Whitney Music Box

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The Whitney Music Box (2006) is one of my more successful (on my terms) computer music pieces. It current lives on its own website at whitneymusicbox.org.


I'm happy with this piece because it makes something that would probably be unlistenable or unpleasant, if it were heard by itself, and reveals it's underlying structure and simplicity.

More background information about this piece can be found in my 2006 blog post about it.

Here I am in 2007, demoing the Whitney Music Box at the GEL conference in New York. Note: Part 1 of this video can be found on the Kaleidoscopes page.

A common misconception I have been noticing on the Interwebs is that the "Whitney Music Box" was made by John Whitney (an understandable error, given the name).

This is not true. John Whitney did not come up with the "Whitney Music Box". I did.

I named it after John Whitney because he wrote about the animation technique of incremental drift and describes the specific *visual* pattern I am using. The visual cycle I am using is straight out of Whitney's "Digital Harmony" book, however the idea of using it as a music box -- having the notes cross a line and trigger notes -- was mine. I suspect Whitney Sr. would have found the music I'm producing with it far too "literal". In his own animations, he more often tended to use music that wasn't quite so tightly coupled with the visuals.