Thursday, 15 January 2009

Chromaesthetic DJ software?

I stumbled upon this fascinating paper while rambling around Google for an image of the circle of fifths. For a couple of years now I have been suggesting to Native Instruments DJ division that they build upon the tools in Traktor to enhance live harmonic mixing. So far, I haven't had much success but I think this may be down to me not explaining myself very well and not campaigning hard enough. This paper has helped me to crystalise my ideas for a tool that can link tonality with colour within Traktor (or any software DJ application). Extract from paper: This correlation is mirrored by the testimony of chromaesthetics, those afflicted by a common form of synaesthesia in which neural pathways are crossed and auditory stimulus also evokes a visual response – flickering colored hallucinations dubbed “photisms.” Although the color of any particular note varies between chromaesthetics, these phenomena do have universal qualities, or form constants, which include inverse relationships of pitch and tempo to photism size and smoothness (respectively). It has also been observed that the paintings of these hallucinations closely resemble early cave paintings, which lends some credence to the hypothesis that spoken language and art developed from similarly intertwined synapses in the brains of early humans. Specifically, the software could represent a tracks tonality through use of colour - say on the waveform display itself. As the DJ alters the pitch, the colour changes accordingly. Using a system similar to the colour charts in Michael's paper (pictured below) the DJ could quickly learn which colours go with which (and hence which keys go with which) because they go together visually as well as audibly. The tracks listed in the track collection display below the waveform could be in the colour of their natural key or the colour of their projected key after an arbitrary pitch shift (similar to the system found in the excellent Rapid Evolution 2 by Qualia)