Sound of Your Soul by Therisse Martinez

Sound of Your Soul is based around a MAX patch the artists has programmed which uses parts of a person’s being to create an individualized piece of music. The patch analyzes a person’s first and last name, uses a microphone to record their voice, a webcam to take their picture, and uses a heart monitor to document their heart rate. These characteristics are used to drive the tempo, timbre, key, mode, and pitch. The resulting music is unique to the individual and thus is “the sound of their soul.”

Do you remember the first Max patch you ever made? What was it?

I remember the first Maxpatch I made. It was about a year ago and it was called AutoMariachi. The user got to select one of the patterns I made for bass accompaniment and countermelody, as well as which instruments would be playing, the solo instrument's melody, and what key everything would be in. The concept made me giggle.

How did you come up with this project idea?

Strangely enough, I came up with this idea the first time I went to Long Beach's Soundwalk in 2009. I thought it would be cool to create an actual piece of music for every person based on themselves. It would make people feel like they could connect to what was happening in the music. I also wanted it to be something that was pretty tangible and not very abstract. I think I succeeded for the most part.

What sorts of problems did you have to solve?

There were many problems I had to solve. The first was that I didn't have a good grasp of max at the time, so I had to figure out a way to not make the sounds I had sound so crappy. From my first version, I completely rewrote the code from scratch so I could make the sounds and music sound more high quality. I also changed the sequencer to a techno~ object because it gave me way more control than programming a multislider. The second problem I had was that I wanted to figure out a way to create a percussive element to the patch without using prerecorded samples. After trying to wrap my head around everything, I finally just decided to use another techno object and base the percussion on the actual voice being recorded. The final problem I had had to do with interface and being user friendly. That's what I've spent the last two weeks doing and I finally have something that makes a lot more sense.

If there were one person who you would want to see your project, who would it be?

I would want someone who makes iphone/droid apps to see my project because I think it would make for a good app. Making apps is something I'm pretty interested in doing and I may try to learn how to do that at some point.

At the conclusion of this project were you:
a) exhausted
b) ready to do a new one
c) thinking of ways to expand it
d) [other, please describe]

I'm always thinking of ways to make my patch better. I think there's a lot more I could still do for it (such as, programming the heartbeat to drive the music in real time based on the person's actual heartbeat). I also want to create art out of the hardware but that's just another thing for me to do.

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Oct 21 2011 | 1:47 pm

I think this project is brilliant, and has the potential to grow into a new way of recording, processing, and recalling our sensory experiences.

Cheers to your creativity and effort!

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