Sing a Little Song

Sing a Little Song will bring a new form of birdsong to the city, guided and controlled by online interactions.

Eight ‘digital songbirds’ will be built and placed around the city – these small boxes will connect wirelessly to the internet and contain a microcontroller and speaker system for playing simple melodies.

The songbirds will be hidden in public locations: in trees, on rooftops, in dark alleys. Throughout the day they will sing songs based on messages sent to them through social media services. For example, the tweet “#songbird #castlepark what a beautiful day!” will be converted into birdsong using field recordings, sentiment analysis, vocoding, speed adjustments, and other techniques. The song will reflect the general sentiment of the tweet (in this case, beautiful), and certain keywords will be combined with birdsong field recordings to make them just audible. The resulting song will be played from the songbird placed in Castle Park.

Inspired by the rich tradition of British birdsong recordings by Ludwig Koch and others, Sing a Little Song will provide the city with a new form of abstract communication by giving them control over their own soundscape. It will connect online interaction with real-world sound in a non-intrusive yet beautiful way that ties in with existing associations of nature and song.