GMU:Speculative Atmospheres II/Sam Ryu

From Medien Wiki

The Light and Resonance in the Air

Speculative Atmospheres ll,WiSe 2021/22

Sound and Light Sensors Experiment with Arduino+Max/Msp by Ryu, Sam

Preview Video of the experiment

This is a basic attempt to make the environment compose music.

The sound is generated randomly according to the movement of light. Pitch and velocity change according to the data of the light sensors.

"Let the light and environment play the music."


- Mindmap


5 Light sensors are converted into values through Arduino to Max, which are converted to play in a random combination of five tracks of sound. The flow of music continues to change because the sound layers are played differently each time according to the frequency of light.

Light illumination may not be dynamic outdoors in winter, so an environment where light can be used indoors as an alternative, but it would be also possible to use natural light.

-Sound material:

Sound collection through the field recording: Pieces such as glass, bell, silver ring, wind etc.

  • These five-sound materials become acoustic instruments played by the movement of light.


A .Arduino / Sensors

01. Prepared five photoresistors (light sensors).

02. Measuring the lowest/maximum resistance value with a multimeter.

03. The resistance value is calculated according to the following formula.

R2= √R1(max)xR1(Min)

04. Connect the five photoresistors with the appropriate register (R2) to the breadboard.


B. Arduino

01. Initialize five sensors, receive data values from Arduino, and send them to Max.

//int val[5]; array.5 light sensors total

void setup()

 Serial.begin(9600); //Serial Communication set up

void loop()

 for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++){
   val[i] = analogRead(i);
   Serial.print(" ");


01. Receive data transmitted from Arduino through Arduino and Max connection patches.

02. Sending data to five tracks by applying speed control with random values.

03. Sound generated by the data value of light.


-Outdoor Experiment


It was not easy to apply various light movements on sensors because cloudy weather persists in winter. However, the experiment was still possible because we could expect the movement of light depending on the movement of the shade or wind.

3. Review

Overall, I would like to say that it was a very interesting and meaningful experience. For the first time, this semester, I entered the sensor and Arduino and conducted a sound experiment with Max/Msp. Since I am currently majoring in Electro-Acoustic Composition in the Department of Sound, therefore, I am very interested in acoustic atmosphere and environmental factors. The light environment is actually an environmental factor that has an absolute influence on humans, and I will continue converting the story created by light into sound in the future. I saw the possibility of expanding to areas in nature by working using data from the environment.

The following experiments can create more complex and completed goals by installing them in more diverse locations and developing patches in Max/Msp through the extension of the sensor. This is planned for the next semester.