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spaceTime Nocturne

spaceTime Nocturne is a visual representation of Chopin's Nocturne op.9 no.1 - the visuals are generated in real time following pre-determind set of rules and tells the story of the music visualy. 

produced by: Amit Segall

Concept and background research

In my project I decided to try and find new ways to represent notation. As a musician,  music notation tells a story of a musical piece and I wanted to find a new visual that will allow other people to interperate the music. My first challange was to make music interacte with Processing, and after several tests and aproaches I decided using OSC to send MIDI data from Ableton live to Processing using Max4live Patch. 


Once I was able to extract data from MIDI i started experimenting with different visual designs and algorithms. For each visual alteration I tested several musical pieces, in order to make sure the visual representation is diverse enough for my taste and to see how different musical styles tells different stories. Since my system was working in real time I was trying everything from jazz, classical music and even simply improvising new melodies and see how they work with my visuals.

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After several tests I decide I’ll represent a predefined number of notes over a period of a musical piece. I’ll create shapes that progress in the virtual space as the music goes.

Each note is represented by a vertex with 3 graphical points on a circle (basically a triangle) and if you play several notes together you add points to the vertex making the shape closer to a circle. The gap between the notes and the note duration add variation and randomness to the position of the points in space. the velocity of the notes is being represented by the size of the shapes and the color. In serch for more depth to my graphics I represented each note twice making, once along the musical line, and once in the centre of the image. As the music progress the shapes in the centre of the image gets smaller and smaller.

I choose for my final piece to represent Chopin’s Nocturne op.9 no.1  because of it’s wide musical range and dynamic, and I’ve made my image using the first 1000 notes of the piece. The term “Space time” is taken from Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. according to Einstein’s theory, space time is the fuses of three dimensions of space and one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional continuum.  I liked it for it’s mathematical complexity (using trigonometry in my algorithm)  and futuristic attitude which I wanted to represent in my visuals.


Further development

The program in it’s current mode stops after predefined set of notes and produce a PDF file with the image that was processed by the music. As a future development my program can run real time and create live visuals to accompany music, it can work on one computer or across a network and it could be easily modified to represent different visuals in different styles. I’m surely going to keep working on it hopefully to create a robust program that I’ll be able to use as my practice as a musician.