2006

Voronoi diagrams describe half-way points between neighbours. Some recommended general introductory links: Voronoi diagram on wikipedia Centroidal voronoi diagrams A very nice interactive applet The standard text is the excellent Spatial tessellations: Concepts and Applications of Voronoi Diagrams by Atsuyuki Okabe, Barry Boots, Kokichi Sugihara and Sung Nok Chiu. Voronoi diagrams have many uses throughout […]