Friday, 1 March 2013

MOOC Music

Two things got me thinking about music this week:
  1. I am about to start a Songwriting MOOC
  2. The University of Edinburgh's MSc eLearning research into music and learning
I had three ideas this week:
  1. What could you generate from something that is online? This would be a purely digital piece that the machine makes.
I used this website which has lots of little spatial designs and graphics. I chose one that creates musical notes based on three cogs spinning around and hitting five circles. The circles produce a note each time they are hit, and you can move them around to change their pitch and frequency. They also look a bit like stars in the night sky, so I arranged them in the shape of the Orion cluster. The twinkly sounds suited it, and then I got a bit giddy thinking about what music the stars would really make. Click the link beneath the image below to hear it.

  1.     2. What music could you remix using online tools?
I was inspired to do this by a couple of tweets from @reticulatrix and @asameshimae about 1.) what music would you recommend for edcmooc, and 2.) what would a "posthuman" mix of music sound like. I have this image of a future landscape like in the film Wall-E, where music will just be a battered old radio still surviving and playing. And with a nod to 386DX I came up with what a transhuman might sing in the future. I also made a reply to the poor cyborg's lament to 1.) experiment using the site Masher, and 2.) to try this site which turns your text into music. The result was quite weird and eerie, but it was good to try it out.

         3. A piece of music using the notes EDC.
It occurred to me on Sunday - after staring at it for 3 months - that the term "EDC MOOC" contained within it three notes on the musical scale : E, D, and C. I had been preparing my own artefact on the same day (and viewing other peoples), and kept noticing the free music that gets used in videos. It's often a fairly ordinary piece of piano or guitar music. To get round the potential copywrite issues of using someone else's music (which many on the course have been discussing this week), I thought I'll just write & play my own. When I realised the EDC note co-incidence I knew this was a sign! All I'd need to do was compose something that used the three notes as its basis. I spent an evening coming up with a tune. You can play the notes EDC together yourself  here to see where I got my basic melody from (it actually sounds just like the Nursery Rhyme "Three Blind Mice"). I recorded my guitar piece, and used a snippet for the intro video for my artefact.

I've also been wanting to look back at the edcmooc Flickr images to pick out my favourites  now that the course has ended. This seemed like a good opportunity to combine my edcmooc music with some edcmooc images (in true HartBeat gallery style). I wanted to try a new tool for this, and after trying a few which were too complicated. came across Masher. This was a nice and simple tool. You can upload your own pics, video, and music, or choose the ones alreaady on there. There is some great stock footage from BBC and elsewhere which could be really good for making videos to accompany music. Click the link below the image below to hear my video.
A big hand to the various people who made the images that I included in my video. There are so many great ideas in there. See my favourites list for the original pictures and explanations behind them:

This has also been my 45th blog post, which considering the musical theme seems very fitting (and any excuse to listen to Motown).

Further ideas:
  1. A typically thought provoking piece from Angela Towndrow here which mentions lots of novel ideas for "blogjects" in the real world "For me, it's about the getting of wisdom and using the tools to that end".
  2. Time and Tide Bell:
  3. A really excellent Pinterest artefact by Ruth Wilson that has many interesting ideas of electronic music & sound online
  4. An excellent idea from my MOOC class mate Chris Millison. Chris created a mix tape to reflect on his studies in #edcmooc. I like the different perspective and format he used to write his feedback. What an interesting experiment. 
  5. Music made from people's tweets:


  1. Hi Chris, I am on the EDCMOOC course, and about to start songwriting as well, so thanks for this, I look forward to exploring the links. Have you found a way to source the songlist? I am going to try searching SoundCloud to see if anything is there.

    You may find my digital artifact on Pinterest/SoundCloud relevant (you get a namecheck on it).

    Best wishes Ruth (@collegeethics)

    1. Ruth, thanks for the link to your Pinterest. It's tremendous! I had great pleasure picking my way through it. So many ideas in there, hope to explore more in the future.


  2. Hi Chris, thanks for visiting my artifact and for commenting. I have had time to explore your post a bit more. I too noticed the music on many of the artifacts - compared to the wonderful diversity and individuality of voices and ideas, the music was often bland. That can be a good thing - you don't want it necessarily to intrude, and I guess musicmaking is not something many people do. So I checked out your artifact again (which I really liked first time round, partly for its emphasis on the human and its sense of story) and I appreciated that lovely guitar motif, and a touch of the Tony Harts in your lovely youtube intro. Sadly, at least this morning, I cannot get the links to masher to work. Will try again.
    I have never composed - hope to get started on the songwriting tonight.