iSoundScape is a new kind of interactive evolutionary computation (IEC) for musical works, which is inspired from a biological metaphor, adaptive walk on fitness landscapes.

This application enables you to explore your favorite musical works by walking through a virtual landscape of sounds called a fitness soundscape.

There is a virtual two-dimensional plane that represents the genetic space of possible musical works. Several sound sources are placed near corresponding genotype positions, each specifying the kind of sounds and its relative location from the genotype. As you stand on the soundscape realized by the openAL with a head phone, you can hear sets of sounds generated from your neighboring genotypes at the same time. These sounds come from different directions depending on their relative position from you, and are played repeatedly.

By using the human abilities for localization and selective listening, you can walk in the direction of your favorite sounds. Because each newly appearing combination of sounds is similar but slightly different from your previous choice, you can choose more favorite one among them. Thus, adaptive walk through this landscape corresponds to the evolutionary process of the population in standard IECs.

iSoundScape_BIRD is a variant of iSoundScape that provides a new way to explore the ecology and evolution of bird songs, from scientific and educational viewpoints, by exploring the ecological space of “nature's music”, produced by populations of virtual songbirds from Northern California. There are 16 species, and 4 different song clips and a beautiful picture for each species. A listener is able to explore the soundscape and virtual ecology of multiple individuals of songbirds.

---Snap shots---



---How to play---

[Adaptive walk]

After evaluating the musical pieces generated by the nearest four genotypes, a listener can change its location on the soundscape by dragging its icon. The directions of sounds coming from sound sources change dynamically according to the relative position of the listener during the movement. If the icon is moved outside of the central area of the grid, the soundscape scrolls by one unit of the grid. The sound sources of the next four neighboring genotypes are then displayed and begin to play.


By swiping a finger outside of the center area in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, a listener can rotate the whole soundscape by 90 degrees. By changing the orientation of the surrounding sound sources in this way, a listener can utilize the right / left stereo environment of the iPhone for localizing sounds that were previously in front of / behind the listener.

[Scale change of the soundscape]

By pinching in or out any place on the screen, a listener can decrease or increase the scale of the soundscape. It changes the Hamming distance between the nearest neighboring genotypes by skipping the closest genotypes and selecting distant genotypes. The decrease in the scale ratio enables the listener to evaluate more different individuals at the same time, and jump to a more distant place quickly. Conversely, increasing the scale ratio allows the listener to refine the existing musical pieces by evaluating more similar genotypes.

[Shape change of the soundscape]
(implemented only in iSoundScape_BIRD)

A user can change the shape of the soundscape by modifying the genotype-phenotype mapping. Every time the user shakes the iPhone or iPad, the position of each bit in the genotype that corresponds to each property of the sound sources is right-shifted cyclically by two bits. Then, the user jumps to the location on the soundscape based on the new genotype-phenotype mapping so that the sound sources of the genotype in the user's front left position are kept unchanged. This enables the user to explore a wide variety of mutants of the current population.

[Bookmark of a location]

If a listener touches one of the four buttons on the bottom left in the screen, they can save the current position, scale and direction of the soundscape as a kind of bookmark. One previously bookmarked state can be loaded as the current state of the user.

[Settings] Touch the button on the bottom right, and

    configure several options as follows:

        [Map lock]

            If it is set to ON, the soundscape does not scroll even

            when a listener comes out from the center area.

        [Reset location]

            A listener goes back to the initial position.

        [Random location]

            A listener goes to a random position.

        [Background color]

            A listener can change the background color.

        [Distance ratio]

            This determines the maximum distance that each sound can reach.

        [Auto walk]

            If it is set to ON, a listener automatically and randomly walks

            every time interval specified by the slider.

        [Selection of soundscape]

            Only in iSoundScape_BIRD, you can choose a soundscape from

            phenotypic or ecological soundscapes

---Genetic description of the sound---

Each genotype is placed on its unique position on the soundscape so that closer genotypes are placed on nearer positions.

Each genotype determines the kinds of sounds, volumes, and the relative positions of the three sound sources.

Each sound source is represented as a circle with a tab which indicates the kind of the sound. The size of circle also represents the volume of the

sound source.

The possible sounds in iSoundScape are:

    piano, bass, synth (CDEFGABC)

    drums (8 different patterns)

    SE (laughter, clock, birdsong, water, etc.)

