Bonus Round: Advanced Web Audio

Hopefully this semester has provided a good foundation for understanding the technicalities of music on the web. For those wanting to LEVEL UP, I’ve included some bonus round easter eggs below… an exploration of the more advanced options available for audio on the web.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that browsers will increasingly be using HTML 5 from here on, and with this will come easier embedding possibilities and via a more developer friendly Javascript API – increasingly innovative experiences with sound online. Here’s your old friend w3schools on the topic of HTML 5, and here’s a recently celebrated example of pushing it’s capacity: (and do read the section about the technology enabling it).

As part of gathering relevant web audio bookmarks for the course (which I’ve been storing here: ), I wrote to a few musician and audio production friends, and Dan MacKinlay provided the unexpectedly detailed reply below, which I’ve added a few links to for clarity. Well worth a read for those interested in the more technical capabilities online for audio.

Add generous Dan on soundcloud!

Web audio? You mean a bald, beginnerish summary? How practical do you need it to be? For basic encoding stuff there’s the good old William Haun PowerPoinT. For the specialist, there is user interface design using javascript audio events. Quite aside from the Heath Robinson contraption flavour of such Flash solutions (and HTML5 audio is of course itself fragile and limited), the main problem with these things is that sonifying your average website is a joke.

So I divine that perhaps you are looking for something a little more cutting edge? Good old chrism’s attempt to port puredata to the web – aka WebPd. Or the older Lily project to turn firefox into a generative media plaything…?

Or my own modest bookmarks:

For the extra fun, I reckon we should plumb nearly-web audio. I hereby be possibly off topic.

Did you know the RJDJ app supports network connections?I think my next RjDJ app will be based around that idea. Or processing.js – did you know that it does some amazing audio stuff? (esp. in firefox)  (David Humprey, linked there, is optimistic about audio web stuff)

sc140 is another near-web contender.

Or, let us suck up the zeitgeist and think of augmented reality sound design. Isn’t AR last season’s hottest flavour? (Cringing at memory of punters pronouncing it Arrr, and me not being sure if it was talk-like-an-internet–pirate day or if they were just constantly amazed)

The oldest and awesomest instance of this i know is audionomad, where composers made the landscape into a a weird compositional acoustic hallucination. I heard Nigel Helyer’s composition from a chartered boat with multichannel sound system bolten on for full-spatialization goodness. The Sydney harbour bridge was a traversed by invisible roller coasters, Sydney Cove resounded with echoing screams of the drowning victims of the Greycliffe disaster, and as we passed the couple posing for their wedding photos on picturesque Dawes point, a dry voice read extracts from an early colonist’s diary, recounting  that the site was where the scurvy riddled- bodies of the dead and dying convicts where dumped from the vessels like sacks of wheat. Historicity FTW.

All you’d want is to make those annotations be collaborative and it would be webalicious.

Of course, a multichannel ferry is overkill in this day and age. everything’s made of smartphones, and the hallucinations are a little more solipsistic than a boozy ferry-ride.. Layar, for example, supports audio.

For what its worth, I’m not really interested in the web as a site for audio, as that is not what I use it for. rather, I’m interested in the web for audio control. Nothing supports nested, dynamic controls like a browser does, not even the ex-Jazzmutant-lemur. It’s still a bit more tedious than it needs to be because OpenSoundControl is a zany binary format that prefers UDP and browsers prefer delicious JSON-over-TCP. Which, as an ex web guy, I argue is excessively tight coupling on OSC’s part owing to a confusion of the hierarchy of the protocol stack. But that is a nitpick for another day.

Any of that brain dump what you’re after? What DO you mean by “web” anyhow?



One Response to “Bonus Round: Advanced Web Audio”

  1. Mitch Says:

    yeah cheers heaps for that one sean 🙂

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