Something Anything Sounds Good

Something Anything Sounds Good

Brief

Crafting written text is an art on its own, and we are rarely aware of this craftsmanship when writing. Our word processors don’t analyze our text rhythmically or point out available rhymes, but offer grammar checks and different font sizes.

Something Anything Sounds Good was a creative coding project to explore the experience design of the question: “What if we have a musical footprint of the text we write?”. The project was exhibited online at the Art of Code design contest ‘celebrating the beauty of code’.

Much of my sketching was focused on to find different interaction supporting the *"plasticity"* of words.

Design rationale

The main inspiration for the musical output was the harmonica: on a harmonica, all the notes are from the same scale, thus it’s impossible to blow disharmonious sounds when played alone. Such constraint enables anyone (even without musical training) to create harmonic music.

Considering that literacy is much more common than musical training, I chose textual input to explore music creation. In this way almost everyone can experience musical improvisation, and in the meanwhile poetical textual input may also generate interesting results. In the end, improvising in text also means “letting grammar loose”, entering the domain when sentences are dominated by poetry more than grammar checks.

Conceptualization sketches.

Realization

Since the project was exhibited online, it was a must to create Something Anything Sounds Good as a website. The proof-of-concept and the final product were realized with Javascript and HTML5 audio libraries, which are still rather experimental, making the project prone to errors with different browser versions.

The project is available online, however works properly only with older versions of Chrome and Firefox.

The music generation was realized through trial-and-error: having textual input, different rules were created for vowels, consonants and capital letters from the words, defining what melodies will be played. During the trial-and-error exploration I tried to find such a ruleset which creates interesting results for the user, and engages her to explore further and further.

The design of SASG let me practice designing for experience, deeply understand the aesthetical considerations of interaction properties (on contrary to usability, for instance), and to tinker around with state-of-the-art web technologies.