Research->Media Art->Original Art Work->MusicPlant
Provides information about Media Art work.
Old version of MusicPlant is here.
About MusicPlant




The Musical Plant is a virtual life that resides in a PC and accepts signals from a MIDI control devices such as a keyboard. This is a mysterious device that when you play any song on the electronic piano, a different song is generated and played back based on that song. When you start playing, a virtual plant displayed on the monitor will start to grow.

The shape of the plant is not fixed, but reflects what you played at the time. A certain rule is assigned between the notes on the scale and the direction in which the branches grow. When the player hits one key on an electronic piano, a branch is added to the plant. Furthermore, if you hit two keys at the same time, two branches will grow at the same time. The plant grows as it receives MIDI signals, and it takes a shape that is determined by the characteristics of the input. The shape thus becomes a reflection of the MIDI input. Some MIDI songs will generate complex shapes while others will generate relatively simple shapes according to the musical form of the MIDI song.
Before the player begins to input a MIDI signal, the primitive plant with a stem is at the center of the PC display. As signals are input, branches are added to the plant. Each MIDI note generates a branch of the plant. The angle of each branch is determined by the musical context of the note. Plant characteristics such as branch angle and length are changed with respect to MIDI parameters such as note number and note intervals.
After a while after the performance stops (input of the MIDI signal stops), the plants will be redrawn and the playback of song will begin. Each branches being redrawn creates a series of sounds.There are two redrawing configurations : one that draws from the outer branches (horizontal reversing) and one that draws from the inner branches (vertical reversing.When a branch is drawn, the sound assigned to the branch is played, but this sound is not the same as the sound when the branch was generated. It is converted according to certain rules.The sound intervals are derived from the notes that made the branch.
In a pattern where branches are drawn from the outside, the same sound as when the branch was generated is played, so the music played during the drawing process is a reverse playback of the original music. In the pattern where branches are drawn from the base of the plant, the time flow is the same, but the sound produced when redrawing is the original pitch reversed. For example, if the pitch of a major chord is flipped, it becomes a minor chord. This is because a chord made by stacking a minor third and a major third is converted into a chord made by stacking a major third and a minor third. As for the entire song, songs in a major key are converted into songs in a minor key, and songs in a minor key are converted into songs in a major key, so bright music is played back as gloomy music, and gloomy music becomes bright music.
Horizontal reversing, in this sense, means that the order of redrawing - proceeds from the first (innermost) branch to the last (outermost) branch. Further, the sound of a redrawing branch has the same interval as the note that formed the branch. Therefore, the collection of these sounds essentially reverses the original sounds.
Vertical reversing means that redrawing proceeds in the same order as in creation, but the sound of each redrawing branch reverses the interval of the original note. That is, when the interval is reversed, higher notes become lower notes. Also, when reversing is applied, minor chords become major chords since the relation of notes is reversed.
The musical plant analogy provides a way to visualize the composition and decomposition processes. For example similar MIDI songs will tend to generate similar plant shapes. The music plant analogy also aids in determining the essential elements of a "good tune". Many well-known songs also sound good when played in reverse order. In either configuration, the more musical the original performance, the more musical the music returned when redrawing. If you play randomly, the music returned when redrawing will also sound random.

(1) Visualize Sound structure.
(2) Illustrates the fact that reverse music still holds some texture of original tune.

Watch the Video Real Video In the first half of the video, you can not see the screen clearly, but in the later half of the video, the screen will be closed up.
2023 version    
Old version  
Exhibition Log
2023/09/16 - 17 NT Toyama
2013/01/19 〔FINNEGANS WAKE〕1+1 Tatami Exhibiton
2013/01/13 〔FINNEGANS WAKE〕1+1 Tatami Exhibition
2012/02/17 Katakamuna (Live Paintint)

2002/08/17 -

SUAC Media Art Festival

2002/07/13 - 2002/09/10

Kobe Fashion Museum "Record of Astroboy"
(Combination of NeuroCube)
2000/02/05 - 2000/02/26 Kobe Moto Machi Art Space Forecast
2000/02/12 - 2000/02/20 Osaka Douton Bori SUMISO