Networked_Music_Review

Net_Music_Weekly: “Road Music” by Peter Sinclair

autosync.jpg“We all love driving down a open road with music on the car radio, at times there seems to be an almost magical synchronization between the music playing and the passing landscape, the speed, the hum of the motor, sounds harmonize with the machine…” This was the impetus for Peter Sinclair’s Road Music. With Road Music, the music played on the car HiFi is generated entirely by the car itself: vibrations of the car on the road, recognizable movements (accelerations, gear changes, bends etc.) and the passing landscape.

The program (Pure Data) runs on a mini PC which is plugged into the aux jack of the car HiFi. Information about the drive is captured by a Wiimote controller, fixed with a suction cup inside the windshield, which continuously sends data concerning the XYZ movements of the car. The Infra Red sensor has been adapted (the filter taken out), so that it detects position and size of any luminous objects (headlamps or tail lights of other cars, areas of sunlight or shade etc).

The vibrations from the Wii are continuously written into lookup tables (one for each axis), then read as audio (wavetable oscillators). This means that while pitch (the tune) is defined algorithmically within the program, the timbre of the sounds varies according to vibrations of the motor and other movements of the car. These movements are analyzed and categorized to distinguish bends, accelerations, decelerations, bumps in the road and standstill. These events are used to trigger variations on sequences which are automatically generated whenever the car stops.

Road Music will soon be available for sale. The version of the program demonstrated in the video (scroll down) is progressing on a daily basis to provide more and more varied sounds and compositions. In the future, other composers and artists will be invited to work on different setups for the program so that eventually the user will be able to choose between musics generated from programs by these collaborators.

Peter Sinclair is a member of the research group Locus Sonus audio in art and professor at L’Ecole Superieur d’Art d’Aix-en Provence. The idea for the project AutoSync originated in a conversation with Lydwine Van der Hulst (at that time member of Locus Sonus).

With thanks to G. H. Hovagimyan.


Apr 14, 2008
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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