The Snail

I’m looking forward to seeing more of IRCAM’s Snail app, as seen in this Instagram post:

Ircam lab the snail absolute tuning software crazy! Track by evil needle – for you

A video posted by Richard Devine (@richarddevine) on

In 2013, I wrote:

This chapter has shown that the general concept of what I call a spiroid-frequency-space is a long established form of visual representation; in addition to the Drobisch type of helix described and extended by Shepard (see §2.2.2), the pitch and frequency-domain aspects of sound are often represented two-dimensionally with a spiralling form.

There are many routes by which one may arrive at a concept the same as, or very similar to the spiroid. For me it was discovered after a compositional process involving hand drawn representations of pitch-classes, followed by scales of notes, and then continua, and since I began development of the spiroid (c. 2005), it has been a matter of some perplexity that this archetypical visual representation is not commonly found in computer music software. During the period of this project, however, there have been new software releases found to have spiroid-like interface elements, and I hope to see many more in the future.

The most recently found example of new software that would appear to be using a spiroid-based mapping was presented at the ‘IRCAM Forum Workshop 2013’ (November 22); it has not yet been released, but is described in abstract for that event (Picasso & Hélie, 2013):

Presentation of SNAIL iOS App

The SnailAnalyser is a frequency domain sound analyser with an original chromatically aligned representation. Compared to standard analysers, this representation allows simple visualization of active zones in a sound (similar to a spectrum) and organises frequencies per notes on a tempered scale like a tuner.

At the time of writing, further details of this project were scarce; the authors, however, have kindly directed me to one document that is public, and which gives ‘the basic idea and a basic result with a picture’ (Figure 4.26).


With software products such SPIRAL by Photosounder, and the SnailAnalyser becoming available, there is likely to be an increase of interest in the subject of spiroid-like representations. It remains to be seen whether or not the term spiroid will catch on in relation to the concept; I have registered the web domain towards collating information on spiroid related things, both historical and contemporary.

I suppose it’s time to get that spiroid info site up and running…

Also see this YouTube playlist

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Return of the Pact

September is here – it’s the traditional month for CreativePact – and in the two weeks or so since I last posted there have been about 250 videos uploaded to vimeo that are returned by a search for ‘improvised’, sorted by date.

On the CreativePact side of things, it’s clear that I’m just not focussed enough to keep up a daily routine; I did it in 2010 – see – and maybe next year I’ll choose a more proper project with less ambiguity and more creative incentive. This year’s CreativePact project by Adam Jansch has been a joy to drop in on as a reader/listener from time to time; this one in particular:

Adam has also been the driving force behind the continuation of CreativePact for the past four years.

a muffin
a google image search for “return of the pact” returns many pictures, including this one of a muffin.

I recently posted on this blog (but not as part of CreativePact) link to a video excerpt from a lecture by Kim Cascone, and that took me to thinking about what is the message of the medium of vimeo? . . . as with so many things, one is able to connect with, and through it in multiple ways . . .

But what of those 250 search results? I skipped ahead and found the last video I recognised at the top of page 26; there are ten video links per page, which is where the number 250 came from… I am today scanning through each page, and watching some of the videos… it is still a mystery to me just what criteria for selection are being acted upon, but the process is both intellectually stimulating and (in its own way) rewarding: I am becoming more conscious of the analytical frameworks by which I attempt to objectify the subjectivity of experience . . . but there are far more interesting things to talk about to…

dot dot dot the trouble now is that I am, perhaps, over stimulated: so many parallel ideas germinating; a blathering stream of consciousness being written – post ends.

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This is Not a Remix

After noticing that Kirby Ferguson has released the first part of his long-in-the-making new documentary series This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, I noticed that the series (which included some work-in-progress updates that were published over the last six months) is available through the on demand area of vimeo. The price is $12 for the whole series.

Ferguson is known to me because of the Everything is a Remix series which began in September 2010. The quality of that work is very high, from multiple points of view; not only are the videos well produced, there is also a wealth of supporting documentation with sources being cited for the information used. In February this year I compiled a list of links to that information:

Everything is a Remix is licensed with a creative commons license, but it is not at all clear what license is used for the current This is not a Conspiracy Theory series.

I do not object to paying to view work, but I am uncomfortable with the apparent lack of detailed information about what it is that I would be paying for… In particular, would I be permitted by the licensing of this series to screen the videos to a group of people in an educational context? – I have no idea if I’d want to do that or not, because I have not yet seen the new videos…

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Getting there

With such a backlog of things that one could blog about, one may feel overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, and thus end up not posting anything.  Having updated aspects of my internet self in the past 24 hours, I thought it time to post something, so that’s what this is.

Because it’s blog post about posting blog posts I’m creating the ‘meta’ category for it, but I’ll also file it under ‘null’ which is the only other category in place so far.†

I’m close to completing the ‘minor corrections/amendments’ to my PhD.  Alongside the process of correcting typos, adding a few citations, and so on, I have also been porting most of my PhD work to a static HTML site: – I’m getting there now with all that, and looking forward to actually finishing it.  The degree was award six weeks ago, which is when all the congratulations come, but I don’t expect to feel that it’s over until I’ve got the hat on.

I hope the University’s Chancellor will be there to preside at my graduation (whenever that may be)…

† (having written more, I suppose there are more categories that can be created at this point too)

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Hello world!

Welcome to yet another WordPress site. This one is for me (sdf/Sam/Samuel Freeman) to represent various involvements that I have and have had.  From my academic work and publications, to commissioned collaborations and recreational musicking.

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