TweetDreams is a multimedia musical performance made from live Twitter data. During a performance tweets containing specific terms are retrieved from Twitter's servers, sonified into short melodies, and displayed graphically. The piece is created by three groups of users: the audience, the performers, and the world.

The audience is invited to tweet during performance with a special "local search term". Any tweets with this term are detected by our software and given special musical and graphical prominence.

The performers drive the software and shape the piece by selecting search terms and controlling various musical and graphical parameters.

The "global search terms" are used to bring in tweets from the rest of the world. During a performance, anyone tweeting anywhere in the world with one of these terms becomes a participant, and so TweetDreams becomes a public musical interaction that is simultaneously local and global.

How it works

How do we make music from tweets? We use the basic idea of association. Tweets which are similar get grouped into trees of related tweets, and are given similar melodies. Whenever a new tweet joins a tree it causes the previous tweets in that tree to also play their melodies, creating rippling textures of similar sound.

TweetDreams is implemented in three software components. A python application retrieves tweets from Twitter and calculates associations. Melodies are synthesized in ChucK. And graphics are rendered in Processing.

For more details checkout our paper, TweetDreams: Making music with the audience and the world using real-time Twitter data


Open source code available at GitHub

Performance Videos

Introduction to TweetDreams at TEDx Silicon Valley 2011 from TEDx Silicon Valley.

TweetDreams at Transitions outdoor concert, Sept 16 2010, CCRMA



MiTo Festival

Recent performances

November 16, 2013O-Positive Festival SF, The Convent, SF CA
August 10 2012Creative Technology Forum, GAFFTA, San Francisco, CA
February 10 2012Encountering Data Festival, SUNY Stony Brook, NY
June 1 2011NIME conference, Oslo
May 14 2011TEDxSV, Palo Alto, CA
April 2 2011CCRMA Modulations, SOMArts, San Francisco, CA


TweetDreams was created by Luke Dahl, Jorge Herrera, and Carr Wilkerson at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). The piece was premiered in Milan at the MiTo Settembre Musica festival in 2010.