Drawing sound in both directions
Monday, 9 June 2008
Graphic Music Sequencer – Caleb Coppock
Algomantra recently posted on a project by Caleb Coppock, which allows the composition of music by directly drawing onto paper discs. Since the kind of graphite marks made by ordinary pencils conduct electricity it provides a system for drafting a visual score in sectored patterns on paper discs. The Graphic Music Sequencer uses wire brushes that contact a paper disc as it spins on a standard record player. When the wire sensors move across the conductive graphite a tone is generated, the pitch of the tone is further regulated by the thickness of the pencil line. It’s interesting that in nearly all musical scores, including those of experimental layout, there needs to be some system of decoding and mediation to translate mark into sound. In this case it would be fair to say that score is a direct isomorph of the music it makes, requiring no human mediation. Another example of a similar system could be claimed to be that of the experimental Russian ANS synthesizer mentioned on these pages a while back.
Reversing the information flow in the opposite direction we find AndrÃ© GonÃ§alves ongoing Untitled #06 project, which also utilises the turntable, this time with a servomotor attached to the needle cartridge. Sound captured from a microphone is processed, then digitised into data and used by the servo to move the cartridge accordingly. The cartridge, which has an Indian ink pen attached, draws the audio events in real-time. The resultant visualisations have semi uniform spirgraphic geometries, and as AndrÃ© says ‘the drawings can be seen as histograms of the audio activity of a space during a certain period of time. In his biography AndrÃ© describes himself as an ‘empathy programmer with googlian self-education’, something many of us with an autodidactic learning will identify with.
Finally, it would be interesting to hear what one of AndrÃ©’s Untitled #06 disc visualisations, if drawn in graphite, would sound like on Caleb’s Graphic Music Sequencer.