In my photography class this weekend, my professor (Eric Carroll) mentioned the photographer Garry Winogrand who passed away with over 8,000 rolls of undeveloped film. After class he was telling a classmate and I about some studies he did over the summer with another student based on the research of Donald Glaser (a physicist who traced charged particles through a bubble chamber). This got us on the topic of leaving certain elements up to the random. The art of chance.
I decided to wash dishes and see how the computer would translate these common sounds in to something more recognizable as music. There's a few options in Ableton that allow you translate sounds in to MIDI drums, harmonies, and/or melodies. When importing the sounds of washing dishes in to Ableton for translation, I really anticipated there would be some cool dissonant melodies from the clinking of dishes. After each sound was translated in to each MIDI category, the computer found each recording to be much more accurate in the percussion spectrum.
If you're unfamiliar with how MIDI works, think about a player piano. The interpreting device reads information that says something should be activated when a hole is interacted. When the holes are traveled over on the roll of paper, a note is played that corresponds to the hole's location. MIDI is fully controllable on a computer. The velocity of the note, it's sustain, the actual sound of what's played, etc. For the melody and harmony sections, I chose the sounds based on how much time was in between each note. If there was more space, I chose a sound with a longer tail. The drums sounds are mostly from my Boss DR3 and some miscellaneous electronic kits. In the future, I may do another version where the translated percussion notes are replaced with piano or synth notes, but this experiment was to translate how the computer interpret. Let the computer translate how it would hear dishes being washed and put away, but as audio or more specifically, as music. Both the original audio recording and the MIDI>audio are in the mix of the video.