In iSoundScape_BIRD, we have constructed two different soundscapes from these song clips. Each reflects a phenotypic or ecological property of birdsongs. In addition to providing an interesting way to explore birdsongs, the first soundscape was developed to provide a way to understand how properties of birdsongs could vary among species in a soundscape. We assumed a two-dimensional phenotypic space of birdsongs (as above). The axes in this space reflect roughly two basic properties of birdsongs: the length of songs and the intermediate frequency of songs. Instead of using genotypes, we directly mapped the all song clips to a 8x8 two-dimensional soundscape so that squared clusters of four song clips of each species are arranged according to the phenotypic space. Thus, each genotype is composed of a set of two integer values, each corresponding to the x or y location within the phenotypic space.

As for the second one, we replaced the original sound clips in the iSoundScape with the clips of birdsongs. To do so, we assumed that the first 4 bits in the substring for each sound source in a genotype represent the species, reflecting the topology of the phenotypic space, and the next 2 bits represent a unique number of song clips in the species. We also changed the number of sounds for each genotype from three to two. Thus, the soundscape comprises a 2^16 x 2^16 grid.

%We also reversed the bit order of the substring for y location of the genotype before mapping it to an integer value so that x and y axes correspond to variations in different properties of individuals.

In this case, each genotype is composed of a 32 length bit string representing an ecological situation involving two birds, and is mapped to both individual birds singing different songs at different locations. Thus, a listener is able to explore the soundscape and virtual ecology of multiple individuals of songbirds.

In both cases, we inserted a random interval between the start times of songs from each bird to approximate the variation found in many natural soundscapes.

We used a small picture to represent the species of each individual. These pictures are provided by Neil Losin and Greg Gillson from their collections of bird pictures (http://www.neillosin.com/, http://www.pbase.com/gregbirder/)}. This allows the listener to recognize the distribution of birds on the soundscape.

---About iSoundScape and iSoundScape_BIRD---

iSoundScape was created and developed by Soichiro Yamaguchi, as a part of his graduation work in School of Information Science, Nagoya University. The original concept of the "Fitness Soundscape" is created by Arita-Suzuki Lab. in Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University.

iSoundScape_BIRD was developed as a collaborative work with Prof. Charles Taylor and Prof. Martin Cody in UCLA. The sound clips are recorded by Prof. Cody in Amador 2010.

We thank Neil Losin and Greg Gillson, who allowed us to use the beautiful pictures of songbirds from their collections. (from Neil Losin: Black-headed cowbird, Spotted towhee, Wilson’s warbler, Yellow-rumped warbler, American Robin, Nashville Warbler, Warbling vireo, Black phoebe,  http://www.neillosin.com/)

(from Greg Gilson: Orange-crowned warbler, Black-headed grosbeak, Chipping sparrow, Black-throated gray warbler, MacGillivray’s warbler, Cassin’s vireo, Hutton’s vireo, Winter wren, http://www.pbase.com/gregbirder/)

Also, we thank Zac Harlow, who gave fruitful comments and advice for development of iSoundScape¥_BIRD

For Any questions and comments, please send an e-mail to: Reiji Suzuki (reiji@nagoya-u.jp)


Reiji Suzuki, Martin, Martin L. Cody, Charles E. Taylor and Takaya Arita: "iSoundScape: Adaptive Walk on a Fitness Soundscape", Applications of Evolutionary Computation, LNCS 6625 (Proc. of the 9th European Event on Evolutionary and Biologically Inspired Music, Sound, Art and Design (evomusart2011)), pp. 404-413 (2011/04). [PDF]

Reiji Suzuki and Takaya Arita: "Adaptive Walk on Fitness Soundscape", Post-proceedings of the Tenth European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL2009), LNAI5778 , pp. 94-101 (2011/09) [PDF]

---Related Resources---

ALIFE-CORE (Arita-Suzuki Lab. in Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University)



Supporting web site of isoundscape and isoundscape_BIRD

Latest Version
iSoundScape:  0.85(06/03/2010)
iSoundScape_BIRD: 0.85

iSoundScape_BIRD was presented at Alart_2012 (02/16/2012)

A paper on iSoundScape and iSoundScape_BIRD has been presented at EvoMusart 2011 (04/2011) [PDF]

iSoundScape_BIRD has been released.

Download now from AppStore in iTunes for free!

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