Move over Bernard Herrmann!

One of the sections in Brendan Dawes’ book is about generating images from music.

Whilst messing about with the “North by Northwest” images (see previous blog post), I began to wonder if you could create music from images?

Anyway, here’s the first 90 seconds of my replacement soundtrack for “North by Northwest” 🙂

It was created by grabbing a frame from the movie every half a second and working out the average colour of the frame. That colour is then split into its red, green and blue (RGB) components, and their values are used to generate a guitar tablature file which is pumped into the MIDI::Tab Perl module. The first chunk of the tab looks like this…

    D6: --1-5---3-4-4-4-4---4-4---3-4---3-3-3-
    A3: 0---1-2-3-4-4-----4-----4-----4-----4-
    E2: 0-----0-1---1-----1-----1-----1-----1-

Going for a 3/4 timing seemed to give the most pleasing output. That seemed appropriate, as Hitchcock often used waltzes in his films 🙂

I wasn’t too sure just how it would sound, but it’s actually not too bad!

  1. The author Jeff VanderMeer published a story in his first book (CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN) that was written in code. The code was comprised of page#-paragraph#-line#-word# within the book itself. So you would flip back and forth through the book to decipher this story.

    Then, a young musician, Robert Devereux, took it upon himself to translate these codes into music.

    You can read more about it here:

    The track in question is “The Cage” but the rest of the disc was written to coincide with the book.

  2. That’s quite fantastic. It seems to actually convey the roller coaster nature of the film!

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