Woven sound

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 then unwoven back into sound.

Inspired by this I have made my own implementation of woven sound. It doesn’t produce very interesting audio output yet but so far the animated visualisation is pleasing.

My idea is to have autonomous agents running around the fabric at audio rate, changing the rules they follow on the fly. Not quite there yet.

As well as weaving the sound in a traditional manner (warp and weft?) my implementation can also weave in a Peano curve. I made a prototype which draws the Peano curve in processing, which helps see its structure. The movement is complex but the idea extremely simple; is to take a line, twist it in a figure of eight, then do the same with each new line segment recursively. Infinite recursions would fill a 2D square completely, but here I limit the recursions to 4 or 5.

These screengrabs give a general idea but to see the full effect and the relationship between the woven sound and the sound source, plug in your microphone, download my software and make some noise. The java sourcecode is in the jar file.

All of my software mentioned here is copyright 2006, available under the terms of the GPL version 2.0.

UPDATE: See also Peano curve weaves of whole songs


One thought on “Woven sound”

  1. Making me rethink plaid, patterns, textures. I was thinking it would manifest in wavelike images but the plaids and repeat rectangular patterns seem decidedly digital. Wondering if I’m saying something too simple or behind in perception, nevertheless I’m along for this ride.

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