Press play on the timeline about to hear the visualisation!
Some months back, I embarked on The Bootiful Game’s most ambitious project to date. I wanted to know what the league season would sound like, if all the teams were a musical instrument, and all the goals they scored were notes on a musical score.
The first thing I required was data, and luckily, my friends at Infostrada Sports, were once again happy to deliver, giving me the times (in minutes and seconds) of every single goal scored during the last Premiership campaign; from Luis Suárez’s opening goal, in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland after 11 minutes and 54 seconds of the season, through to Sergio Aguero’s historic league winning strike, after 93 minutes and 20 seconds on the 13th of May.
1066 goals over the course of 380 games, but I didn’t just want to play these notes one after the other to create my song, I wanted the spacings in between each note to be directly proportional to the amount of time that had elapsed in the matches, when the ball crossed the line.
This involved maths, and lots of it.
Firstly, I converted the entire league season into one enormous timeline, so that a game starting at 5:15pm on a Saturday, was placed after all the games that kicked off at 3:00pm. Likewise, a game kicking off at 12:45 was placed on a timeline, just 15 minutes before a game kicking off at 1:00. A game kicking off at 12:45 on a Saturday, would be placed immediately after the end of the Friday night game that had taken place the evening before.
Ultimately, this created a canvas of football that incorporated all 380 matches, but to create a consistent and straightforward time-frame, the minutes and hours needed to be converted into seconds. This meant that Luis Suárez’s goal (11 minutes and 54 seconds) went in after 714 seconds on my timeline and Aguero’s goal went in after 1,071,920 seconds!
Yep, that’s right… the 2011/12 Premier League campaign lasted more than 1 million seconds.
Obviously, I couldn’t create a song that lasted a million seconds (roughly 277 hours), so I condensed it down to 4 minutes, which I felt was a much more suitable length for a song. This did however mean that all my goals were spaced relatively on the timeline: Suarez’s goal now went in after 0.1045 seconds, Mauro Formica’s goal for Blackburn after 0.2644 seconds, closely followed by Ben Watson’s penalty for Wigan after 0.2754 seconds. So on and so forth, until all 1066 goals from the entire season were spaced on a 4 minute timeline. Where a single match took place on a Wednesday night, and ended 0-0, I added 90 minutes (1.2682 seconds) of silence on to the canvas.
Once I had my timeline, I passed the data across to my friend James (@parptweets), who is a sound designer of some brilliance (you can see more of his work at www.parp.tv). Now James knows precisely fuck all about football, but he was able to take the timings and spacing between the goals, and give each team its own unique sound. The resultant melody of 20 instruments, I’m sure you’ll agree is harmonious and entirely lovely.
The final piece of the visualisation is still slightly work-in-progress, but special thanks needs to go to Benjamin Rahn and his site www.mashupbreakdown.com. Mashupbreakdown is a wonderful combination of audio and visuals, and appeared to be the perfect way for me to combine the audio track with visual indicators of the goals as they went in. This area still needs a bit more work, and will hopefully be tweaked in the next few weeks and months.