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Computer Poetry

Like magnetic poetry, but not.


I applied to concept of magnetic poetry in a slightly more musical setting. I mapped a bunch of words created from using text-to-speech to rows on the keyboard, roughly organized by part of speech. I more or less arbitrarily determined their order on each row. Each row also has pitches mapped to the word keys, ascending in the key of C. They use the VoicForm STK "instrument" with a phoneme that roughly corresponds to the major phoneme of each corresponding word. The idea is to add your own words and mix and match to create something with musical meaning, semantic meaning, or both (as I have sort of tried to do in my "performance").

To add some bass, there is a drone that initially begins with two pitches on an octave of low C's. The upper pitch is changeable on the keyboard (right side of the qwerty row).

Additionally, this whole semester I felt pretty bad for my computer from all of the smacking, yelling, shaking, twisting, etc. A few times, I shook it so hard, it died (or at least forced a shut down). I decided to let the "magnetic poetry" be its own voice, and added a few little things to give it some "heart." There is a heartbeat (downloaded from here) that can be toggled on and off with the tilde key. When you hit the computer, it says "ouch" (after a few times, it will say "that actually really hurts"). Every time you hit it, the heartbeat gets slightly faster (then eventually resets). The heartbeat can sorta be used as the "beat" of the music.

If you make a lot a noise, it will yell at you and stop playing. So be nice!


This zip file includes the chuck file and a bunch of sound files.

Instructions: go to the terminal, type chuck and play around.


Click here for a video of the "instrument," featuring my hands.

In case you can't make out the words:

"This semester I have been abused.
I would appreciate it if you would stop hitting me.
You are lucky I still work.
Have a happy dean's date."

Honorable Mention

This project represents my own work in accordance with University regulations.

Julianne Grasso