Algorithmic Composition: Final Project Idea
One of my interests is how we structure text in order to make it computer-legible. Probably the most pervasive way of structuring text on the Internet today is HTML, which has several interesting properties that make it relevant to music-making.
First, it's recursive: most elements can themselves contain other elements. In this sense, an HTML document resembles an L-System, and it's possible to draw a tree from the flattened data structure that looks very much like a classical L-System visualization. (See, for example, Websites as Graphs.)
In addition to being recursive, HTML also repetitive: think of menu items in an unordered list, or table cells in a table. Most HTML documents contain small, repeating (though not necessarily identical) structures like this.
So here's my idea for a final project: a piece of software that sonifies HTML structure.
Challenges and extra credit after the jump.
Another challenge is figuring out how to map the data to sound. I'm pretty sure I'll follow a strategy like the one I used for Meditation #4, in which note values are stored in a stack and multiple layers of hierarchy are played against one another (I think a lot of methods used for sonifying L-Systems will be applicable to this project). As far as the aesthetics of the piece: I'm predisposed to droney, meditative stuff, but it might be fun to make something rhythmic and noisy. Maybe the piece can do both, or something in between, and this will be controlled by some aspect of the page being sonified.