Monday, 9 October 2006

Sound Stuff

Months ago I did some sound recordings of pencil marks on small crumpled papers (tissue, bond etc.). They've been at the back of my mind since but I hadn't done anything with them. The image above shows a printout of the 4 sounds. They vary in length from 50 seconds to about a minute and a half. I had thought I would like to do something to represent the sounds visually i.e. an image of the sound of a drawing - but had no idea how to go about it. Whilst at a friend's wedding in Italy earlier this month I was talking to a colour scientist who is doing work on (I think) tonal differences within digital images and we had some really interesting conversations which at one point touched on this whole sound thing. (Loads of other stuff which gave me plenty to think about and which I'll no doubt return to at some later point.) He has access to software which has enabled him to generate numbers for the sound and which allows it to be 'plotted'. The problem is that a one second sound generates approx. 11,500 numbers which means a 50 second recording would generate over half a million. This is not really a problem in terms of the number but rather scale - plotting that many numbers on a scale which was feasible would give a very long piece of work!! I thought I would try to cut down the numbers by only plotting the point which represent a change in direction - 100 numbers was reduced to 18 - which seems more manageable. I'm really interested in the idea of a small drawing alongside a sound recording and a visual representation of (the sound of) the drawing. Think I need to learn a bit more about sound first though….

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