Jazzperiments Home

This is the project blog of the development of an interactive sound application at Verbeke Foundation in Kemzeke, Belgium.

2011-06-01 • Edition According to nature

As a reference to the installation at Verbeke Foundation an edition was produce consisting of two tuning forks (metal + willow wood) and a printed leaf in a test tube.
According to nature

2010-10-19 • Video

2010-10-18 • Finished installation

According to natureThe installation finaly consists of 3 speakers in the willow trees along the brook, a box with a set of microphones and a webcam on the opposite side of the path and a plastic box (inside the 'serre') with a pc and amplifiers.

The following text is presented near the installation:

Nature is full of sounds with harmonics which also occur in music of African tribes, Balinese gamelan or ... fugues of Bach. Birds and many other animals 'sing' for about the same reasons as human beings. And still we generally don't regard sounds from nature as music.

In this installation sounds from nature cause transpositions of the 'standardized' sound of a tuning fork (A 440 Hz) to a tuning that matches the input. Notes which are 'recognized' in this way, are played back in corresponding chords and in a spectrum of 3 different voices (red,
According to natureyellow and blue). Of course, the input is variable and unpredictable: the sound of the wind in willow trees, of birds, of traffic at a distance, of visitors ... but apparently there is music in almost every sound ... maybe music is more natural than we think.

The microphones used in this project are very sensitive and pick up sounds from a wide range, however the software only processes soft sounds with some kind of 'tonal' quality, filtering out 'white' noise, crackling sounds, shouting etc. More information about this project and options to experiment with the software can be found on

2010-09-18 • Concept en prototype

The building and testing of the prototype was instrumental to develop the concept.
Nature and society at the location produce an immense variety of sounds: whisper of willow leaves, birds singing, traffic in the background, visitors talking etc. The installation adds only a single sound: a sample of the note A (440 Hz) of a tuning fork. However this note is continuously transposed according to the sounds which trigger it, using only intervals of a pentatonic scale. The pure sound of the tuning fork contrasts the 'noise' around us, but also accentuates the musical quality within the natural 'noise'.
The title of the installation will be A 440 according to nature.
A prototype was built and tested on location.

A 440 according to nature A 440 according to nature A 440 according to nature

2010-08-02 • Locations selected

location 51.227908,4.053521 At first a marsh oak near the pond appeared to be the best location, but this spot posed a lot of technical difficulty's. The installation will be made in a row of willows along the brook lead to the pond (51.227908,4.053521).

2010-07-09 • Concept Nature music area

Concept: processing natural music (bird song, whistle of the wind) according to 'classical' polyphonic principles.
Configuration: 2 = pc + internet → wifi router → pc
Components: open black box and 3 (red, yellow, blue) horn speakers
                    1 black box 'absorbing' sound + 3 speakers responding = 4 voices.
Other features: remote maintenance, webcam to make recordings

2010-05-19 • Figuring out the configuration

Verbeke Foundation
pc + internet + Skype Out →
+ maximal flexibility
+ simple installation at remote location
- poor sound quality
- unpredictable delay
pc + internet →

wifi router →
+ limited flexibility
+ complex installation at remote location
- good sound quality
- unpredictable delay
with 2-way sound
pc + internet →
pc → wireless sound system
+ fixed configuration
+ complex installation at hub
- no delay
Input (interaction):
ip-camera? + speaker + microphone
Java web application + computer + screen = anywhere?

2010-05-16 • Contrasting sounds

Satellite view Verbeke Foundation

Nature →

People →

Traffic →

2010-05-13 • Start of project at Verbeke Foundation

Interesting exchange of ideas with Geert, Simon and Ann about sound/music in this unique museum/environment. I am very grateful for the opportunity to explore what is possible in this interesting context.
First impressions: the contrasts inside/outside, nature/culture, silence/noise/music will be essential in a new interactive sound/music application.