Easter Eggs: Hidden Tracks and Messages in Musical Mediums

Jonathan Weinel, Darryl Griffiths, Stuart Cunningham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

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‘Easter eggs’ are hidden components that can be found in
computer software and various other media including
music. In this paper the concept is explained, and various
examples are discussed from a variety of mediums including analogue and digital audio formats. Through this discussion, the purpose of including easter eggs in musical mediums is considered. We propose that easter eggs can serve to provide comic amusement within a work, but can also serve to support the artistic message of the artwork. Concealing easter eggs in music is partly dependent on the properties of the chosen medium; vinyl records may use techniques such as double grooves, while digital formats such as CD may feature hidden tracks that follow long periods of empty space. Approaches such as these and others are discussed. Lastly, we discuss some software components we have developed ourselves in
Max/MSP, which facilitate the production of easter eggs
by performing certain sequences of notes, or as a result of
time-based events. We therefore argue that computer
music performances present unique opportunities for the
incorporation of easter eggs. These may occur to the
surprise of audiences, performers and composers, and
may support the artistic purpose of compositions as a
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Computer Music Conference Proceedings, 2014
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherInternational Computer Music Association
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event40th International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) joint with the 11th Sound & Music Computing conference (SMC): Music Technology meets Philosophy: From Digital Echos to Virtual Ethos - Athens, Greece
Duration: 14 Sept 201420 Sept 2014


Conference40th International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) joint with the 11th Sound & Music Computing conference (SMC)
Abbreviated titleICMC | SMC | 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright: © 2014 Jonathan Weinel, Darryl Griffiths and Stuart Cunningham. This is an open-access article dis- tributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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