Musical Spectrum Analysis

Musical Spectrum Analysis is a really interesting take on Spectrograms. Developed by Jon-Kyle Mohr, a designer/programmer/musician and member of the Cargo Collective team, and Lee Martin, a developer at SoundCloud, who built a generative incarnation with Canvas and the SoundCloud API, which can be located at

What you are observing above is basically this (as described by Jon-Kyle Mohr):

Sound frequencies are displayed as they are heard. Lower frequencies are mapped low (bottom) to high (top). Brightness is determined by amplitude.

Sweeping tones and rhythmic patterns create intricate structures. The circular form is in memorial of dead formats; the CD, MiniDisc and others. R.I.P.

Andrew Ohlman, who also happens to be a member of the Cargo Collective team, compiled a Quartz sketch which does similar things called Circular Spectrogram.

You can download the Circular Spectrogram application here to create your own visuals (currently only available for Mac users).

Posted by B3PO

11 Comments Leave A Comment


Anna says:

March 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I am utterly loving this sound-mapping wavelength Charles & you are on. Great post, Jonathan! Can’t wait for more


wtf says:

March 21, 2012 at 5:44 am

“Musical Spectrum Analysis is a really interesting concept developed by Jon-Kyle”

I am sorry, this is wrong. Musical spectrum analysis is a very classic audio signal processing tool.
The first spectrogram was realized in 1951 by the Kay Electric Co.


Collective says:

March 21, 2012 at 9:21 am

@WTF: Absolutely see how this can mislead people into thinking this is a new concept. We have rephrased. Thank you for pointing that out and for reading the blog.



Santosh says:

May 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thankyou sir jaha rahepani hami ghadurnke ghadurnke nai hau . yo manma ghandruko maya bairahnchha .aja yo jun bata ghandruk ko naya samachar padna pauda hami dirai khusi lagiraheko chhau . sir audha din haro ma pani abasya pani naya naya sachar padna paune asa gardachau ra antama gaun lagi kehi sahayog ma hami pani prayes gardchhu GHANDRUK SAMAJ HK


Denise says:

June 13, 2012 at 6:03 am

I got it. very nice indeed but my spins much faster than the one on the first video. Is it possible to change the speed?