Acoustic Sigils

From: Kevin Max Krebs
To: zee-list
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 1996 20:14:12 -0800 (PST)

As some of you may remember, i was discusing a method for developing rather complex electro-acoustic sigils. for this method, you will require a program capable of generating (at least) sine waves. to those using a windows based PC, i would recommend Wavegen v2.1. (no, i don't have an address for it, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find.)

As with normal sigilizing, you generate your statement of intent:

my will for new shoes

Reduce as per usual:


Devise a scale to convert the alphabet to hertz (cycles per second). For example:

              a = 20hz.
              b = 40hz.
              c = 60hz.
              d = 80hz.
               . . . etc.
Of course, this need not progress logically, and some prior experimenting to discover any personal relations between tones and letters may be necessary.

Progressing with the above scale, which i find most effective personally, our statement of intent would become.

  m     y     w     i     l     f     o     r     n     e     s     h
Now, load up your tone-generating software. before you begin generating the sigil-tone, divide 100 by the amount of letters/components in the statement. the example contains 12, which results in a little over 8. this number denotes the maximum amplitude you can use when generating each tone of the sigil. to be safe, we'll reduce this number to 7, so as to aviod any clipping or peaking of our generated tone.

Now, generate a sine wave (you may try other wave-forms, but i find a sine works the best) with the first value (260hz), at an amplitude of 7%, with a length of one second. if your software can generate another tone over the previous one (modulating it) then you can continue generating each value within the statement of intent. if your software cannot do this, you may have to generate each tone seperately and then cut and paste them over one another (if this is the case, you may want to consider getting better software!).

Once you have finished all the values, you will have a one second long complex tone created with additive synthesis of simple tones, metaphorically similar to an audible sentance. save the file, preferably with a number-based name to aid forgetting the original intent. you can play the sample and loop it, and it should sound fairly smooth. you can leave it running, essentailly having your computer recite a mantra for you. you can record it onto a tape, playing either in the foreground or barely audible. play it when you are falling asleep. incorperate it into music. broadcast it. etc. etc.