My first idea for a noise machine would involve “mashing” together many recordings of different pieces by the same composer. It would be interactive in that any person could change which composer mash they would be listening to. The program would involve very quickly moving between different random sections of the different random pieces for randomized lengths of time (all of which are less than a second), and overlapping them in many layers as well. My question is: can you differentiate two composers, say Mozart and Beethoven, from these noise cluster amalgams? Probably not…but it may be worth a try! Who knows, maybe it might even be interesting to listen to. Ideally I see this as an installation piece.
My second idea is a program to “draw” music a la Xenakis’s UPIC machine. Other programs I’ve seen such as HighC are very limited and don’t allow you to draw by hand. This would require a much higher degree of programming than my former idea but I think it may be worth it in the end. Ultimately, it’s important to me that the machine be able to play back micro-tones, glissandos, and multi-layered polyphony. I also see this as an installation piece but definitely an instrument that can be performed in concert as well.
My final thought for a noise machine is a massive complex contraption in the same vein as any of Mark Applebaum’s creations like the Mouseketeer. This is my only idea that does not involve electronics, or at least I don’t think it needs to. I would like to build something complex and unique that I could actually write a piece for and perform it myself, or just improvise. This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile so I’ve been collecting items around the house that could be added to this contraption. The most unique item I’ve grabbed so far is the bottom half of a sink that we were throwing out that’s shaped somewhat like a half tube. It has a fantastic sound and resonance when struck. Anyways, I would like the contraption to have many different things to strike and many different ways to strike and interact with it; for example, a pet bowl filled part way with water can be struck but then a string on one side can be pulled to dramatically alter the pitch.