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acousticks

The Wikidrummer How the sound of a drum kit changes depending on where you play it. (slyt)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 7, 2013 - 11 comments

 

Beach Bells

This is a visualization of Beach Boys vocals inspired by the physics of church bells. Using a mathematical relationship between a the circumference of a circular surface and pitch, I wrote code that draws a circle for each note of the song. (Single Link Vimeo)
posted by Navelgazer on Aug 14, 2013 - 8 comments

O v. ⱭD

The Beatles in mono, the Beatles in stereo: an album by album comparison. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Mar 27, 2013 - 42 comments

The Soundscapes of Ancient Cultures

Historically, archaeologists have largely ignored acoustical science as a tool for archaeological discovery. This is changing with the advent of acoustic archaeology. “Could the Maya have intentionally coded the sound of their sacred bird into the pyramid architecture? I think it is possible.Hear it for yourself in this video. While this is a pretty astounding feat of architectural engineering, it’s by no means the only example of archaeoacoustics that can be found at Chichen Itza, amongst the mayan people, or throughout the many other cultures who’ve built structures that integrate unique auditory phenomenon to stimulate the senses. [previously]/[previously] [more inside]
posted by nTeleKy on Nov 29, 2012 - 23 comments

Instruments Online

If you want to read about the history, construction, sounds and playing techniques of, say, the tympani, or any other instruments of the classical symphonic orchestra, Vienna Symphonic Library's Instruments Online pages are good reading and a handy resource for orchestrators.
posted by Wolfdog on Sep 30, 2011 - 4 comments

old new music

Acousmata is a unique music blog devoted to "idiosyncratic research in electronic and experimental music, sound and acoustics, mysticism and technology" with special focus on the early history of electronic music.
posted by speicus on Jul 30, 2010 - 16 comments

All we hear is radio ga ga.

Audiophoolery: Pseudoscience in Consumer Audio. You might think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune to the kind of magical thinking we see in other fields. Unfortunately, you would be wrong [...] As a consumerist, it galls me to see people pay thousands of dollars for fancy-looking wire that’s no better than the heavy lamp cord they can buy at any hardware store. Or magic isolation pads and little discs made from exotic hardwood that purport to “improve clarity and reduce listening fatigue,” among other surprising claims. The number of scams based on ignorance of basic audio science grows every day. Via.
posted by amyms on Jan 11, 2010 - 209 comments

The name of this post is Talking Heads.

The Waseda Talker has been turning heads (har har) lately. It's a mechanical simulation of the human vocal tract, from the motion of its synthetic lips down to the hypnotic undulation of its rubbery vocal folds (compare the genuine article here). Think this is new? Well, these days we do most of this stuff electronically — but talking simulacra have a long and weird history, starting back when electronic synthesizers were just a pipe dream. Here's a talking pair of bellows from 1791, and a head you can play like a trumpet as recently as 1937. The granddaddy of 'em all are the Kratzenstein resonators (not Frankenstein, Kratzenstein!) from 1779. Make your own with pipe insulation and a duck call.
posted by nebulawindphone on Nov 28, 2008 - 12 comments

Tubular bells?

"Next-generation loudspeakers could be as thin as paper, as clear as glass, and as stretchable as rubber." Making sound from heat and vice versa is nothing new, but a flat loudspeaker sure would be cool, provided nothing goes wrong. [previously.]
posted by arcanecrowbar on Nov 5, 2008 - 14 comments

The acoustics of the theatre of Epidaurus

An ancient theatre filters out low-frequency background noise. The ancient Greek theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, built mostly during the 4th century B.C. and now a World Heritage Site, is renowned for its extraordinary acoustics. Researchers have figured out that the arrangement of the stepped rows of seats are perfectly shaped to act as an acoustic filter, suppressing low-frequency background noise while passing on the high frequencies of performers' voices. [Via MoFi.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 28, 2007 - 16 comments

Waalsdorp Museum

"From the first world war until the 30's air acoustics played an important role in the air defence. Air vehicles carrying a weapon could not be located from the ground e.g. at night time or under cloudy conditions. As radar was still to be discovered, vision had to be supplemented by hearing using the sound of the engines."
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 8, 2006 - 8 comments

I am going to play it back into the room again and again...

"I am sitting in a room (mp3), different from the one you are in now." is the opening phrase from Alvin Lucier's (Wikipedia) best known work, simply titled 'I am sitting in a room'. The piece involves playing a recording of a short speech back into the room and re-recording the result. This is done again and again, with the resonant frequencies of the room reinforced each time, until all that is left are the characteristics and resonances of the room. (Interview and documentary also available at ubu.com
posted by TwoWordReview on Jul 14, 2006 - 28 comments

Excuse you, my detector heard that...

The Acoustics of Gases. The high-pitched version of your voice that you hear when you inhale helium represents a cool principle. Unlike the speed of light, the speed of sound is quite sensitive to the composition of the medium that it travels through. A gas such as helium that is much less dense than the air we normally breathe and hear in will actually cause the speed of sound to increase, a phenomenon that we perceive as a Chipmunks-like change in pitch. A couple of scientists have used this relationship between sound frequency and gas composition to invent an acoustic device for monitoring the gas composition of air. Of course , if you're a canary this is nothing new.
posted by derangedlarid on Oct 25, 2005 - 23 comments

The World is Bound With Secret Knots

Athanasius Kircher was the 17th century's Jesuit version of the übergeek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders" invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ and magnetic clock, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery. [MI]
posted by peacay on Aug 7, 2005 - 12 comments

The Singing Pyramid?

Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded: "A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists." Others are not so sure... Coincidence, or engineering? Did the designers of El Castillo pyramid cannily build in a sound effect that mimics the warble of the sacred quetzal bird? Listen for yourself, with the .wav file (first set is the real bird, the second is the pyramid) featured in this Acoustical Society of America page. I prefer to think it's deliberate; after all, it's possible that early man was experimenting with cave acoustics to to create sound-enhanced rock art (there are sound samples for this included here - unfortunately a Geocities site). Also of interest, the BBC programme "Acoustic Shadows" (requires RealPlayer - *heavy sigh*).
posted by taz on Feb 8, 2005 - 24 comments

Soundless Music Shown to Produce Weird Sensations

Dr Richard Lord has shown in a controlled experiment that the extreme bass sound known as infrasound produces a range of bizarre effects in people including anxiety, extreme sorrow and chills -- supporting popular suggestions of a link between infrasound and strange sensations.
Here's the Reuters Story, He's done some other cool stuff as well at the National Physical Laboratory.
I can't help but think of The Brown Note, am I so imature?
posted by Blake on Sep 7, 2003 - 16 comments

Silophone.

Silophone. "A sonic inhabitation of the Silo #5 grain elevator in the Old Port of Montréal ... Silophone makes use of the incredible acoustics of Silo #5 by introducing sounds, collected from around the world using various communication technologies, into a physical space to create an instrument which blurs the boundaries between music, architecture and net art." This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest things I've seen on the net in ages.
posted by tpoh.org on Oct 22, 2001 - 13 comments

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