Baroque.Me, This Makes Everything Better

By John Walker on November 17th, 2011 at 3:47 pm.

Someone will tell me this isn't Bach now, or something.

I don’t know what kind of Thursday you’re having, but I’m having one that sounds like the sigh an old armchair makes when you sit in it, like exasperation is too much effort, and instead deflating despondency is all that can be enunciated. And then I found this.

Bach makes everything better, as I think we can all agree (no matter what the World Health Organisation keeps telling my clients), so Baroque.me‘s distraction in a website form soothes all ailments. It’s a remarkable little thing in which white circles pluck at ever-changing-in-length strings to produce baroque heavenliness. Why am I mentioning it on a so-called gaming site? Well, you can interact with those white balls, messing with their pathways, to influence the music. And interaction means game, and game means post.

Grab one ball (snigger) with the mouse, and the other three will start following loosely behind it, so you can pluck at the strings for yourself, creating your own baroque masterpiece while the strings reform themselves for you. Let go and the balls will gradually make their way back to their regular pattern. You can also “throw” a ball, which creates stranger sounds. In fact, just put your mouse cursor in the way of one of the blobs and it will get stuck, leaving the music missing a quarter of its plucks.

It’s the mixture of movement and sound, form and shape, tune and untune that I think makes such a tiny thing so compelling. Being able to see not just the “shape” of the music, but also the patterns it forms, the routes it takes, gives something I already dearly love (Bach’s baroque mastery) an extra dimension. And that soothes my soul. Which in turn protects those around me. Go fiddle. (Which would be a clever joke if this were on the neck-based strings.)

Discovered via the amazing Jad Abumrad.

__________________

« | »

, , .

29 Comments »

  1. DigitalSignalX says:

    That is pure brilliant.

  2. Cryo says:

    It sounds best when I’m not touching anything though.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, you aren’t Bach : )

    • Cryo says:

      I guess the only way to win is not to play.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah. I can move the white dots, but I can’t figure out why I’d want to.

    • der jester says:

      This is like that VR game on the episode of Star Trek with the disks in the funnels where Wesley gets to make out with Ashley Judd.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I just tried it by dragging the ball across the string at high speed, then pausing before returning. It essentially played all eight notes as a chord. It was quite neat.

  3. Bluerps says:

    Nothing is better!

    … this PC doesn’t have speakers. :(

  4. Tatourmi says:

    I don’t have the white dots, bug?

    • Shuck says:

      It’s done in Javascript, HTML5 and Flash (for the sound portion), so if you have Javascript turned off, or your browser isn’t HTML 5 compliant, then I imagine you won’t see the visuals.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    should’ve been

    an FPS.

  6. HardClumping says:

    the sound samples are frustratingly low quality, but for the most part this rules

    • simonh says:

      Yeah, it sounds a lot better if you turn down your volume though, kills the noise.

    • GenBanks says:

      ok i’m glad you wrote that, as i was fearing for my headphones because of all the distortion crackling i was getting. Tried a higher quality track saved to my pc and all was well.

  7. Kollega says:

    Reminds me of soundtrack to Braid.

    Here’s a similar thing one of my friends shown to me once. It’s a different type of music, and controls differently, but also sounds good.

    • brulleks says:

      Warning: don’t try both this and Baroque.Me at the same time.

      I think I just baroque my ear drums.

    • Danny252 says:

      …I like this. A lot.

      (Isn’t there an actual instrument-y-thing which works on the same principle? Little Boots uses it, but I cba to google)

  8. zipdrive says:

    For me this stammers very badly on this Core i5 Laptop. too bad :(

  9. identiti_crisis says:

    Ooh, it’s one of my favourites! In fact, I learned to play this (somewhat terribly) on electric bass once.
    I, too, am missing the white dots, and the irregularity of the notes makes it feel like an over-enthusiastic musician’s attempt at adding life and dynamism by playing “around” the beat… Still a nice little thing.

    Shouldn’t it have been Mozart, though?

    • simonh says:

      I think the reason for the irregularity is that the notes are produced by the movement of the balls, and the movement isn’t entirely precise. Also, in the beginning the balls are thrown in from the right and take a while to align themselves properly, that’s why the beginning is so scrambled.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Same here. It’s really pretty to play it on bass.

  10. Bobtree says:

    Oh, I thought this was going to be related to Sting’s Baroque, my 2nd favorite Japanese console roguelike (after Shiren on the DS). Highly recommended if you like that sort of thing and have a PS2 or Wii. See http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/sting/sting2.htm

  11. Fede says:

    Not sure if there is only one piece or if I was lucky, but the one I got was used also in Master and Commander, which reminded me how awesome a game about the Aubrey and Maturin series would be (if done well (which seems rather hard to do)). But anyway, so relaxing.

    • nervouspete says:

      I would be with child to play a Master & Commander game. From first person. On your ship. And not having to click on any rigging or anything other than the wheel or the capstan in a crisis, just giving the orders. “Square away the topsails handsomely,” and “Unfurl the royal gallants,” and “A glass of wine with you sir, and would you care for some drowned baby?”

      And then you could scratch and scrape away with Maturin while Killick looks on disapprovingly. With an expansion pack you could inhabit Maturin and dissect small mammals and decode code in Catalan, before shooting somebody who calls you a Papist bastard.

      Then they could release an ‘On land’ expansion pack, where you play Aubrey’s hot-shot finger-pointing exclamation shouting lawyer as he attempts to protect his employer from criminal con-artists with endearingly transparent plans, while you also switch to Maturin who has to fight his way through laudanum fueled fever dreams to get to the bird wot he fancies (both types).

      Every one in seventy eight levels you’d fight a battle, oft-times inconsequential.

      It’d be the best game ever. With lots of Bocherini.

  12. BAshment says:

    on closer inspection this is not Barbecue me, Disappointment ensues.

  13. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    I approve.

  14. Moth Bones says:

    You’re a good man, John Walker. This sort of thing is exactly why I read RPS.

  15. Vagrant says:

    Tried to play it, but the audio is so over-leveled I couldn’t take it.