July 18, 2002
7:49 AM   Subscribe

The WebPlayer is a Shockwave app that turns a web page into music by converting the HTML into numbers and then running that through formulas developed by Arnold Schoenberg, who came to be known as the inventory of atonalism in music, and influential in serialism, which aims to produce music by controlling aspects of the music with number series. Don't expect Beethoven, but sometimes the output is nice.
The Google front page produced a pretty soothing bit of background sound the first time I tried it, but the next, it sounded like several other pages I tried. Some explanation for this and the choice of a single sound can be found in the informative critique.
posted by Su (9 comments total)
I kind of wish the output could be made a little more actively "aesthetic" or predictable, but that would obviously undermine the generative nature of the thing.
posted by Su at 7:50 AM on July 18, 2002

It tends to skip a lot, for me at least. The examples they have posted sound interesting, if a bit boring. Every url I tried, metafilter.com included, sounded pretty much the same as the other. It makes the web seem so monotone.
posted by mkn at 8:25 AM on July 18, 2002

The web isn't monotone?
posted by UnReality at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2002

neat idea but most pages did sound the same.
posted by ggggarret at 9:07 AM on July 18, 2002

The ap returned "Trouble Sucking Page. Please Try Another"

Server overload, mebbie?
posted by jazon at 9:40 AM on July 18, 2002

Wow, my site sounds about as boring as it reads... How depressing.
posted by KnitWit at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2002

I think part of the reason that the pages sounded similar is given in the critique, where the creator of the webplayer talks about slowing the sound down a lot and using soft attack, slight modulation and gentle fade, to make it more listenable. If you make bland choices, you probably get blancmange.

For me, the problem with all the computer generated music I've heard, has been the lack of "soul". Call it a lack of "experience of living" if you like, but there's no edge. Music can be quantified readily with numbers, but it takes the little variations, emphases or subtle selections out of the piece. And an attempt to add them usually just sounds random. Maybe this will improve with more clever computers and maybe not.

Still, this is a clever little trick Nice spot Su.
posted by walrus at 1:11 PM on July 18, 2002

Great link Su! It's odd how the same not recently updated site can sound different in two successive loads.
posted by riffola at 8:21 PM on July 18, 2002

For the record my site sounds like Vulcan music
posted by riffola at 8:23 PM on July 18, 2002

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