i2sm – Create Music From Photos, Paintings, Etc…




As I’ve mentioned the i2sm programme a few times – mainly in conjunction with Spirit Of Place recordings, see the Frankenstein Sound Lab category – it  occurs to me that some of you might like to know more about it.

Basically, what it does is take an image and turns the colours therein into sound. If you’re a musician, especially if you have an interest in randomly generated music, you’ll probably already see the possibilities. Even if you’re not, there’s plenty of scope for fun.

It uses MIDI to produce the sounds, and files can be saved. There are various settings that can be played around with , and there is a user’s manual on their website. Some MIDI voices are more realistic than others, of course, but finding something that works is all part of the fun for me.

Of course, the very randomness that I find appealing also means that you are just as likely to get your fair share of discordant  hoots and sqwarks, but you can always edit these out if they offend –  I use Audacity. And if you make your own samples, the potential is immense.

Here’s the official description from the i2sm website:

There are millions of possible colors on most computers. The main thing i2sm does is translate those millions of colors into 128 possible notes. While this seems like an awful lot of data is sort of blurred, i2sm is capable of making some interesting songs.

Images on computer screens are composed of dots of light called pixels. When i2sm begins analyzing an image, it starts at the coordinates specified in the StartX and StartY boxes. From that point it spirals out in a clockwise spiral analyzing pixels as it goes. It analyzes the hue (color), the saturation (intensity) and the brightness of each pixel then i2sm translates that information into a note and adds it to the song file. Once its done the analysis phase it saves a temporary copy of the song file then loads Windows Media Player to play back the song. Simple eh?

Bad news [for some…] – it’s only available for Windows
Good news [for Windows users…] – it’s free !


As previouly noted, I’m currently using the programme to create the Spirit Of Place project, but  have also used it to produce a number of other pieces. Here’s a couple of examples-




Mr. Frankenstein


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