Obliterating Audio with Photoshop

So far my examples of Processing Sound Using Photoshop have been recognizable in comparison to the original versions. In my initial experiments my intent was to apply subtle changes as a reference. However, it’s interesting to hear what happens without restraint. Here I applied the Wave filter, which in many respects is analogous to sound. For example, you can assign a sine, square, or triangle wave to process the image. This filter changes the sound so dramatically that you might very well get similar results from altogether different sound sources. Imagine an ensemble of people wobbling sheets of flexible material in sync with each other.

Wave Electric Piano Pattern


Once again, here’s the same electric piano from Processing Sound Using Photoshop. This time is has been liquefied by the Photoshop filter of the same name. Liquefy is nice because is relies on the human element of dragging through the image to warp it in the direction the mouse pointer is moved. I purposefully did not liquefy short sections of the waveform so I could compare the original signal and the manipulated one.

Liquified Electric Piano Pattern



The Spherize filter in Photoshop is designed to force an image to bubble outward as if wrapping it around a sphere. Can you imagine what it would sound like to warp audio in the same fashion? I imagined that that the frequency would warp downward as the waveform was stretched and then back up to the original pitch on the opposite side.

Well, that’s almost exactly what happened, although I didn’t expect it to sound as deep and eerie as it does. For this entry I have shortened the image horizontally to emphasize what the filter actually did. I also lightened the image to make it more visible. It looks a bit like a zeppelin whereas the original image of the sound was flat. Please enjoy the Spherized version of the loop from the last entry.

Spherize Electric Piano Pattern

Notes From a Hat in C Minor

I created this sequence of randomized notes using Processing.org with the RWMidi library installed. The notes were randomly selected from a C minor scale. I also randomized the occurrence of the notes to eliminate any rhythmic qualities. The velocity was also randomized within a range so there’s absolutely no consistency to the dynamics either. I could go further into Dada territory by using a chromatic scale, or even random frequencies entering into microtonal realms, but this is just an experiment I did to test some of the functionality within the library.

Notes From a Hat

Sequence of Randomized Pitches and Durations

I’ve been researching audio libraries for Processing recently since I will soon be starting the development of a specialized music application for personal use. I considered using MaxMSP, but Processing seems to suit this project a bit better. If you’re not familiar with Processing, it is an IDE designed for designers, artist, musicians, or anyone interested in exploring new ideas. Although it is mostly used for visual projects there are several examples of music software, like Tiction, which I wrote about in an entry titled Sound For Dali’s Melting Clocks. One of the libraries I’m investigating is called jm-Etude. It’s very easy to implement and use, and makes a few of the features in jMusic, a Java music composition project, accessible in Processing. Here’s some audio from a quick sketch designed to create a random sequence of notes. I also randomized the durations from whole notes to sixteenths, excluding tuplets for the time being.

Randomized Pitch Durations