- Explore GCP
As an approximation of a long-planned "Music of the Noospheres", we excerpt a beautiful piece called Ultimate OM, by Jonathan Goldman. This is intended to play automatically when you reach the site in most browsers. Unfortunately, some "update" has made the Quicktime plugin for Firefox work incorrectly, resulting in lots of CPU used waiting for load to complete. Other browsers may do a better job. For the time being, we do not have the music on the homepage but you can hear it on this page. Click or right click below for control.
The first music played using the EGG data was by John Walker, who made daily movies for a time (up to May 2000). These show the eggs as splashes whose color and size relate to the size of deviations in the data, placed on a map of the world with time of day shown by the moving shadow of night. And, each changing splash of color is accompanied by notes that make a random composition reminiscent of the music of John Cage. These daily movies are big files (10 Mb) and require Quicktime or a compatible movie player. A midi file of just the sound for Oct 24 1998 will give you a taste. We'll call this piece Music of the Ovoids.
Very recently, a different kind of implementation has come into being, and the results are very interesting. These are the first examples, by Leane Roffey and Mark P. Line. Leane has taken samples from music by Corelli, selecting according to EGG data recorded on New Years 1999. The result is a delightful short piece called New Year 99. It should play directly if you have a midi player such as Timidity++ or Windows Media player linked to your browser.
Mark's work uses the random data directly to select pitches and presence for a tubular bell instrument tuned to a pentatonic scale. It is called Pentatubes. This is a midi format piece, so it requires a midi player. It is only 889 bytes, but you will be astonished at the amount of music such a small file can carry. (Reminds me of Buckminster Fuller's observation that we have plenty of material, if we organize it intelligently.)
I have made some examples using Mark's tools (they are in midi format, so you need a midi player). Number one is called Second Hit. It plays the data from 09:03 to 09:05, New York time, on Sept 11 2001, using phrases from a short recorder piece by John Bull (1563-1628). Next we have Crystaline Millenial which plays data from the two minutes around the transition from 1999 to 2000, using a text evoking a babbling brook, by Leane Roffey. More to come; it's fun. Leane sent a transposed brook, with lower register, just right for my Bassoon Birthday.
Heard of Bach's Canon Perpetua? Here's an application of a similar "circle of fifths" in Greg's Birthday. Leane's birthday provides the data and her blues riff measure bank the interpretation in LR Blues. For the season of celebration, Leane composed an experimental two-voice piece called simply Solstice. It is beautiful, I think, despite that it is driven by random data (from 12/21/2002 12:00:00 to 12:00:23). The excerpt at the top is from the Solstice score made with "Finale". It looks pretty too. And for the season (in the North anyhow) she made Snowflakes.
What about the possibility we could use music to detect structure in the data? In one explicit attempt, Mark created a measure bank that represents larger deviations as quicker phrases. You can hear that in 911 Taiko @ 80 (176 sec). To give a feeling for the difference an instrument can make, I made Are You Ready for This? (253 sec) with Mark's birthday data.
Testing a new drone piece that's intended to become more harmonious with data coherence, I took a moment from the time of my mother's death for Momsgone (78 sec). The same measure bank was used with bagpipes for 911 Dirge (128 sec), which plays 61 seconds from Sept 11 2001, starting at 10:00, New York time. The moment was selected for its steep cumulative deviation. The drone is quite nice with different instruments and a different time (08:46) on 9/11: Vibraphone (154 sec), Shakuhachi (154 sec), and Crystal FX (157 sec). And I made a long piece using data from 08:40 to 08:50, good for background: Long First Hit (16.75 min).
In addition, we have, courtesy of Carl Adams, a framework in which to create music using the data for those interested in working on this. Carl's project isn't yet generating sounds, but that should be soon possible for an interested scripter. Take a look at the Random Data Synthesizer for a bit more detail.
There is a history dating back to the beginning of the project of ideas for making music based on or driven by the Egg data. There is another sort of history of unusual music in my background, playing with friends long ago and far away. One of the friends is Jim Burton who occasionally surfaces with some splendid new art/music. If you have a quicktime player, try "Passages from a Buried Script".
And for an evocative simulation of changes in a random mode check out this recent video by jimXburton on youtube.
For music of a different flavor, Jim took a graphic approach. He literally creates a music line that tracks the longterm deviation of the GCP/EGG data. He first removed any image elements that were not the data, then made a greyscale image. The resulting piece in its first manifestation is called 1ST GRAFF (750K). It is in mp3 format, so you will need the appropriate player. I made a lightly edited version, 1ST GRAFF Transformed (750K), that better matches my hearing range. Definitely cool, and closing in on the concept of data driven music. Now Jim has done a resampled version to do the same: 1st Graff Resample (1Mb).
We're moving on, and getting progressively closer to the data. I sent Jim a graph with the data lines for a short dozen eggs, and he sent back a piece that scrambles them nicely, which I'll call Many Eggs in Play (1Mb).
And here are some further examples of extended application, putting random egg music together with random visual art. Check out Space473 and Space474 by Philip Wood. Try some others too, like space476 and 479. Space478 is fun, and space563 touches on the noosphere. My favorite of these is Space589 because it uses such nicely random egg graphics and music. You may want to drop in on Philip's main page and poke a few buttons.