Bob Moog’s Birthday: Learn Synthesis, Benefit Swag, Apps, and a Playable Google Doodle [Videos]

Sound technology pioneer Bob Moog’s birthday is May 23, and just about the whole Web will be in on the celebration. Play Google like a Minimoog: Google’s Doodle, the image you see on their homepage, is one of their best yet: it’s a fully interactive, playable Minimoog synthesizer. You can even record and playback little musical sketches and share with friends. Since the Earth is round, Google Japan gets an early scoop. (Yes, the Moog sun will rise first on the land of Roland, Yamaha, and KORG.) Bonus (for Web nerds): this all uses the Web Audio API, which promises …


Plink: Play Music with Strangers, In Your Browser; and the Webby Music Goodness Continues

It starts as just another toy to play around with in a few minutes of distraction in your Web browser – as if the Web were short on distraction. But then, something amazing can happen. Like a musical Turing Test, you start to get a feeling for what’s happening on the other side. Someone’s stream of colored dots starts to jam with your stream of colored dots. You get a little rhythm, a little interplay going. And instead of being a barrier, the fact that you’re looking at simple animations and made-up names and playing a pretty little tune with …


Diaspora: On a Fledgling, Open Social Network, Users Gather to Make Noise

Diaspora is an attempt to build a social network that contrasts with the locked-garden vision of Facebook, one built on open source software, open exchange of information, and distributed – rather than centralized – communication. I already let slip that we’ll be rebooting our own social endeavor, Create Digital Noise, in the new year. But it’s also telling to see the first noises emerge on Diaspora. If you wrote off this service when it was in early testing, perhaps overwhelmed by its ambition and crowd-sourced nature, you may be pleasantly surprised. As users gain invites, the service is surprisingly stable …


Bach Cello Suite No. 1, Visualized in Sweeping Arcs, and the Math Beneath

Alexander Chen, he of Kinect hacks and subways turned to strings, is back with another string visualization. Built in the browser (an interactive version is available), this work makes a visual accompaniment to Bach’s First Prelude from the Cello Suites. If you read music notation fluently, you may find the score itself suffices, but even so, the math to make this work – and the dance of circles across strings – is compelling. Alex, whose day job is with Google’s Creative Lab, talks to us a bit about the mathematics and process. First, his description: visualizes the first Prelude …


On Android, Free, Open Source Touch Control for Music – And It’s Just the Beginning

If you’re looking to turn an Android phone or flashy, new Android tablet into a touch controller for music, you’ll be really glad to see OSC and MIDI controller Control. Furthermore, here’s a solid, powerful app based on the Web that lets Apple and Android fans play well together. I’ve sung the praises of Control’s philosophy before. Templates are built on Web/HTML5 (WebKit) rendering, not proprietary, inflexible interface widgets, and can be created in JSON. You can make templates dynamic, too, because of everything JavaScript does. (Non-jargon-filled translation: you can use the goodness of the Web to make control layouts …


Music Made with NYC Subway Schedules; HTML5+Flash, Q+A with Artist-Developer

Alexander Chen transforms the steady pulse of the (actual) New York City subway system into gentle, generative string plucks in his new interactive piece “Conductor.” The visual effect as well as the musical one is mesmerizing, as the subway is viewed in the abstract, sparse geometries of designed Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram. New York subway nerds and long-time residents will note that the schedule itself is from 1972, hence the appearance of the K train and the elevated along Third Avenue (the 8), one I imagine we wish we still had. The work is also a glimpse of the …


Music Control Meets Web Code Goodness: App for iOS, Soon OSC+MIDI Everywhere?

Music notation is powerful because it’s a standard. You can share it between musicians and understand what it means. What if, instead of being confined to individual, platform-specific apps, digital controls for music were the same way? We’re not just talking a MIDI message here or there, either – someone could walk in with some new-fangled noisemaker they just build in hardware or software, and all you’d need to talk to it and change its sound would be a Web browser. At first glance, the generically-titled “Control” seems like just another iPhone / iPad touchscreen controller, in an already-crowded field. …


Browser Madness: 3D Music Mountainscapes, Web-Based Pd Patching

“The hills are alive / with the sound of browsers” Ever thought you’d make sounds in a browser, or have new ways of visualizing music playback? It’s happening, with builds of Firefox anyone can download. Work to make browsers rich with sound synthesis and visualization continues. “Compatibility” isn’t really an advantage yet, because Firefox is the only browser with support, and only in the next version, though that could change in the future. And yes, Flash is capable of some of this, too (though not real 3D), with 90-95% saturation, conservatively, of computers. But if not compatibility, what these experiments …


More Browser Notation: Type Notes Quickly, Store Scores Online

Music scores remain one of the best ways to record or share many musical ideas. If you’ve done even casual notation, you’ve likely had the experience of scrawling something down on a scrap piece of paper, manuscript or otherwise. Imagine, instead, quickly scrawling something in the now-ubiquitous web browser window. Gregory Dyke writes with a notation project he’s built with Paul Rosen; he says that it’s further along in its development than the notation project we saw last week. As before, it employs JavaScript and HTML5, and the Canvas element SVG support, rendering quickly in any modern browser right inside …


Music Notation with HTML5 Canvas in the Browser; Standard Formats for Scores

The march of “because you can” experiments with the new generation of Web browsers continues. Last week, we saw real-time synthesis in the browser from a team at Mozilla. Next up: music notation. Mohit Muthanna has executed a gorgeous example of musical notation using HTML5’s Canvas. (The Canvas is a new feature of the Web standard that makes drawing to the display directly in the browser more functional than in the past.) JavaScript code is translated directly to “engraved” notation on the screen, without any other dependencies, plug-ins, or intermediate libraries. Music Notation with HTML5 Canvas This isn’t just using …