Project background

For my MSc Computer Science project at the University of Bristol I propose to investigate algorithmic composition and the methods to widen participation in algorithmic music systems.

My aim is to develop an interactive web cam based music product that allows users to generate music from the colour in their local environment. The ignoring of any other details in a user's environment and concentrating only on colour has been termed the user's 'colourscape'.

Through interactions with the 'colourscape' I hope to be able to widen participation in algorithmic music systems.

The product developed from this project is called the ChromaComposer.

The project will be undertaken between the 18th June 2012 and 30th September 2012 and includes elements from the disciplines of human-computer interaction, interaction design and new interfaces for musical expression.

Posts about how the project is progressing will appear on the gallery page.

The ChromaComposer

The ChromaComposer fuses the elements of colour and music. Colour and music have a long and intertwined history with even Isaac Newton attempting to link the diatonic music scale to colour in his book titled 'Opticks: or a treatise of the reflexions, refractions, inflexions and colours of light' (note the different spelling of reflections and inflections).

Products such as the colour organ allow users to produce a visual effect from music. Some people even experience colour on hearing music, which is commonly called sound to colour synaesthesia. The ChromaComposer could be viewed as the opposite of the colour organ or sound to colour synaesthesia, as it transforms colour to music.

The ChromaComposer uses a webcam to gather information about the colour of your surroundings. This data is then passed to software developed in a package called Max/MSP (please see the links page for further details). The Max/MSP program will then generate music based on the colour data received.

Once the ChromaComposer project has been completed all the computer code and instructions detailing how to build your own ChromaComposer will become available on the website. Then you too will be able to hear how a plant pot sounds or 'play' your living room. You will even be able to save your favourite musical algorithm and send it to a friend with a ChromaComposer, so they can hear how your algorithm sounds in their house or surroundings.

Further information

If you have any comments, queries or feedback please do not hesitate to send an email to chromacomposer@gmail.com

If you would be interested in building your own ChromaComposer or using a ChromaComposer, then it would be great to hear from you! Please feel free to send an email to chromacomposer@gmail.com