Visualising birdsong with Web Audio

In this article Jim Vallandingham takes some simple, beautiful illustrations of bird song from an old book and creates a modern-day D3.js and Web Audio-powered interpretation. The resulting graphs show the frequency content of each individual chirp as a spectogram (a representation of the frequency content of sound), but arranged over time to give an indication of the rhythm of the whole bird song. The script processor and analyser nodes provided by the Web Audio API are used for the analysis, and canvas and SVG are used together for the visualisation.

Making charts accessible using the Web Audio API

Doug Schepers, of the W3C, has been experimenting with using the Web Audio API to “play” the shape of SVG graphics. He’s particularly interested in using this technology to make data visualisations more accessible to visually-impaired users by allowing them to hear the “shape” of a curve in a line plot. Doug demo’d this at the FluentJS conference this week, and there’s some code to play with on Github.

Audio Tags: Web Components + Web Audio

We covered Soledad Penadés innovative Audio Tags concept back in WAW #5, when she presented at the CascadiaJS conference. Briefly, it’s a way to define custom tags which can have associated audio behaviour and be combined in clever ways to build audio applications. She’s now written up the idea on the Mozilla blog, complete with working demos.

Generative music with graphs

I really enjoyed this experiment from Szymon Kaliski. Click on the screen to add nodes, and drag between them to connect. Small blobs travelling between the nodes trigger sounds, with their pitch based on the distance of travel. You can create some interesting rhythmic compositions without the constraints of the typical “grid” structure used by a lot of audio software. The code is also available of Github and makes for interesting reading.

“like jQuery for your ears”

WAD, which stands for Web Audio Digital Workstation, is a higher-level javascript library around the Web Audio API. It has a terser syntax for loading a source node and playing it, and some powerful constructor functions which create small web audio graphs for common synthesiser-type sounds.

Steve Reich: “Don’t tell me you don’t have the right equipment”

In this video profile of the minimalist composer Steve Reich he discusses the importance of musical imagination over access to the latest, greatest equipment. We might not be able to do everything we’d like to do with audio on the web yet, but this is a reminder that with simple tools and imagination wonderful music is possible.