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Enigma Issue 10: Circular Harmonics

The Music of the Circles by Paul Vigay

Some of the research I have been working on throughout the winter months has involved investigations into sound and harmonics generated from crop circle images.

I have developed a computer program which will allow me to 'process' any crop circle photograph into 'musical tones' and 'harmonics'. The process is quite simple; I scan a photograph of the required formation into the computer and load into my Thoth computer application.

This application utilises a number of 'musical rules', such as the tonal qualities of harmonics, key pitches, tempo and type of instrument. The computer then reads each 'dot' of the image loaded and analyses the colour and tint of the dot.

From the value of this dot, the computer converts it into a number and feeds it into the musical generator, which in turn plays a note through the computers speakers.

The theory behind this project was that each crop circle photograph acts like a unique 'fingerprint' of the field and crop formation. Each photo has subtle changes of colour and shade, which can be converted to create the various sounds.

Obviously, the key here is to get the highest possible scan, so that the resulting image in the computer is as close to the original as possible, before generating the tones.

Whilst I was developing the program, having had the idea from a similar program I saw a few years ago, I wondered what sort of sounds would emanate from the computers speaker when I started it running.

I was initially expecting a long sequence of seemingly random notes - a bit like a young child banging at a piano keyboard. However, I was very surprised to find that strangely harmonic sounds were being generated.

Whilst not 'classical' music, the tones were very listenable to and resembled some of the new age 'meditational' audio tapes you can buy. This in turn led me (as research invariably does) to another line of possible experimentation - that of playing my 'tape' during a meditation session at a sacred site around the country, to see if any higher communication is initiated.

This scenario sounds like something from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but strikes me as an interesting new line of research. Certainly, the sounds generated by the circles have been met with good compliments from people who have heard it.

Obviously, by reading Enigma, it is difficult to describe an audio sensation, but readers may order copies of the tape from me, for a limited period, priced at £8.00 each, plus £1.00 to cover postage and packing.

Each tape consists of ninety minutes of enchanting melodic music synthesised entirely from crop circle images. For my initial tape, designed for research purposes, I have used the following four images.

1. The 1991 Mandlebrot formation in Cambridge.
2. The 'actual' Mandlebrot set, as calculated and displayed by the computer.
3. The 1994 Galaxy formation along Avebury Avenue.
4. The 1994 Oliver's Castle interlocking crescents formation.

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