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Topic: Painting with sound

  1. #1

    Painting with sound

    Wouldn\'t it be cool if there was a software program that could actually paint music? I mean we\'re living in an age where almost anything dreamed can be done.
    Picture an empty canvas with a huge palette of colors. Certain sounds would represent the colors, like blue could be an ambient pad or white could be a piano, etc...
    Of course the sounds would be top-notch samples not just GM sounds. Thousands of them and you could download individual multisamples and phrases for free from other peoples websites. WE COULD ALL SHARE!
    Lets face it, creatively we all get stuck once in a while, why not try a different approach to creating music? Like painting? They say everything we think of has already been done before to a certain extent. I know musically I haven\'t heard anything really groundbreaking since \"Sgt. Peppers\" or \"Pet Sounds\". I think Trent Reznor was onto something creating a sound of man vs. machine but I still think alot of Trents stuff is so cold and electronic. All of the music I hear sounds like someone elses including myself. Finding your own true sound to me, is the hardest thing to accomplish as a composer.
    I wish someone here could help me create a program like this. It would be such a different way of composing music. Who knows what a song could sound like!
    Also, you would have tons and tons of rhythm loops, kind of like arpeggio templates where you could create your beats.
    An empty canvas, a palette of colors, and fantastic samples.
    I M A G I N E

  2. #2

    Re: Painting with sound

    Hmm ... yes ... and wouldn\'t it be great if this paint-by-numbers software you envision -- in which you\'d draw your color-coded drum loops and your better-than-GM samples across an empty, grid-like canvas -- were named in honor of some kind of halucinogenic drug like peyote? .... No wait, I\'ve got it: Acid! ... yeah ... I think we\'re on to something here, man ...

  3. #3

    Re: Painting with sound

    There is such a program available for the mac. You give it a picture, or paint your own, and it converts it into what I would describe as musical sound. Unfortunately, it is not available for the PC (as far as I know). I also can\'t remember at the moment what it is called.

    Alistair Lock

  4. #4

    Re: Painting with sound

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Alistair Lock:
    There is such a program available for the mac. You give it a picture, or paint your own, and it converts it into what I would describe as musical sound. Unfortunately, it is not available for the PC (as far as I know). I also can\'t remember at the moment what it is called.


    Metasynth from U&I software.

  5. #5

    Re: Painting with sound

    This isn\'t exactly what you\'re after, but when you talk about the idea of \'painting\' stuff, you reminded me of the inteface to a couple of programmes.

    1. Fruity Loops. It\'s a pattern based sequencer with drum machines and synths built in.

    You get up an empty drum loop of X beats, and you use your cursor to \'paint\' in the drum sounds to certain beats. Several drum sounds are available simultaneously, so you can just wave your hand over the pattern and come up with some kind of semi random loop.

    The same kind of interface is used for bass patterns and even chordal instruments. Just paint in notes anywhere.

    Once your pattern is down, you can also use the cursor to \'paint\' changes in controller values like volume, filter, pitch etc.,

    2. Have you looked at Sonic Foundry\'s Acid?
    You\'re basically using a pool of loops and single shot sounds, but they\'re all \'acidized\' which means no matter which sound or loop you pull up, it\'ll play at the current tempo AND pitch!

    You browse and listen with the explorer type interface, and when you hear a sound you like, double click to assign it to an empty track. You can now \'paint\' it into any spot in the song.

    It tends to coral you into 4/4 and 1, 2 and 4 bar loops, but a generous use of the shift keywill get you outside those boundaries.

    Your biggest problem would be that it uses prefab loops, as opposed to randomly generated phrases. But maybe you\'d get inspired once you threw a few slabs of stuff down?

  6. #6

    Re: Painting with sound

    If you have a Mac, both Metasynth and Videodelic by U&I software are worth checking out. Metasynth comes close to the concept that Damon suggests, whereas Videodelic works a bit in reverse!

    We have reviews up of Videodelic, with a Metasynth review on its way soon:

    Videodelic: http://www.soniccontrol.com/tech/midi/articles/020101/videodelic.shtml


    Sonic Control
    Giga Users Network at

  7. #7

    Re: Painting with sound

    When I was at the Royal College of Music, an italian composer came over to demonstrate a program similar to what your describing. There was a large sheet which you literally drew on with a fairlight-type lightpen and your visuals were translated to sound. I have to say that the results weren\'t particularly awesome outside of the experimental side of things. The main problem was that what we drew had little to do with what came out, or what we had in our heads.

    While it would be great to have a machine that could produce what you imagine, it sort of robs the hard work side of things. When you have to concentrate and labour to produce your results the music is bound to be better than lazy, technically clueless stuff.

  8. #8

    Re: Painting with sound

    There are a couple shareware programs I know that convert bitmap images to sounds. One is called coagula, and the other os Bitmap2Wave. What you are describing, however, does sound more like Acid.

  9. #9

    Re: Painting with sound

    I believe in the Distorted Reality 2 liner notes, that Eric Persing said he used some sort of program where he mapped out a sound (\'starchimes\', I believe it\'s called) to a picture of the milky way using a celesta to pinpoint each star doing random arpeggios. Check it out if you have DR 2. Pretty cool I thought.
    As for when I was thinking about this idea, the night I posted it on this forum some time back I believe I partook in a little bit of kind bud.

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