The Message is the Message

Tweet A Sound: getting started tutorial from Andrew Spitz on Vimeo.

Do you Tweet? I do, and although I’m not currently spreading it around, I’d be glad to engage in a mutually following relationship if you would email me.

If you don’t know what that means, no problem, you’re not missing too much. Although much of the mass media is agog over Twitter, that just means that they have no idea what it is, what it does, and why they should be using it. Strangely, the GOP believes that Twitter is the reason they lost the last Presidential election, and if they just use it, they’ll win the next one. That’s what happens to a group whose leading public intellectual is Newt Gingrich, a man so convinced of his own brilliance he has no need to actually know anything.

If you watched the above video, you’ll see there’s something entirely different to it. With this ingenious little application created with Max/MSP (and a Mac), you can send a message that is simply sound, without sending actual audio. Think of it as a sound encoder and decoder – one makes a sound, parses it into code the application can read, and sends it out the world via Twitter. Others take that twitter message and put it into their version of the application, then reproduce the sound. It’s really music notation, applied to an entirely different medium. Fascinating! If you follow me on Twitter, or will, look for my sounds, especially if I can get some birdsong I’ve recorded into it.


I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.