Bitsphere's Weblog

… a bitart weblog


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How to embed sound in noise

Our normal sound environment is an ongoing noise from big bang to paradise. Adding music or sound to this world can only change a small bit of this sounds surrounding us. One of the challenge to put music into the world is the shift from every day sounds to another tune. In a classical context this could be a rather standardized procedure like: you go into the opera house, keep quiet, nod to one or the other person, maybe say hello, take your seat, and so on.

In our daily sound environment exists many variations to begin a sound and let the audience out again and there are different approaches to deal with different situations. Four of them you’ll find in the following list. The list is far from finished but it might be a good starting point to get into the habit of distinguishing everyday sounds and interventions:

  1. to insert a sound like this into the noise                 --- < sound > ---
  2. to sum up the noise and tranquillize the sonic environment === sound > ----
  3. to mix up a clear aural situation to bring live into       --- < sound ===
  4. to add a completely different sound                        --- sound ::: sound ---

This thoughts seems not very clear but if someone is interested in this kind of theory, please drop a line in the comment box and we might go on there!

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Guerrilla Web Sounds – Part III

Towards the end of last year Bitsphere published two posts about Guerrilla Web Sounds: part I which is about the concept and part II about the implementation on bitsphere.ch. This post is the third part of this series.

To give other people the possibility to enhance their website with tunes Bitsphere has uploaded six sounds to http://soundcloud.com/bitsphere-sounds. The set consists of sounds from the office environment so it perfect fits the purpose to come merely unrecognized by people apart from those calling your web site. The names of the sounds almost speak for themself:

  • Dropping key – recorded from an old keyboard key dropping on a table
  • Keyboard scratching desk – the sound of a keyboard scratching on a desk when moved like unintended
  • Key pressed – a record of pressing a key on a keyboard
  • Mouse click – the sound of pressing a mouse button
  • Opening pen – the recording of the sound of someone opening a pen
  • Sheets rustling – sheets rustling on desk

Unfortunately wordpress.com does not allow to publish javascript excerpts. So Bitsphere uploaded a sample javascript which enables a HTML4 site to play sound. You find the required files on https://sourceforge.net/projects/guerillawebsnds/files.

The lines relevant to play sound in the html file are  the span-tag which acts as a container for the sound file which is empty in the beginning and the onMouseOver – trigger assigned to a link, but you may use any tag you like. It makes the html call the playSound.js when the mouse passes the element.

The playSound.js script fills the empty span in the .html with the sound file and play this according to the settings. In the example over at sourceforge there is a mp3 in use but if you prefer you could use any other web compliant format.

So with this code you are able to to play the sounds at soundcloud mentioned above or even your own files.

If you have questions about the code, remarks on the sound files or ideas about bringing sound to the web just use the comment section!


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Guerrilla Web Sounds – Part II

This summer Bitsphere wrote about the Guerrilla Web Sounds project. You find the first post here: Guerrilla Web Sounds. This still seems to be an idea worth following.

Last week the Bitsphere website was updated with a guerrilla sound. A low pink noise sound is played when a visitor hovers over a link in the left navigation bar. Checked it out and tell about your experience in the comment section!

Technically the sound is played by a javascript which is activated with the "onmouseover" property of the a-tag. The script sets a timeout after playing the song once. So there is a break in between two calls of the function to prevent browsers to get confused. If you have questions about the implementation or how to implement yourself feel free to ask!


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Guerrilla Web Sounds

Most of the websites are silent. This means that there is no sound. There is no technical obstacle which hinders people to add sound or even music to their websites and there are enough sound designers out there who would be glad to do some work for websites.

The reason web designers do not use sounds is that users often get disturbed by the sounds. Everyone who worked in a strict office knows that people do not only hide their surfing abroad work tasks from their boss but also from their co-workers (they could tell the bosses). At some offices but mainly at home people tend to listen to music while using their computer. In both cases users of a website do not need an acoustic signal. And yes, it also decreases download speed of the site.

The solution to this problem might be “guerrilla sounds”: Very short and vague sounds that might as well come from another source. They would be small enough to download quickly and not annoy but amaze people visiting your site.

So, what do you think about the idea? Please respond in the comment section or post links to any “Guerrilla Sound Page” found out there! Thank you.