Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, music

Finding the Melodies Hidden in Traditional Embroidery | WIRED

This is reminiscent of the tree ring music project, but more intricate.

Were Hungarian embroiderers of centuries past encoding secret musical messages into their decorative textiles? Nope! But Zsanett Szirmay is decoding them anyway.

The designer’s latest project, Soundweaving, translates patterns from Eastern European embroidery into gentle, tinkling melodies. By translating the motifs from pillows and folk costumes to punch cards, and then running those punch cards through a hand-cranked music box, Szirmay finds the music that’s effectively been trapped in the textiles all along.

more via Finding the Melodies Hidden in Traditional Embroidery | WIRED.

Posted in communication and networking, music, Optics

The gloves that will “change the way we make music” « adafruit

Imogen Heap is working on creating gloves that allow her to direct music adjustments electronically without breaking up the flow of her performance.

…musician Imogen Heap demonstrates the electronic gloves that allow people to interact with their computer remotely via hand gestures.

The interview was filmed at Heap’s home studio outside London, shortly before she launched her Kickstarter campaign to produce a limited production run of the open-source Mi.Mu gloves.

“These beautiful gloves help me gesturally interact with my computer,” says Heap, explaining how the wearable technology allows her to perform without having to interact with keyboards or control panels.

Pushing buttons and twiddling dials “is not very exciting for me or the audience,” she says. “[Now] I can make music on the move, in the flow and more humanly, [and] more naturally engage with my computer software and technology.”

via The gloves that will “change the way we make music” « adafruit industries blog.

I completely agree with Imogen Heap’s sense that it is boring to watch a musician fiddle with dials and knobs during a live show.

Just as a side geek note, I do feel a little bad that when I opened the link (it was sent to me by a coworker) my first thought was “why does she look like Rogue?”

Posted in communication and networking, engineering, music

Sound Looks Like This | Co.Design

Visualizing the waves that sound makes can be tricky but stunningly hypnotic:

For The Essence of Sound, that meant filming lycopodium powder as it shakes and dances in time to music by Sie’s friend and composer Clemens Haas. The music played out of a subwoofer placed nearby.

Sie uses lycopodium powder–an ultra-fine powder made from clubmoss spores–because its delicate texture creates the best expressions of sound oscillations. The finished product (made for German audio systems company Burkhardtsmaier) looks like a perfect storm of extreme weather: The powder bubbles up like molten lava, breaks apart like an earthquake, and finally gets blown upwards, in a micro-tornado, before settling back down.

You can see more of Sie’s work here.

Source via Sound Looks Like This | Co.Design | business + design.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, engineering, music

‘Tainted Love’ Played By Floppy Disk Drives Is Possibly The Best Use Of Technology Ever

The idea of electronic music taken to a whole new level:

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a choir of floppy disk drives covering Soft Cell’s 1981 cover of the 1964 Gloria Jones song, ‘Tainted Love’.

And it is glorious.

It was created by YouTube user Gigawipf who is also responsible for the doing of version of the ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme tune amongst others…

more via ‘Tainted Love’ Played By Floppy Disk Drives Is Possibly The Best Use Of Technology Ever.

Posted in biology, chemistry, engineering, music

Ototo Turns the Produce Aisle into an Extraordinary Organic Orchestra | Inhabitat

The fact that everything gives off some kind of beat that can be captured and turned into music, even fruit, has been underutilized. Until now.

Ever dreamed of owning a melodic melon, harmonious horseradish, or pitch-perfect pineapple? The Ototo synthesizer developed by London-based Dentaku allows musicians of any level to turn the produce aisle into an orchestra. Powered either by batteries or a USB cable, the device is set up like a piano keyboard with 12 different notes. Two alligator clips attach to the inanimate object of choice, and a simple touch of the hand creates a sound. A built-in speaker and headphone port allows players to take their band on the go, or amplify their instruments.

more via Ototo Turns the Produce Aisle into an Extraordinary Organic Orchestra | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Posted in biology, music

What Musicians Can Tell Us About Dyslexia and the Brain – Wired Science

Music seems to make sense for a lot of not neurotypical folks, from autistic people to dyslexics. But why?

Dyslexia is a frustrating disorder that gives otherwise smart people trouble with reading. Nobody knows exactly what causes it, but one popular hypothesis is that the root of the problem is a deficit in the brain’s ability to process sounds, especially during childhood. Kids who have a hard time parsing all those talky sounds that grownups make also struggle to learn the connections between speech sounds and words on a page. And that’s what causes the reading difficulties, or so the thinking goes.

But if parsing sounds is really the whole problem, how do you explain dyslexic musicians? After all, musicians are supposed to excel at making sense of sound. But a small number of them, it turns out, have dyslexia. Now, a team of researchers at Hebrew University in Israel has tried to sort this problem out–by rounding up, for the first time, a cohort of dyslexic musicians and testing their language abilities.

The researchers, led by psychologist Merav Ahissar, tested 52 musicians on basic auditory perception (such as their ability to tell similar tones or similar time intervals apart) as well as auditory perception related specifically to music (distinguishing different rhythms or melody) or language (like the ability to discriminate words from similar-sounding non-words they heard). They also gave the musicians memory tests and tested their reading speed and accuracy.

It took years, in part because dyslexic musicians are rare, Ahissar says. (No one knows exactly how rare though — Ahissar says she couldn’t find any studies on whether the disorder is any more or less common in musicians than in the general population, where estimates range from one to ten percent). Eventually, Ahissar’s student Atalia Weiss, a graduate of Hebrew University’s music academy, was able to recruit 24.

What did they find? On most tests of auditory perception, the dyslexic musicians scored as well as their non-dyslexic counterparts, and better than the general population. Where they performed much worse was on tests of auditory working memory, the ability to keep a sound in mind for a short time (typically seconds). In fact, the dyslexic musicians with the poorest working memory tended to have the lowest reading accuracy. Those with better working memory tended to be more accurate.

more via What Musicians Can Tell Us About Dyslexia and the Brain – Wired Science.

Posted in communication and networking, design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, engineering, music

Robotic Church Orchestra

From Inhabitat:

If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, how about hearing a band of robots make beautiful music? Artist Chico MacMurtrie’s eclectic collection of robotic sculptures is now performing for the first time on the East Coast at a historic church in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The site-specific installation, fittingly called the Robotic Church, has taken over the former Norwegian Seaman’s Church with a collection of incredible sound-playing robotic sculptures, all made from recycled machine parts. Although reservations are required, the spectacular show is free and open to the public with three performance days throughout November.