Drawn Out Sounds is a frankly experimental composition, exploring what kinds of sound spectrum filling sounds can be made with graphics to sound conversion programs. The software used was Rasmus Ekman’s freeware “Coagula 1 Lite,” which treats computer graphics as sound spectra according to very specific rules. Red = sine waves in the left channel; Green = sounds in the right channel; Yellow = sounds in the middle. Black = silence. Bottom pixel = lowest specified frequency; Top pixel = highest specified frequency. Left most row of pixels = start time; Right most row of pixels = finish time. Time and frequency are then divided equally among the pixels.

So, for example, is an 8 octave frequency span is specified (40hz — 10,240 hz), and the image is 97 pixels high, the frequencies will be on the pitches of the 12 tone scale. Further, if the image was 100 pixels wide, and the length the user specified was 10 seconds, there would be 10 pixels per second. In this piece, most images used were 1920 x 1920 pixels, meaning a frequency division of approx. 1 harmonic every 5 cents, and all sorts of durations from 97 seconds to 5 seconds were used to get different rhythms of spectral progression in the sounds.

Spectra were drawn in two ways — by hand — filling the spectra with intricately drawn images, , and drawn algorithmically, using a program I wrote in John Dunn’s shareware algorithmic program “Kinetic Art Machine.” Since Coagula could also allow black and white images to filter spectral diagrams, I drew filters both by hand, and also generated them algorithmically using “Kinetic Art Machine” again. Both filtered and unfiltered versions of the spectra were used in the final piece.

The aim was to make sounds which filled the sonic space in an interesting way. The filtering gave the sounds an additional sense of gestural shape within the density. Unlike most of my music, I want this piece played LOUDLY, in order for the listener to experience 13 minutes of sonic fullness.

The piece was made on a Toshiba Pentium Laptop using the following programs: Coagula Lite 1; Kinetic Art Machine, Cool Edit Pro; and Photoshop.

  • Year of composition: 1999
  • Hardware used: PC compatible laptop
  • Software used: Coagula, Vaz Modular, Softstep, AudioMulch
  • Duration of the submitted work: 13:05
  • Production: Home

Linked project

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