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The intertwining of a human’s senses is a beautiful art. Film, cinema, and theater mix sight and sound in ways that affect how we feel emotionally in a significant way. The music we hear during a scene drastically affects the way we feel about the scene, changing the same scene from tragedy to comedy depending on the difference in sound. This connection between sight and sound was shown beautifully in the TV show Futurama. In the show, there is an instrument known as the Holophoner. As the instrument is played, the musician’s thoughts are displayed via a hologram from the instrument, creating different scenes. In the episode “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings,” Fry (the main character) creates an opera using the instrument, with the scenes being portrayed through his playing of the Holophoner.

This project aims to create an instrument similar to the Holophoner, named the Soundweaver. When music is played through a microphone, real-time color imagery will be produced onto a VGA screen based on the frequencies heard by the microphone. Essentially, the goal was to display abstract visuals that changed based on the music played.

There are two main parts to the design: the music analysis and the animation. The music analysis was done using a Fast Fourier Transform frequency analysis to calculate the frequencies and amplitudes of the sounds heard through the microphone. Then the frequencies were compared to the previous frequencies to determine the current mood of the music, and then change the colors on the screen. The animation was completed using an algorithm imitating a starling murmuration designed in Lab 2. Each boid had a state that involved its current position, velocity, and color. The VGA display was then broken up into a grid of tiles, and the color of each tile depends on the colors of the boids inside the tile.

High Level Design
Western music has two main types of keys: major and minor. In its most common form, pieces in a major key are typically brighter in sound. People tend to feel more excitement and happiness when these pieces are played. With pieces in minor keys, people tend to feel more calm or melancholic. The goal of this project was to reflect these emotions using colors on the VGA screen. People tend to feel happiness with green, sadness with blue, and anger with red. Therefore, the goal was to match the emotions of the sound with the color. There were two main parts of this design: the music analysis, which differentiated the keys from each other to find the mood (emotion) of the music, and the animation, which displayed the colors onto the VGA screen using a boid algorithm imitating starling murmurations. Figure 3 shows an HSV 360 degree color wheel. In our program, we use the degree value (starting with 0 degrees pointing straight up in the red section and increasing counter-clockwise) to represent colors. When the program averages or changes colors, it is using the degree value on this color wheel. This wide range of colors is made possible using Bruce Land’s 8-bit color VGA driver, which allows for more color values at the expense of screen resolution.”

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