Codebreaker

Cats, Schoenberg, Piano and Cancantanation…

author198 Jul 28, 2009

got this off of kottke.org.. A guy named Cory Arcangel took 170 YouTube videos of cats playing piano, and built them into a version of a Schoenberg 100-year-old atonal composition. Could sound pretty eggheady, sure, but it’s kind of delightful to watch, and it uses this cool program called Comparisonic..

here’s what cory says:

Technical Info

So, I probably made this video the most backwards and bone headed way possible, but I am a hacker in the traditional definition of someone who glues together ugly code and not a programmer. For this project I used some programs to help me save time in finding the right cats. Anyway, first I downloaded every video of a cat playing piano I could find on Youtube. I ended up with about 170 videos. Then I extracted the audio from each, pasted these files end to end, and then pasted this huge file onto the end of an audio file of Glenn Gould playing op11. I loaded this file into Comparisonics. Comparisonics, a strange free program I found while surfing one night, allows users to highlight a section of audio, and responds by finding “similar” sounding areas in rest of the audio file. Using Comparisioncs I went through every “note” (sometimes I also did clusters of notes) in the Gould, then selected my favorite “similar” section Comparisonics suggested and wrote it in the score. After going though the 1000’s of “notes”, the completed scores were turned into a video by some perl scripts I wrote which are available here if you wanna do something similar.

For those out there in Internet land wondering how close cats could actually come to Gould playing Schoenberg, in the below mp3, I have placed my cats in the left channel and Gould in the right channel. Listen with headphones. It’s not so far off I think.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Raise a glass to Marketplace!

Just $7/month gets you a limited edition KaiPA pint glass. Plus bragging rights that you support independent journalism.
Donate today to get yours!