Art Instalation Reinterprets Voices Into Music

May 6, 2008 · Print This Article

From the website of the artist Ranjit Bhatnagar:

“Simple automatic instruments are constructed from local materials and objects on site. The system learns the sounds it can make by trying out its instruments, and then uses its range of sounds to try to reproduce the rhythmic and melodic qualities of sounds such as the voices of visitors. It then loops and alters these imitative sequences into improvised compositions. (That last part’s not done yet, so you won’t see it in the video.)

In this example, the source audio is a bit of the soundtrack from the movie Citizen Kane, and the noisemakers are a set of found object percussion machines and an electromagnetically fretted electric guitar.”

The tech is pretty basic and the conversion to music is largely straight forward but the presentation of the idea is pretty sharp. I would love to see how well the system works with a high noise to signal ratio. Can it only make “music” in a relatively quiet room of two people talking or can it eliminate some white noise to find the melody of a large conversation.

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