It’s the music of the spheres. Or at least, the music of the various, floating geometric shapes, bouncing around a virtual galaxy with gravity simulation. Kepler’s Orrery is a (newly) open-sourced generative music maker, based on a gravity simulation algorithm. As bodies collide, they make sound; it’s a bit like what would happen if you crossed a music box with a snow globe. Different worlds represent different songs. You can reach in and grab some of the objects, so it’s possible to “perform” with the project.
The application runs directly in a web browser (assuming your Java is up to date), and since it’s open source, digging around in the code could inspire your own Java-based musical environment.
Kepler’s Orrery Project Page, with notes, source code, and a live applet
Creator Simran Gleason Talks About the Project on java.net in a podcast (MP3)
And yes, there are some similarities here to the generative music of Brian Eno (soon to be heard in the upcoming Will Wright game Spore) and sound artist/composer Toshio Iwai’s ElectroPlankton game. Perhaps we have a whole genre of musical creation in the works here.
- Flash-Powered, Animated Musical Painting: Visual Acoustics
- NuSofting’s Collide and Play plug-in uses a similar, physics-inspired interface
- Videos and more featuring Nintendo ElectroPlankton and Tenori-On creator Toshio Iwai
- Why ElectroPlankton is wonderful — but falls short of being the music tool it could have been
- Brian Eno, with Will Wright on Spore and Generative Systems, Sound, and Paintings