Sonic Internet

There is so much to listen to on the internet and many ways of playing with sound. Turn up the sound or plug in your headphones and allow your ears to guide you.. 

Electronic music has had a fascinating history.  From what many consider the first truly electronic musical instrument, the Telharmonium, to the present day’s highly regarded Moog Matriarch, developments in electronic music have led to smaller, less expensive and more widely used technologies – and greater integration of electronic sounds into music.  Indeed much popular music today uses electronic music making technologies and sounds and many people prefer music made with electronic music technologies.

These resources are provided to demonstrate readily available platforms for interactive or directed use of electronic music via a computer’s web browser and internet connection.  These an aggregation of browser-music-making links that I’ve found useful or interesting.  Some may require a specific type of browser, such as Chrome or Firefox to work properly. Make electronic music with a computer and an internet connection.

Browser-music-making resources

Chrome Music Player offers several ways of interacting with or learning about music. It’s Shared Piano is one useful example that provides a way for more than one person to join a shared piano room (Chrome browser works best).  Other functionality includes turning on and off note labels and playing via cursor or key strokes (white keys = row of letters starting with “a”; black keys = row of letters starting with “q”).  As with many resources, music therapists are experts in finding ways of adapting approaches to help their service users reach their goals.  That is absolutely possible with these various browser music-making resources. 

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Play drums

Bookaboo Drum set allows user to play with keystrokes or mouse clicks.

Direct an invisible drummer to play in different styles. 

Play Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” as a drum game using keystrokes (Safari browser best).

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Programming – simple to complex

The simplest drum sequencer ever!  Type a word or phrase and hear a rhythm based on the letters and spaces.  This is a fun way to get some music happening when participation is flagging, establish rapport, or connect with relatives who maybe have different musical tastes.

Get started with programming your own drum machine.  Click the sideways triangle to start. 

Get even more complex drum sequences and ways of changing your sounds with Drumbeat or with musica.

Add other instruments and sounds with the Online Sequencer.  And create a synth mix at WebSynths.

For those that want greater functionality, you might consider Scratch.  Developed by non-profit Scratch Foundation, users can create animations, stories, their own cause/effect musical instruments using touch activation or gesture via a webcam.

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Join others in real-time finger jams

Play, or “PLINK” with others on a virtual, multi-player sequencer.

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for more adventurous ears…

Brilliant computer programming is allowing the computer user to create their own music using a variety of new “instruments.”  Click on the highlighted text to try some of these. is a sophisticated whitenoise generator that allows the user to change to the volume level of specific frequency bands–check out the purring kitten sounds!

Draw a little scribble and this program interprets it and loops it.  Try adjusting the waveform and length of loop to vary the sound, and select different pitches on the keyboard icon to create chords or tone clusters.

Watch New York City subway system is turned into a harp.  Practice a quasi-theremin in this Google Doodle. Tour the Abbey Road Recording Studio.

Noise as music? Why yes, absolutely! A definition of music cannot be complete without each listener’s aesthetic judgement. Simply put, one person’s music is another person’s noise. Informed by the emerging mechanized noise sounds around him, Italian futurist Luigi Russolo developed instruments he called Intonarumori, mechanized “noise music” generators. A current artist masterful in this style of work is Peter Valek, who’s captivating YouTube videos range from evoking nature scenes to harsh noise tutorials.

Personally, I’m incredibly fascinated by noise as music. For me it is a different aesthetic experience than listening to the harmonic progressions my brain was formed listening to, and provides opportunities for finding music. Noise makes an appearance in much of the music I’ve been part of but my “metaphone sounding” pieces are probably the most crystallized version. Learn more about the instrument and process on my METAPHONE page, or just open your ears to an excerpt from a 14-member ensemble performance of the piece in 2005.

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Awareness and practice of phonography continues to grow, inspiring, inviting all of us to listen closely to the world around us.  

Quiet American offers one-minute location recordings from around the world.  Get involved with advocacy for our sonic environment with the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.  

Search for “phonography” or any other sound at the Free Sound Project. From the search results page, you can play more than one sound at a time.  Frogs!  Or hang out with the sounds of a coffee shop at Coffitivity.

At Aporee, listeners can select sounds recorded in various locations by clicking locations on a map of the world.  The site also hosts a few mixing tools so you can create a random radio of field recordings, or search by sounds or places.


NASA’s Earth Songs – listen to the Earth’s natural radio emissions via a Very Low Frequency antenna 

Use your mouse or trackpad to turn visual patterns into a soundfield with the Voice Interactive Visual Sound Applet.

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Learning about sound

Decibels?  What are they?

Learn how wind instruments, stringed instruments and drums make sound.

Listening through the Exploratorium.

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Learning about music & instrument resources

Explore Morton Subotnick’s Creating Music – pages and pages of music learning concepts from a pioneering electroacoustic composer.

Method Behind the Music has a great flash keyboard you can use to find reference pitches, practice arpeggios and scales; improvise.

Check your guitar harmony here.  More lessons in guitar harmony at Chordbook.

See chords for ukelele.

What’s this?

Take a ride on the Moody Motorcycle singing face with moveable parts.

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Recommended Radio

One of local audio guru and Jack Straw engineer Doug Haire’s long standing projects, Sonarchy is broadcast on KEXP 90.3 at midnight Sunday nights.  Always a signal path in to Doug’s latest example of fresh sounds of the area.  And always available for streaming or podcast.

Create personalized radio stations and be introduced to music you may like on Pandora.

New application seeking to provide music according to listener’s mood – the Musicovery.  (caution, takes a while to load up and is processor intensive)

KEXP  SeattleKBCS  BellevueKPFA  BerkeleyWFMU  Jersey

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