Tweetstep is an application created with Max/Msp that enables crowdsourced music making via the online social platform Twitter. Enter any keyword, user, or hashtag and Tweetstep will search twitter for the most recent instance of that keyword, and generate a MIDI sequence from the ASCII code of each character in the tweet. This patch relies heavily on the searchtweet Max external made by Gokce Kinayoglu which enables Max to access Twitter.
Tweetstep has many musical applications, all of which rely on crowdsourced data from Twitter. Tweetstep works particularly well in applications for live performance and installation. Crowd sourced tweets generate rhythms and melodic sequences that are both generative and often reveal patterns in online written language. This patch encourages users to develop patterns in typed text, and promotes experimental use of language to create melodic rhythms that are more than random strings of notes.
As a standalone, Tweetstep uses the default, cheesy, and great General MIDI voices available on Mac. MIDI data from Tweetstep may also be routed to an external softsynth or MIDI device, such as Ableton, allowing for extensible and flexible control over sonic parameters.
Tweetstep made its performance debut at Mills College Thursday Night Special on December 28, 2012, with great success. The audience, as well as several random users on twitter, tweeted with “TNS” in their tweets to generate an algorithmically guided accompaniment to my own improvisations on electric guitar.