One Bit Motion Mix

Andreja Andric 2018

Caution if you are wearing headphones: extremely loud sounds

To perform on any device with a web browser, ideally on a smartphone. Variable duration. Uses HTML5 Web Audio API. It is currently compatible with most modern desktop browsers, Chrome on Android phones and Chrome or Safari on iPhones.

I gradually developed this work between 2014 and 2018 through a series of partly improvised 1-bit laptop performances. I would prepare in advance a list of melodic cells that I wanted to work with. During the performance I would develop each of them in turn by modifying it gradually through a series of closely related variations. I would either slowly morph the cell into the next one from my list, or, if the process of changing it happened to lead in a different direction, then I would suddenly change the course of music to the next cell on my list when the time is right. I wrote the software for these performances in Java programming language and I interacted with it by typing note numbers into a text file which the audience could see and follow. The software recorded both my activity on the computer keyboard and the resulting sound.

This mobile web version of the work consists of all the cells and respective variations collected from my past performances, with a simple interface for navigating through them. There are in total 66 cells with 10-50 variations each - a network of recollections of existing musical ideas that permits reassembling the piece anew on each performance. The swipe interface on the smartphone provides opportunity for gestures familiar from popular mobile phone applications like Tinder, thereby contributing to the stage aspect of the performance.

Each cell and each variation is rendered simply in two voices, in parallel fourths, fifths, or octaves, or in contrary motion in short, equal rhythmical values. The scale for the top voice consists of 15 notes spanning two octaves, and tuned according to the following fractions with respect to the given ground frequency: 1/1 6/5 5/4 4/3 3/2 8/5 5/3 2/1 12/5 10/4 8/3 6/2 16/5 10/3 4/1 which can be approximated by C, D#, E, F, G, G#, A, C, D#, E, F, G, G#, A, C. The sound resolution is 44100 samples per second, but only 1 bit per sample, which, apart from the characteristic noisy sound, creates a direct link between tone intervals and resulting sound color. See the source code and the accompanying commentary for details.

How to play: Move forward through the variation set with > button or Swipe right on the swipe panel. Move two steps ahead with >> or Swipe left on the swipe panel. Pick a new cell at random with New button or with swipe up or swipe down movement on the Swipe panel. The program repeats the current variation until you make a change. Mix the cells and variations freely.

Swipe Panel

Last updated April 12th 2018