2019 April


I recorded a swarm of bees near their beehive. Analyzing the recordings at home I found their sound is centered around 241 Hz. This corresponds with values I found in literature. So this sound is musical in its own way and can be combined with the sounds of waves and the wind, as I expected.


Here you can watch the demo of the waves, the bees and the wind. There is also a pastor in the background, calling for his animals. Detection method is color detection.

I also made a demo to show the possibilies of my software for controlling volume and speed of 4 channels with drums.

This goes ‘beyond El Hierro’ but might be interesting for people who love to use the instrument for making (techno) music. This shows that with gestures you can control Ableton’s effects and plug-ins: in fact it is a sophisticated MIDI controller.


Last week I presented my project to the audience of my Spanish class in Valverde (El Hierro, Canary Islands), in Spanish. I concentrated on reaching a state of ‘clairaudience’, as described by R. Murray Schafer. I challenged the people in the audience to describe the sounds they hear for about 2 minutes in the small town. Then I asked them to make a drawing from this experience. Finally I asked them to describe the sounds they heard at the time they were about 6 years old. In this way they became aware of the concept of ‘soundscape’. The results on paper varied, but for many it was all very new and abstract and at the same time also a revelation. These exercises were followed by a simple technical explanation and some demos. A few enjoyed playing with the instrument.

(Photo by Eva, 2019)


I experimented with and implemented the ‘Midi remote scripts’ in Ableton. These can be made on the Remotify website (you have to create an account).
On this site you can create a controller script and load it in the Preferences of Ableton. The script fixes connections between the controls of Ableton and received midi cc messages. They can easily be applied in other Ableton projects too, so the connections do not have to be made again and again. Examples of connections are:
– pan per channel
– start and stop recording

2019 January

Publication of this website!

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I consider my own software now as “final”. This means that from now on I will concentrate on the sounds and combinations of sounds for the Ableton sampler. This means going on the road again.

When I have interesting results, I will post some video’s or links to video’s here.



  • implementing recording of video in my software, simultaneous with start and stop of audio recording in Ableton Live by sending control changes
  • researching on manipulation of video and audio in (Apple) Final Cut, video has to be adjusted. This is a tedious process.
  • so as a result Final Cut is abandoned. Now I use basic software called ffmpeg, and with some old fashioned Applescript I can synchronize audio and video easy and exactly.
  • implementing some new detection algorithms thanks to the website of Satya Mallick that can trace rectangular parts of an image in the realtime video. So now I can trace my eyes, glasses, hands… Also simultaneously in more than one region on the screen. This is a great step forward because it reduces the amount of noise in the detection, especially in motion detection. Some randomness is nice but under bad lighting conditions it is not desirable.
  • I experiment and study all the possibilities of the Ableton Sampler instrument. It has many nice and useful features that all can be adjusted from my software.
    ableton_sampler_settingAbleton sampler settings…
  • less visible, I clean and comment my own software, so I hope it stays usable in the future.
  • not to forget: building this site. I want to show some video’s and explanations here and there.


  • I’m getting aware of what sounds are appropriate to use. First I thought only small clips were good, but now, after experimenting a lot with all the possibilities, I change(d) my mind and use longer recordings, to about one minute or more. So I discover, what Murray Schafer wrote in his impressive book “The soundscape, the tuning of the world”, that e.g. wind sounds and ocean sounds (the word “sea” is too small here…) are very similar and can be misinterpreted very easily. I think that’s where musicality comes into play. Maybe also sounds from insects (bees) are usable too. To be continued next summer…
  • still reading and analyzing the book of Murray Schafer, it’s very actual these days.
  • more reading: Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia, and in a broader sense Merlin Donald.


  • I made contact with a dutch composer H. who creates musical scores on the basis of natural sounds. He uses, as a first step, the software called Spear to analyze sounds with advanced Fourier analysis. I had a look at that and it might be very useful for isolating soft sounds in the middle of a lot of noise, quite different from what audio filters do.
  • on a warm afternoon in November I meet Pedro Montesinos live at the beach in La Restinga, together with his mic with a large “dead cat” on it. It really is a pleasure to meet him in person. Two years ago we made e-mail contact and Pedro invited me to contribute to his archive of sounds “Paisaje Sonoro El Hierro”.

    Pedro at work…

  • in december Sixto Sánchez Perera presents the second edition of his book about the Mudada on El Hierro in a noisy setting. I only had a b/w copy of the book but now I’m happy with the real book.

    Sixto’s book