Looking for an entertaining diversion to get you through the rest of Friday and into the weekend? Today I've been getting plenty of mileage out of a Google experiment that combines two of my favourite things: drawing and music.
Paint With Music is a fun interactive toy that's really easy to use; it's not up there with treating yourself to one of the best laptops for music production and some high-end software, but it's definitely a way to get quick results that look good too.
All you have to do is paint on the screen, and it'll instantly turn your strokes into musical notes. It's an absolute cinch to get started; all you really need to know is that the the vertical position of your strokes corresponds with notes played, and the speed at which you draw your lines affects the volume.
Even so, you'll likely find that your early attempts sound a lot like Steve Reich having a really bad day at his composing desk. But once you get more of a feel for how it works and take advantage of helpful features such as an on-screen note overlay and a looping timer that you can use to get things playing just what you want them, you should start getting better results.
You can mix things up a bit with a choice of instruments; there's a flute, a saxophone, a trumpet and a violin, as well as a stamp tool for firing one-off sound effects. Once you start putting them all together, things start sounding a lot more melodic, especially as each instrument has its own musical scale, which can lead to some cool-sounding harmonies.
On top of the musical side of things, the visual aspect of this experiment is pretty neat too. There are four canvases to choose from – a sky scene, an underwater world, an urban wall and a Japan-inspired paper canvas – each of which with their own particular style of strokes, as well as subtle audio effects and an individual stamp for adding that final audio and visual flourish.
Once you're done you can share your results via all the usual social channels, depending on how well you think your friends will take to your abstract musical noodling. It's unlikely to change the way anyone makes music, but hey, it's definitely a great way to play with music, and there's a lot about it that'll give musical novices more of an insight into how notes fit together to create lovely harmonies.
Click through to have a play with Paint With Music, and let us know if you come up with any particularly tuneful results!