Disquiet Junto Project 0396: Hum a Few Bars

Disquiet Junto Project 0396: Hum a Few Bars
The Assignment: Make music with by humming a song and then processing the humming.

Step 1: Record yourself humming an original tune.

Step 2: Edit that recording, using only the hum as source audio (adding effects/processing as you see fit), to create a completed track.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0396” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0396” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:


Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, August 5, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the evening, California time, on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0396” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: Consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 396th weekly Disquiet Junto project — The Assignment: Make music with by humming a song and then processing the humming — at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo credited to Xavier Lacot:




And the project is now live.

Hi All,

My fridge is better at humming than me, so I let him perform …

Messing with tidal cycles to granularise and mangle the fridge-y hum.

Have a great week,

h u :slight_smile:


Hello everyone,

I have a terribly non-musical voice. I hummed a few bars but was simply incapable of anything approaching a melody. So I built a short piece out of overlapping pitch-shifted notes (-24st, -23st, -19st, and -10st) adorned with a ‘throat kick drum’ and some breathing. I then reversed the track and played it under itself (with tons of reverb) at -11st. Everything was worked up in Audacity.


I wasn’t sure what to do with this prompt, so (as I often do) I delegated the task to deceased U.S. President Richard M. Nixon. Nixon regularly taped conversations in his office and a number of these tapes came to light in the context of the Watergate scandal. On one of these tapes, an 18 minute segment was mysteriously erased, leaving only a string of pops, buzzes and hums. (interesting backstory and analysis: https://www.forensicmag.com/article/2011/02/cracking-watergates-infamous-18-12-minute-gap)

I’ve done stuff with this audio before, including a set of three pieces that use only this audio, heavily processed in Ableton Live: https://soundcloud.com/north_woods/sets/nixon-18m

So I picked out one of the hums, and dropped it into three separate buffers, panned left, right and center. Each buffer got its own pitch shifter and echo.

I then ran a loop that did the following:

  1. pick one of the buffers at random
  2. pick at random how much to shift the pitch from an array of choices (which changed as I ran the program)
  3. play the chosen buffer

I overlaid a few copies of this program with different-sized pitch arrays, then laid on some drum machines (one straight one, and two copies of a drum machine driven by a Game of Life algorithm).

All this stuff is coded in ChucK, happy to provide links to the code (I’ll put it in my GitHub).


The playlist is now rolling:

I recorded myself humming a few sustained notes into my laptop mic. I picked the one that sounded the best and smoothed out the pitch with iZotope Nectar. To make a textural drone, I slowed the hum down as far as Ableton allows using the Tones warp mode. I made a kick drum out of a very short segment of the hum and tuned it to play a bassline. Then I loaded the hum into Simpler improvised a solo using the aQWERTYon set to Lydian dominant mode, run through Resonator to make it glow. Finally, I made a “percussion” track by taking another slowed down copy of the hum, stuttering it, automating its pitch to gently rise and fall, and then using Auto Filter hooked up to a semi-random LFO to stutter it further.


Recorded myself humming onto a tape, recorded that tape into W/ at half speed. I looped it and played it at double speed backwards (so now it’s back at the speed i recorded it at but backwards). sent it through Three Sisters two Cold Macs and a DPLPG (had the DJ style mixer patch between a CM and 3S, also had the inverse of the DJ mix going through the other CM’s Or/And Circuits so whatever was above survey went to the envelope follower, and below survey went to the audio in on DPLPG. Then the envelope follower controlled slope of the other CM while the corresponding crease out sent CV to the DPLPG and the output of that went to the aux in on the DJ style mixer - “offset”. Also had slope out of the 1st CM controlling the second… so the envelope follower of part of the audio was controlling slope and then a signal related to an envelope follower of that signal was controlling the amount of audio being fed back into the original envelope follower… i think). recorded live back to tape, i played with the cold macs and the three sisters frequency and spread.


