Earth Notes: Water Music: In The House

Updated 2024-04-07 09:29 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
Sonification: nearly 15 years of data as a house track #podcast #audification #house
water sounds Audacity screenshot
No voiceover, just a mini "house" track built with data from to inclusive.
53s "20230410 water music" (captions) Uploaded . Downloads:
[16WW mains water monthly temperatures, house percussion, "Japanese String Movement" data melody, yearly temperature cycle with one year per 4/4 bar clearly audible]

Show Notes

2023-04-09: Site Technicals: House gives some of the background.

I took an extra reading for April at 3am (BST) to extend the data set, padded it to exactly 192 lines which is 16 years and thus 16 bars (12 notes per 4/4 bar), in house verse style.

I modified the script to add four bars of percussion intro and outro:

% sh script/mkaudio/house/ -intro 4 -perc house img/audio/mkaudio/20230410/16WW-mains-water-inlet-temperature-month-cadence-padded-to-16Y.csv

(2023-05-28: I have copied the original to to preserve it, and allow correction of the original's MIDI output which was not fully legal, and to start to take on board suggestions for improvement!)

I loaded the MIDI into GarageBand, changed the flute solo track voice/instrument to "Japanese String Movement", the SoCal percussion track voice/instrument to "Four on the Floor", and panned each a little away from centre.

I had GarageBand save the result losslessly as 16-bit WAV, I converted the WAV to FLAC, loaded it into Audacity, normalised to -23 LUFS (as for all podcast episodes now), and padded the start with the same amount of silence as at the end.

I then saved the modified FLAC from Audacity, and also exported normal and low-fi MP3 versions as usual.

Along the way I captured the 3624-byte generated MIDI and the GarageBand project directory. (About 1000th the size of the (losslessly compressed) FLAC!)


I installed on my Mac and tried TiMidity++ with all defaults (output to FLAC, using Audacity to convert to MP3), and the percussion is weird:

50s "20230412 timidity defaults" Uploaded . Downloads:
% timidity img/audio/mkaudio/20230410/run.20230410T0207Z.mid -OF -o out.flac

2023-05-28: Comment via SoundCloud

A suggestion to improve on this track (via PM, so I'll preserve anonymity):

Very nice! For the house track, you have a fair bit of room for mixing this. The Snare/Clap on 2 and 4 is not currently coming through and there is usually a fairly audible hihat on the off beats as well.

I have created V2.1 of the script with some fixes for better MIDI output (and which now uses V0.1 of my awk percussion script, and has some better level balance so louder percussion relative to data melody), given it a CSV file padded to 192 lines (16 years), and captured the MIDI output.

(This data set has one extra data point, from May!)

I have created (below) an MP3 version with the main voice changed to "Japanese String Movement" and the percussion to "Four on the Floor", as well as loading a lossless version onto SoundCloud. (Conversion to MP3 has been done by Audacity.)

sh script/mkaudio/house/ -perc house img/audio/mkaudio/20230528/16WW-mains-water-inlet-temperature-month-cadence-padded-to-16Y.csv > img/audio/mkaudio/20230528/
34s "20230528 water music Japanese String Movement" Uploaded . Downloads:

Here is a version with "Dripping Cycles" in place of "Japanese String Movement".

35s "20230528 water music Dripping Cycles" Uploaded . Downloads:
~514 words.