The Digital Surgeons Web Audio Meetup

A great write-up of a Web Audio meetup hosted by The Digital Surgeons at their New Haven office. There’s some links to interesting digital video and game experiments, and it’s great to get a little glimpse of the growing Web Audio community around the world.

Cole Willsea’s Web Audio Experiments

An idiosyncratic and entertaining collection of sound art experiments from artist and developer Cole Willsea. There’s a lot of fun projects to explore here, and its always great to see people building creative, personal things on the web.


Flowkey is a piano tutor application which uses either your computer’s microphone and the Web Audio API, or Web MIDI if you have a MIDI keyboard, to work out which notes you’re playing and provide you feedback to help you learn. Sign up and the first few lessons are free.

Web Audio NPM packages

I spent a bit of time hacking on the Web Audio performance tool loopjs this week (more on that in a future issue). In doing so I noticed that author Matt McKegg has made a lot of the building blocks of that application into stand-alone NPM modules. In particular wave-recorder allows you to stream the output of an audio graph to the file system, and audio-slot is a FRP (functional reactive programming) wrapper around Web Audio nodes.

My Web Audio Reading List

I am frequently asked whether I can recommend books to people who are interested in computer music, signal processing, synthesis and the other topics I cover here in Web Audio Weekly. As a little bonus this week, I thought I’d share with you the most-thumbed books on my bookshelf1.

Understanding Digital Signal Processing

This is one of the most accessible and readable textbooks I’ve seen that introduces the principles of digital signal processing, covering such topics as sampling, the Fourier Transform, and digital filter design. While it doesn’t shy away from the maths where required, all of the detail is motivated with clear, real-world examples.

Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques

Get past the slightly cheesy cover and blurb and this book is absolutely packed with practical advice on how to create digital music of all kinds. There’s detailed sections on how synthesis works, blow-by-blow deconstructions of several genres of electronic music and great tips on recording and mastering.

Computer Music

This book takes a slightly more academic approach to computer music than in the Dance Music Manual, but they form a very complimentary partnership. If you’re interested in computer music programming, especially in systems that pre-date and influence the the Web Audio API such as MAX/MSP or PureData, this book is an excellent introduction. It also serves as a good reference for particular forms of digital synthesis, with a great overview of FM synthesis in particular.

The Computer Music Tutorial

Don’t be mislead by the title. This isn’t really a tutorial introduction to computer music, rather an exhaustive, encyclopedic survey of almost every aspect of the subject and its history. In some areas the detail is sufficient for you to apply what you’ve learnt, while in others it serves more as a starting point. The references to source materials in other books and journals are worth the price of the book alone. Curtis Roads edited the Computer Music Journal from 1978-2000, and is uniquely qualified to have compiled this book. It probably won’t be the first you buy, but sooner or later you’ll want it in your library.

Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook

I love this slightly odd, labour-of-love self-published book from Fred Welsh. Half of the book contains patches for a generic 2-oscillator analogue synth which recreate, spookily at times, the sounds of real (and imaginary) instruments. The magic is in the first half though, where Welsh explains how to take a recording of a sound you like from a recording and learn how to recreate it with an analogue synth. Since almost all of the features of a classic analogue synth are available in the Web Audio API, the techniques are applicable to your code.

The Neuroscience of Drumming

An interesting article on how learning to play the drums over a long period of time has a measurable impact on the function of the brain and the musicians sensitivity to rhythm and timing when they’re away from the kit.

you do decide to purchase I will receive a small kickback. Thank you. I’ve bought all of these books with my own money, and would recommend them to you even without the incentive!

  1. Some of the the links include my Amazon UK referrer code, so if