06/29/2012 11:41 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'City Symphonies': Mark McKeague's Score For London's Traffic (VIDEO)

Design student Mark McKeague has created a fascinating piece of music using synthesized sounds of London traffic. In the video below, McKeague simulates traffic on a "map" of sheet music, with the cars playing the various notes.

Using processing, he simulated the various movements of vehicles in Westminster. Then, to turn the movements into music, he used the program MaxMSP to acquire audio signals of each vehicle depending on the vehicles proximity to other vehicles and to the environment in general.

McKeague explains his project this way: “Electric cars are increasingly using synthesized sounds in order to mimic the recognizable noise of the internal combustion engine. I explore an alternative in which the sound that the cars generate changes according to its relationship to other road users and the environment.”

The result is an absorbing video with a “symphony” of hypnotic, calming, and almost alien-like sounds. McKeague’s "City Symphonies" is seemingly worlds away from the reality of honking horns, revving engines and cars accelerating, but technologically he is right on point.

In McKeague’s words, “The roadside becomes a new context for sound - the city is the score.” Peep the video to see for yourself.


City Symphonies - Westminster from Mark McKeague on Vimeo.

[via Wired UK]