Hummed a few bars of random melody. I processed the result through several IOS apps, mostly drum machines and granular processors.


it turns out my humming is like my singing - can’t do it to save my life…

hummed a few “phrases”* into my h6- dropped them into the Ableton sampler. Added a little filtering, reverb, EQ - I felt like too much processing was not right for this track - I kind of wanted to see what I could do without hiding from the source material - and played four separate tracks

*should you be of a generous frame of mind. Otherwise: “made some humming noises”


My attempt for this week: Went simple and kind of played around. I feel like building up layers of processing and effects is kind of my wheelhouse… So, I thought I’d relax with this one. However, one thing of note is that since upgrading to Bitwig Studio 3, I haven’t used the Grid much for sound design or processing, maybe because I just adore Reaktor so much, but what I have started to really like it for is routing ideas. Since there’s a device in the Grid that lets you pull audio from other tracks, blend with the current signal path and things like that, it really lets you pull just a couple, or in this case, a single sound into several different areas at once, and I’m really getting into it. So, that particular technique saw a lot of use in this piece.


I hummed a bit. The prompt seemed to evoke my common process of translating the hum to another medium. The bass part that comes in is generated from the hummed part by running it through FAC Envolver abd then into Thomas Burns’ Modal app based on a Mutable Instruments module. I diverged from the instructions and played in on guitar, and enjoyed the 3 part jam.\


I was wracking my head on the drive down to my mum’s farm this weekend. I’d made plans to start building a much-talked about aeolian harp on the property using found materials and various bits and pieces I had lying around my home studio. I was (over) thinking aspects of resonance, wire lengths, fundamental tones, harmonics, etc and in between this I was also thinking about this week’s challenge. A couple of days work resulted in the MiddlePhone* (see pic and footnote below) and an outcome for this weeks Junto challenge.

I attached one end of a slinky to the chimney flue on the MiddlePhone, and the other to a tin can. I fixed a contact mic to the interior surface of the chimney flue and pointed a shotgun mic off into the distance. Hitting record, I stretched out the slinky/can and hummed an improvised melody into the can for about a minute.

In the recording you can hear two simultaneous recordings which have been mixed together: the slinky’s in contact with the flue, and the shotgun mic (which is aimed on my position with the stretched slinky/can). I’ve mixed the track so that you hear only the shotgun mic recording at first (w/peripheral sounds) and then gradually crossfaded into contact mic - the latter revealing the reverberent/harmonic effects of the slinky, as well the articulation of resonances. Whilst most of the resonances are derived from the flue/slnky combo, I’m fairly certain the network of stretched wires has had some effect too.

*** The MiddlePhone**

Yesterday afternoon, I deviated dramatically from my original design plan for the aeolian harp; to such an extent that it resembled a completely different instrument - which you can see pictured in the track cover. It comprises of an old tallowwood fencepost jammed between the branch stumps of a Melaleuca tree. The post has thin wires attached to it which are tightened and fixed to the ground, as well as run over an oil drum and also connected to a chimney flue. The wind interplays with it discretely, but is most effective as a ridiculous percussion instrument. However, attaching contact mics to it reveals a variety of resonances and sonic perculiarities.


I’m humming an ambient song, so the melody is very minimalistic … to be honest: most from the original recordings, in which I was humming a song, has been deleted in the process of processing the humming, and at the end I decided to stick with two humming samples … I like it anyway. :wink:


Recorded myself humming a simple tune (condenser stereo pair + dynamic in contact with neck).

Made rhythm track from first notes and edited breaths.

Mixed in reversed audio with fuzz + wah.

Mixed in double speed audio.

Added talk box effect to main track.

Misc. delay, reverb, compression, etc.


This started with a badly-recorded ditty sitting at my desk on Friday.

All the sounds are based on the hummed melody I made up on the spot. The instruments are made up of Ableton Live Wavetable synths containing hum fragments, Simpler instances with short hummed samples and one instance of iZotope’s Iris 2.

No additional sounds were introduced although some of the extracted samples were reduced pretty much to very short sinusoidal fragments, especially for the kick, snare and hi-hat.

Everything was heavily processed with filters and equalisers as well as a fair amount of reverb.

The final part of the tune is mangled with Sinevibe’s Robotizer and Eventide’s Blackhole reverb.


I looped myself and ran it through my Sherman Filterbank.


hummed what was in my head through a similar podfarm tone to last weeks track
then did an accompaniment to this
then hummed a memory/variation of the first part with a slightly different tone
some more processing in audacity - time stretch, pitch stretch, paulstretch, echo, delay, reverb, distortion


I processed my humming in ableton by copy pasting it, selecting little snippets of it, transposing and looping etc.

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It ends up being reminiscent of Tyvan throat singing!

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