Document Type


Publication Date

January 2015

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2015 Web Audio Conference. IRCAM/Mozilla Corporation


AJAX, JavaScript, Web Audio API, client-server architectures, location-based services, crowdsourcing and mashups, real-time audio processing and performance




This paper and live audio demonstration explores the capabilities of using Web Audio API as a digital audio workstation (DAW) to manipulate sounds from massive server-side databases. Sonic source material comes from a database of birdsongs recorded worldwide by volunteer recordists at Sounds from xeno-canto are chosen to match recent, nearby bird sightings submitted by volunteer birders at eBird. The result is a virtual soundscape derived from the sounds of birds currently present in the user’s geographical region. Our client-server architecture delegates database queries and archival storage to the server, leaving the client to concentrate on the aesthetic context of sound modification and manipulation. Engineering issues include separation of client versus server concerns and mashups of crowdsourced databases. Aesthetic issues include which tasks are automated server-side, which are user-controlled client-side, and why. Social issues include single user versus multiple user paradigms, artistic soundscape composition versus commercial applications (e.g., games with evolving sound tracks) using public domain sound sources, music as foreground art versus background audio content, and the larger role of sound and music in current society. Audio results will be demonstrated as each topic is addressed. All the source code for this project is free available under the MIT License at []. A live demo is at [].


This article originally appeared in Proceedings of the 2015 Web Audio Conference. IRCAM/Mozilla Corporation, 2015 and can be found online at this link. You can watch the video of the presentation online at this link.

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