Everyone’s favorite internet encyclopedia, it turns out, makes some incredibly soothing music when translated into sound.
Mahmoud Hashemi and Stephen LaPorte‘s project Listen to Wikipedia converts the edits that people make to Wikipedia pages into sounds that, remarkably, synthesize perfectly. The result is an unlikely orchestra of bells and strings, and you can listen to it for hours.
This is how the site works:
Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note. Green circles show edits from unregistered contributors, and purple circles mark edits performed by automated bots. You may see announcements for new users as they join the site, punctuated by a string swell. You can welcome him or her by clicking the blue banner and adding a note on their talk page.
You can choose to listen to the edits made in any combination of languages, and the site also includes a running feed of all recent changes. Listen to Wikipedia is open-source and collects its data in real-time from Wikimon. It’s also available as an iOS app.
There is a strange order and rhythm to the music of Wikipedia. It sounds almost intentional. Hashemi and LaPorte, of course, designed the notes to be pleasing and make sense musically, but they still come across as if scored by a composer—not generated by a series of random, unconnected edits.