Pixound is a revolutionary patented technology (Patent No. 5,689,078) enabling the interpretation of graphic data as music and sound. In a nutshell, you can play the infinite nuances of pictures musically with your mouse, or in other ways. It can be used to create both on-line and off-line interactive environments. It can generate new music and sounds in ways that were not possible until pixound.

Music is at the foundation of the pixound experience. The best way to understand this
experience is to have it.

Pixound has many uses and can be easily incorporated into software and hardware applications. Possible uses include:

  • Games
  • Video
  • Toys
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Security
  • Seeing Aids
  • Education
  • Music Therapy
  • Installations
  • Dance
  • Clubs
  • Amusement
  • Internet
  • Live Performance
  • Embedded Devices

Basic "pixology"

Pixound is here to stay. Pixound is a permanent musical manifestation of a fundamental fact in human physiology: our eyes interpret color as the "triadic stimulation" of our rods and cones (sensors) which are sensitive to subtle level changes of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). For example, we see purple because a certain number of Red and Blue sensors in the retina are reacting to the purple light striking it which is also lacking Green, thus the brain creates for us the sensation of vibrant purple. It is no coincidence that computer monitors, including the one you are viewing, use a similar system to "trick" our eyes into perceiving colors by varying the intensity of tiny red, green and blue pixels. It is important to note that pixound takes full advantage of other color models such as HSV and CMYK which can be used in a huge variety of ways to control musical content and the way it is presented to the audience. Pixound will be used by future vituosi to communicate a union of art and music for performances that will far exceed the emotional impact of non light-based music. It can be used today for entertainment and purposes of all sorts as listed above. Technically, pixound is a form of color audification.

Pixel + sound = pixound

To understand how pixound translates color information to music and the myriad possibilities thereof is worthy of an entire book (on the way) and first requires a bit of nomenclature to be introduced:

pl. stylae
The location of a point of color which is being read in, commonly synonomous with a cursor or pointer, but by no means limited to a single pixel. Stylae can have any shape and can be independent of "screen resolution." Stylae can be used in groups which is commonly used for interpreting video and live performance. Each stylus has its own settings. A stylus can be stationary and reading a changing image, manually moved or automatically moved in any number of patterns such as: raster, zig-zag, circular, preset and more. In fact, autoplay patterns can be combined with manual playing such as "orbital" where a circular pattern orbits the pointer.
Also called sampling rate, this determines how often color is being read in. The higher the sensitivity, the more points per second are interpreted. This is related to Tempo but is indeed separate because one can have a high sensitivity with a slow tempo.
This governs how much a color or a color component must change to be considered a new value. The higher the tolerance, the more the music tends to slow down and the more subtle shades of color are ignored.
Similar to musical scale, mode is much more vast in its meaning and encompasses all known scales, chords in all possible tunings from microtonal to pure octaves. Modes can be melodic, linear, ascending, descending and hybrid in nature. Pixound makes use of all modes. Mode is related to mood.
Similar to the traditional meaning of key, this is the pitch at which the current mode is operating. Changing key is the same as transposing. Key can be changed to any pitch in any mode.
As modes and keys change, a progression is formed. Other parameters can be changed too. Progressions can be tied to tempo, manually changed or independently timed or triggered.

When the above elements come to bear on a particular image, the image becomes the pixound score and the instrument is the pixound device or software. The score and the instrument seem to unite. Pixound puts you in an environment where visual art, music and sound seamlessly merge.

As the viewer / performer moves a stylus through a digital image or a digital image moves under a fixed stylus, Pixound translates pixel color information into music or sound, instantly and continuously. It uses the various color methods as well as other graphic information within a picture to create the final output as sound and music.

This unique technology includes a fully integrated development system for encoding, extracting and controlling musical information in digital images of all kinds from still to live, full-screen video.

Good sounds = good pixound

We cannot overemphasize the importance of good sound quality in the enjoyment of pixound. Even the most brilliant song or symphony can be extremely annoying when heard through a tiny speaker with no bass or as "cheezy" midi tones on a computer— a combination of the two being the worst. On the other end, pixound technology was first developed to drive real, music-grade synthesizers and samplers which are not generally as accessible. Once you've played pixound with a real midi setup, you'll get its true potential and have a wonderful experience to boot. In the mean time, make sure you get the most out of your computer sounds by playing through a speaker system that has good bass and check setting for 3-D and reverb on if you have them. If you are a musician and have a reverb unit, hooking it up to your computer will greatly improve the pixound experience. Those with more technical experience can also easily drive midi synthesizers with built-in midi translators that are part of both Apple's QuickTime and Windows' MediaPlayer. All you need is a midi interface which can be purchased at almost any music store or online.

You are now well on your way to becoming a pixologist. Once you have played a few thousand paintings and videos with a full MIDI setup, you will enter the leaugue of the priviledged few who have developed this technology and no doubt you will have many ideas as to how it can be used. Enjoy!


pixound app | home