New Stuff
« iOS App with PDF Display and "Music Perform" function - Sheet Music, Chord & Lyric display (Kim Gentes / Worship Tech Blog) | Main | Tips for a New Blogger- Top 3 Things to Do and Top 3 Things to Avoid (Kim Gentes / Worship Tech Blog) »

Internet, Music and Math: How to Waste Time With Three Fun Things (Kim Gentes / Worship Tech Blog)

Remember the promises of science fiction? Well, things haven't turned out quite the way the Jetsons promised us. When they said "Flying cars, robotic servants, instant meals", we didn't know they meant "Southwest Airlines, automated sales calls to our cell phones, and McDonald's happy meals".  But who's to blame? Well certainly not Batuhan Bozkurt.

Batuhan is a "sound artist" and programmer living in Istanbul, Turkey.  And he has done his part in bringing forth the joyous reality of that fantasy of almost all great science fiction- the fusion of technology and art. But is it that hoped-for utopia where ones own thoughts of melodies were enough for mind-reading computers to generate the symphonic masterpeices of the future?  Mr. Bozkurt doesn't promise such glorious realities, but he takes the needed baby-steps for our neophite, web-connected world. He calls it Otomata.

Quite simply, Otomata, is a sound generation web application. It generates tones based on a 9x9 grid which contains any number of bouncing boxes. You start with a blank grid. You add your boxes. You click play. The fun begins.

This might seem trivial (and it is), but Otomata is based on the same rules of operation that most iOS apps and even the first video game (Pong) held to- collision and redirection.  The boxes you place on the grid all move, in any of the 4 directions you instruct them to. When they hit another  box or a wall they alter direction. When they hit a wall, they emit a sound. The grid is set up in a specific musical configuration so that notes ascend a scale from left to right. You get the idea quickly. You develop patterns that create sound loops for basic rhythm and meter. Add some melodic chaos notes (boxes) to overlay said patterns of rhythm.

But the more complex you make them, the less sure you are of a clean results, or one that sounds musical (instead of an explosion of computer sounding blurps).

But enough talk. Try it out! Otomata is online, for all to try (apparantly, phone apps are in the works as well). You can go here and get started:

Now for the really cool part. Once you develop an interesting pattern on Otomata, click the "Copy piece link" and you have the URL to your musical/web/grid configuration. Share it with your friends, build on each other's patterns. All very fun, time wasting and addictive.  Real musos will initially bauk at this trivial tool, but finding the patterns is the key. Don't waste your time just throwing blocks on the board (at least don't keep doing it after 30 minutes or so). If you just do that, of course, you will be bored. Instead, start to develop a library of patterns that you can re-use for your bass end, your mid-chords and your high end rhythms.  Then, start to mix and match and see what happens.

The app is online for anyone who has a web browser. Oh, a real web browser I mean- this one is in Flash, so you can't play it on iPads or iPhones (at least until they add Flash).  However, the folks who wrote this online application have a great new port for the iOS devices and you can also download an app for your iPhone/iPod/iPad as well to take Otomata mobile.

Here are a couple patterns I worked on that I use as a base for more "compositions". Real music? Hmmm.. maybe not. But inventive, thoughtful, and certainly musical fun. You decide.


It's a fun time waster.. and your pattern recognition skills may just improve along the way!

Thanks Otomata! Thanks Batuhan Bozkurt!


Let's go people---

Go forth and blipify! 

Kim Gentes



PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>