The TypeDrummer website

Screenshot of the TypeDrummer website

Have you ever wondered what your name, or the words “Anna Karenina,” would sound like as a sequence of beats? Finally, there’s a website to answer these burning questions: TypeDrummer, created by the Philadelphia-based developer Kyle Stetz, translates text into beats. (The name “LL Cool J” and “Dead Prez” do not disappoint.)

When users arrive at the TypeDrummer site, they’re prompted to enter words into the text box. “Each letter you enter is tied to a drum sample — 26 in total. The code runs through the letters one at a time at 120bpm, triggering each one in order and looping back around to the beginning when it reaches the end,” Stetz told Hyperallergic. The program also detects parentheses, which increase the tempo of the resultant beat.

Stetz said that he has “put a lot of time into thinking about how to represent music through text and code.” And, indeed, the project’s most interesting feature is that it links one medium of expression to another, translating tangible texts to the more intangible stuff of aural representation.

Stetz told Hyperallergic that his favorite text/beat pairing is “cool beat,” but personally I’m holding out for the sounds that result from the transcription of the entirety of War and Peace.

h/t FastCoDesign

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Becca Rothfeld

Becca Rothfeld is assistant literary editor of The New Republic and a contributor to The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Daily News’ literary blog, The Baffler, and...

3 replies on “A Website Translates Words into Drum Beats”

  1. if only it generated a downloadable midi file OR it was available in a Max for Live plugin with which the user could load drum sounds.

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