In the digital age, you can pretty much output endless music, with endless resources at your disposal. So maybe it’s little surprise that music makers are looking for limiting factors — even extreme limitations, like one second duration or music produced from noise.

When we ran a contest for one-second music a few months ago, readers responded with some surprisingly inspired musical creations.

Now, that contest isn’t alone. Several of you have written to point out Sloppy Seconds, a call for submissions shooting for some 80 minutes of one-second music. This project has joined forces with another project with the same idea. Hundreds of submissions have already poured in on the way to the 4800 track goal. (No, that’s not a typo.) Sound crazy? Here’s the curator’s argument: “A second is a long time. You can get 4 or 5 recognizable ideas across in a second. An average pop song only has 3 or 4 distinct components, at most, so you could easily reduce an entire pop song into a second. The universe was created in less than a second. So what’s your excuse?”

There’s already a sample sound of the submissions, and interestingly, it sounds quite different from the CDM compilation.

[Updated:] I forgot about this link, via the CDM forums where a discussion of 1-second music has gotten started, from Steve aka Shamann:

And since I’m a shameless glory hog, I did a collection of 38 1-second songs a few months ago as a tribute to the CDM and Music Thing things, you can check it out on the SIGHUP website.

Listen to the MP3 and marvel how, yet again, there’s really quite a range of what can squeeze into a second.

How else can you encourage extreme micro-composition? Luke Tan writes us:

In my last podcast, available at luketan.com, I called for people to submit a micro-composition that they had created by altering some white noise that I found in the wild. Figured you and your readers might be interested in it. It’s pretty open ended, just download the white noise from the site, and do manipulate it anyway you want (try to keep it under thirty seconds, though). I’ll put some interesting ones in a future podcast.

You can get the white noise at:
http://www.luketan.com/songs/audio/WhiteNoise.mp3
and the podcast at
http://www.luketan.com/songs/audio/podcasts/StubbornlyCuriousno3.mp3

Thanks, Luke! There’s a long history of producing astounding music using nothing but white noise, synthesizing everything from ethereal textures to percussion, so there should be some interesting responses. (In digital theory, you can create anything using noise; see comments.) I hope you readers can find something to do with the whopping 30 seconds of time. (Sounds so long!) If you do come up with a 1-second composition — or half a minute of interesting music produced from noise — feel free to contact me here at CDM.

  • Sasa

    Interestingly, any linear time series, namely, a sequence of samples, can be represented by a linear system driven by white noise.

    See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoregressive_movin

    So, given a random noise sequence and a set of linear coefficients, one could have "music" as the system's output.

  • http://www.myspace.com/giftculture Michael Hale

    Soulseek Records did this exercise in a few variations a while back, one called the One Minute Massacre (vol I and vol II, I believe) and then, the One Second Massacre. It was a good time :^)

  • James

    http://www.obscurica.com/sloppy_seconds.html Obscuria records are requesting one second submissions for a forthcoming compilation.

    Please see the above URL for more info :)