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May 15, 2015

Meet typedrummer, a program that translates words into drum beats

Technology Music
typedrummer you're fired Screenshot /typedrummer

typedrummer creates drum beats with your words.

“Don't gobblefunk around with words,” renowned author Roald Dahl wrote in the "Big Friendly Giant."

Philadelphia-based developer Kyle Stetz is doing just that.

Meet typedrummer, a program that translates the written word into drum beats.

ASCII was used to turn each letter into a number for the purpose of writing the software, explained Stetz, also a drummer, who built a prototype of typedrummer last week in only a couple hours. 

For the shy, it’s a great way to say “I love you,” “Let’s break up,” or “You’re fired,” without ever having to utter the words. Simply type the words into the typedrummer interface and listen for the boom-kick-snare interpretation.

If you don’t like the kit, you can even load new samples.

PhillyVoice toyed around with a few choice phrases. "We're pregnant!" sounded uptempo and jovial, while "Your breath smells" had more of a Phil Collins vibe. 

we're pregnant typedrummer
The fewer letters you input, the less complex your sequence will be, which is why something like "lol drake" felt easy and familiar.  

Lol Drake typedrummer
Stetz's personal favorite? "Cool beat." 

Cool beat typedrummer
The inspiration for typedrummer stems from a more complex project that Stetz is working on called Lissajous, which allows users to perform programmatically in their browser using JavaScript. 

"Lissajous is a very technical project and it’s meant for people who are interested in computer music, but it’s also an exploration in what it takes to put together a digital instrument," Stetz told PhillyVoice.

"An instrument has a language made up of components embedded in it — keys on a piano, strings and frets on a guitar — so Lissajous attempts to build a language of music from pieces of code. In this same way, typedrummer uses the fundamentals of the English language — letters — and assigns meaning to each one so that the product of a word or a phrase is a rhythm." 

You can try out typedrummer for yourself here.