Reclaim Yer Dance Party // API + Audio = (beats, visuals, internet, participate)

Reclaim Yer Dance Party // API + Audio = (beats, visuals, internet, participate)

This session demonstrated music apps and online tools that are quick and easy to use, as well as ways to create music collaboratively.

Speakers:

I know it was only the beginning of the conference, but I was late for this session.*

I wasn’t that late. Five minutes, 7 max. But it was late enough that I walked in and immediately felt like a first-grader in an algebra class. What the heck were they talking about? What’s an asymtote? Conjugate this, APIs!

It took me awhile to orient, but it seemed like they were talking about things that could be useful. So I jotted down a bunch of URLs that they mentioned:** It’s a good thing I am doing this post now and researching and double-checking my links. I didn’t write everything down correctly and a bunch of them initially went to error pages.

Potentially Useful and Interesting Links

  • codepen.io – for experimenting with code. Might try using it.
  • plnkr.co – for similar purposes. Coding, sharing.
  • band.js – Music composer interface for the Web Audio API. Not an actual website, as far as I can understand, but you can fork it from here: https://github.com/meenie/band.js. (Oh dear, listen to me. What am I saying? The only thing I know how to fork is a steak.)
  • http://plnkr.co/edit/LG20SL?p=preview – Super Mario Brothers Theme song, completely coded. No idea how, except it has to do with band.js from the previous item.
  • Web Audio API samples: http://webaudioapi.com/samples/ – um, completely useless? I feel really stupid about this one. But it looks like it’s showing that you can make interactive sounds through coding. Check them out. They’re kind of cool, I just don’t know what to do with them.
  • electron.atom.io – It says right on the site that “If you can build a website, you can build a desktop app.” Exciting to think about, but at this point I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Just a few more…
  • p5js.org – for creating visuals and interactions, a javascript library. Might like to look into this.
  • shadertoy.com – similar to codepen, maybe?

Moving On…

TweakyBeat IconAfter awhile, we got interactive. They encouraged us to open one of several music-making apps, and then somehow synchronized us all together: https://github.com/Ableton/link. (I got a little lost again while I was trying to make space on my phone to download the app, and then figure out how to work the app. So I can’t give any details on the process here.)

The one I chose is called TweakyBeat: http://appshopper.com/music/tweakybeat, “a very simple monophonic synthesizer.”

Not my cuppa tea, but it was actually kind of fun, once several people in the room got their jam on. Then, with a central device, one person was able to control the tempo and key of everything that the rest of us were making. Was it a “dance” party? Not so much. But we did make [beautiful] music together!

Creating a Beat on TweakyBeat

It’s easy to make your own “music” with TweakyBeat. I guess it’s more of a “beat,” but you can join it together with other instrumentals and turn it into something that somebody might enjoy listening to.

  1. Open the TweakyBeat app.
  2. Click one of the colored squares. Each color represents a different sound.
  3. Click one of the gray squares to put that beat there.
  4. The beat starts going, and you hear it better as you add more colored squares.
  5. Add more colors to different gray squares. Click a square again to make it gray, or choose a different color to replace a square.
  6. Change the tempo, pitch, and other parameters.
  7. Enjoy your beat.

Here’s a short demo of how it’s done.

I saved 3 sessions from the conference. Check them out below:

Example TweakyBeat #1

Example TweakyBeat #2

Example TweakyBeat #3

Here’s a much better example of what’s possible with TweakyBeat that I did not do:


Takeaway: Ultimately useful in my day job? Maybe not. At least not for me personally. But now I know how to use TweakyBeat, I have a list of potential resources to learn more coding, and I may be able to offer ideas for a musically-inclined student in the future.


* Keeping it real, talking about the things that get in the way of your best intentions to be a good conference attendee

** See this link for a full list and speaker notes: https://oet.sandcats.io/shared/hgGk1DUANogJlzgD-aqbmFPLSCjvS-OR5XlEXMzjWmk