The Sound Of Fractals

This video, via developer Alexander Zolotov, demonstrates using Virtual ANS to convert fractal images into synthesized sound. 

Virtual ANS is a software simulator of the unique Russian synthesizer ANS. The original ANS is a photoelectronic microtonal/spectral musical instrument created by Russian engineer Evgeny Murzin from 1938 to 1958.

Virtual ANS is a cross-platform app, available for iOS, Android, Windows, Linux and OSX. See the ANS site for details.

14 thoughts on “The Sound Of Fractals

  1. If my alarm clock made that sound, my wife would murder me and smash whatever device was making that sound… in that order.

    Worth it? Hmmm.

    But seriously, Virtual ANS is fascinating. Zolotov is a badass.

  2. I would be more curious about fractals generating sounds on the fly with math than scanning fractal images with a playhead like this.

    1. Exactly- it’s not much different than the sound of a picture of kittens.
      There have been efforts at algorithmic composition using fractal formulas though.

  3. I had the same thoughts until I heard the third one, then I was like oooh, sounds like a psychedelic forest, inspired me to have a play later.

    1. 8 sounds lush too. i like the sound or rhythm of the very zoomed out fractals shown, but when it gets too dense it’s not as interesting kinda like synthetic non-random noise. 🙂 a lot of times i like to use virtual ans at low sampling rates because it helps smear the highs and makes it sound more organic.

      anyway, it’s a great program at a great price and this is just some fun showing some pretty pictures. it’s up to you to do interesting stuff with it.

  4. I hear this and am technically interested, but musically, not so much. Could be a lot of fun to try running the output of something like this into a gizmo that would lock to pitches in a specified range though. Our maybe use this as modulation output rather than audio. Maybe in an FM context as the modulator?

  5. I imagine most digital emulations of the ANS use an inverse Fourier transform, this is what I used when I was experimenting with chaotic functions and spectra generation:

    What is interesting about this is IFFT+Fractal video is you actually see the fractal expanding as the sound plays.

  6. One thing I should point out with Coagula Light, and this ANS I would imagine, is that it was designed to be fed pictures of sine waves, simple, regular, complex, or hand-drawn. Coagula is an additive synth and it uses sine waves, big surprise. To feed it anything else of course produces interesting chaos but chaos nonetheless. Putting a Mandelbrot Set into ANS is not going to produce The Revealing Science of God (nudge-nudge, wink wink.)

  7. Needs a playhead that is a point(s) not a vertical line, so it can follow the the fractal shape(s). The outcome of a fractal comp could be ‘melodies within melodies’

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