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

You probably think of social networking and messaging as being about text, about saying things like “Wow, this tuna salad sandwich I’m having for lunch is delicious!” But the next Tweet you get on Twitter could be a synthesis preset.

Say what?

Working in Max/MSP, Andrew Spitz has developed a tool called Tweet a Sound. It uses Twitter as a communications platform for “social sound design.” Instead of just saying, “Wow, I be makin’ phat basslines,” you can actually share the sound. Whip up a sound using typical FM synth parameters and Max/MSP’s sound engine, then click “send.” You’ll send a string of numbers to your Twitter account, confusing those friends not in the know. But other users will be able to grab and play with your sound.

Andrew even encourages synthesis n00bs to play without fear – grab those envelopes and mysterious-looking settings and see what comes out. So, I hope you synth geeks do share this with some friends new to synthesis, as I think they’ll have a great time.

Right now, Tweet a Sound is Mac-only; we just need someone to save a Windows standalone version. Someone has asked about a Pd port, but let’s put it this way: this is the tip of a very, very big iceberg of sharing. It’s something worth considering in anything you’re doing, not just with Twitter, but whether you can provide networked capabilities in whatever you’re happening to build.

Ableton, of course, recently added the Share functionality to Live. But with open APIs and basic networking protocols, there’s no reason you can’t explore other features. Why not build a drum machine that lets you collaborate with one of your friends on your IM list, or a sequencer that automatically posts ideas as you revise them? Just doing these things for the sake of it could be a waste of time, but on the other hand, these social features could turn Web 2.0 sites into places that actually inspire you to make and share music rather than distract you with mundane activities.

I love the idea; let us know if you have some fun with it.

Tweet A Sound { sound + software } [Andrew Spitz Blog]

  • I think this is a great great idea.

    Thx to the Twitter API.

    A problem with open API's ..they seemed not to be save to use. Look at the Spam bot problem twitter had/has in the last days

  • Armando

    I love the social sound idea. Francis made some great posts about basic synthesis on beatportal:

    really cool idea, now this is what I call a social network.

  • That’s not a function of having an open API; that’s simply the danger of any open communication system. You can have *no* API and have the same problem. (Think email, for instance or just about any forum software.)

    In fact, if anything, better API access makes it easier to build anti-spam tools.

  • They could squeeze quite a bit more data into that string by "compressing" it into something using the full character set, as opposed to a straight list of human-readable numbers with spaces in between… maybe something to shoot for on the next version?

  • The program is pretty cool, but it is really limited right now. Easy to crank out some noise, just not sure of the long-term utility. Maybe future midi additions? Made a few 4/20 related #tas tweets @patospurlock

  • Stephen

    Do the same thing with #supercollider:

    140 character synth haikus.

  • drohnwerks

    #tas 0 10 4796 61 7010 40 8507 25 9720 12 9999 0 0 0 2258 80 7999 69 9999 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 587 2 2 21 59900 1 652 70 80 1059 844 34 81 11 2

  • Damon

    BRILLIANT! Great way to move your own sound into the mix. This idea prospers the generous.

  • #tas 0 0 1252 76 2825 29 4066 99 5499 48 5999 0 0 0 3621 23 4910 99 5999 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 69 2 2 336 36000 6 0 88 86 750 1000 92 90 1 1

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  • Nice work SoundPlusDesign. What about generating a second tweet that provides a link to an mp3 render of the sound so that those without the client app can hear the tweet…

  • I just downloaded this and it would let me paste things into the "hear" section. And when I copied it in manually, it wouldn't play. I can make sounds with it, but I have plenty of other synths to do that with…

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