Monotype MIDI

A custom software application transcodes the language of mechanical typesetting into musical space. Letters and words become notes – and spaces rests – which generate pitches and durations of notes used to trigger external synthesisers. Texts with varying typeset details express their inner musicality – body copy rhythm, poetic meter and structure.

The result is a semi-random data stream of sequenced MIDI events which can be synched to a tempo allowing musical implementation, augmentation and improvisation by a performer.

The software was written using Processing and uses the MIDIbus library for communication with external synthesisers. It also uses the XYscope library for the drawing of text on the analogue oscilloscope.

This work was produced in collaboration with Edwin Pickstone as part of the Glasgow School of Art Caseroom Research Cluster. It was exhibited in the Visible Word exhibition.