Hand-Drawn Sound Hides Music, Voices On Pieces Of Paper

Hand-Drawn Sound Hides Music, Voices On Pieces Of Paper

Share secret messages in public places with this unique graphical code

Ross Brooks
  • 19 may 2014

PhonoPaper is a unique new way to graphically represent sound, including the human voice, so that you can leave secret messages in even the most obvious of public places. Created by Alexander Zolotov, the idea is based on a Russian synthesizer that was created during the mid-1900s. Available for both iOS and Android, the app brings old technology back to life in a way that it applies to the modern world.

PhonoPaper’s primary function is to convert sounds into images, which makes it easy for them to be re-read by the app. For those with an eye-for-detail, there is also the option to draw your message by hand, which not only allows for more experimentation, but a lot more mistakes in the process. One upside of PhonoPaper is that the code is analogue, which makes it almost immune to distortion caused by things like a poor resolution, lack of light, or wrinkled paper.


The original version of PhonoPaper was the ANS synthesizer, a musical instrument created by Russian engineer Evgeny Murzin which made it possible to obtain a visible image of a sound wave. It too, was able to work in the other direction andsynthesize a sound from an artificially drawn sound spectrogram.

As states on the project’s website:

While the other similar programs are just fun toys, the Virtual ANS is a full-featured professional tool which allows you to create unusual, deep, atmospheric sounds. With this app you can draw a complete piece of music, or convert sound to image (sonogram) and then make some complex sonogram modifications.

For the time being however, just know that you can pass on coded voice messages and secret pieces of music using the app. Due to its niche nature, it would be easy to leave a message on billboards or posters without anyone being able to figure out the code. Textbooks, pieces of art, and other personal items are another option if your message happens to be a little more intimate.


[h/t] CreativeApplications

Images by PhonoPaper

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