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Author David Luebbert
Posted 3/25/10; 2:07:07 PM
Msg# 5731 (top msg in thread)
Prev/Next 5730/5732
Reads 462370

Score Animations Rendered in a few seconds by a new SongTrellis Animation Service

I'm working on an Animation Service that any visitor to SongTrellis can use to generate an animation that shows precisely how a musical score they specify should be interpreted at any tempo. If you don't know how to read music, these animations will precisely demonstrate for you how a score is performed, show how music notation is translated into audible musical sound.

The process of rendering the animation as a QuickTime movie for small scores usually completes in less than 20 seconds. Frequently it completes before 5 seconds have elapsed. Rendering large scores can take a minute or two.

Since the animation rendering process does not complete instantaneously, animation requests can stack up during busy periods, so requests are queued and a progress report is returned so that users can anticipate when their animation will be ready to watch.

I believe that early users of the service will find that animations render quite quickly.

Initially, you'll be able to use this facility even if you are not signed in a member of the SongTrellis site, in the interest of getting folks to kick the tires on this new feature of the site.

What does a score animation look like?

When a score animation begins to play, a blank music staff is displayed onscreen in the animation video's display area as its soundtrack starts to sound. At the instant each new note or chord sounds in the score or when a rest initiates a period of silence in a score voice, those score elements are added to the staff, showing a visual equivalent of each musical sensation that you hear in the performance.

As a piece plays, you see a traveling wave of notation that grows to the right. When staff real estate is exhausted on the bottom right of the score image , the page is turned, and a blank staff is drawn for the next measures of the composition to play onto. The animation continues in this manner until the performance of the music ends.

Here are several animations I created while I tested and debugged the Animation Server:

Click on the links to play them. You'll see a download progress indication shade the animation's scroll bar from left to right as the animation downloads to your computer. On most web browsers, the performance of the animation will stutter until the download completes. If you decide to press the play button on the movie controller early to experience the stutter, you can restart the animation after download completion by pressing play a second time or slide the scroll bar thumb to the left to experience it properly without playback hesitations.

Luebbert, why are you working on this?

I originally implemented this animation facility in my music editor thinking that viewing scores properly animated would help me in my musical studies and would give me better feedback and help develop better intuition as I composed new music.

Animated scores have proved to extremely useful to me in my own musical development, so I want to see if they make a difference for visitors to the SongTrellis site when I deliver them via a commonly used video format.

Besides that, I have some pride that perhaps I've created something before anyone else in the world has thought to do it. So far as I can tell, no one has tried to provide such a service on the Internet before now.

Can I claim the prize? Eventually I'll find out. If I'm not the first, I'll be one of the first.

You can make score animations for yourself using the SongTrellis site right now

Here's a newly composed score presented by Tunetext service that's available on SongTrellis: Slow Melody 2-23-2010
Click on music to play

If you mouse click once on top of this music, this music will play and a Tunetext page will launch.

A Tunetext Service response page is a kind of factory for building music examples that you can publish on your own websites. In a second or two's time, the service builds a MIDI sequence and score image for a piece of music encoded within a music description that's recorded inside a URL, whenever such a URL is submitted to the SongTrellis site. The server decodes Tunetext URL score descriptions and builds the score that was specified in the URL.

To respond to a Tunetext request, the service builds a page that performs the music as a background sound and displays the score image for the music, both of which you can download to your own computer.

Below the score image on that page, several sets of links are listed that generate HTML code so that you can present this newly created music on your own websites in a number of different formats. There's a link included with each set to email the HTML to your email mailbox.

It's also easy to submit your music to SongTrellis so that you show up in our SongTrellis Composer listing, if you care to present your work here.

Watch for the "Create an animation" link on Tunetext pages

Immediately below the Tunetext score image I've included a new link titled "Create an animation for this tunetext". If you click on that link an animation corresponding to that score will be built by the site's Animation Server. As soon as the animation is added to the service's rendering queue, a web page is shown that shows you the link that you'll use to access your animation when it's ready to play.

While the animation is being rendered, if you click on that link you'll see a progress message that reports its position in the queue if it needs to wait for rendering or the number of seconds since rendering started if the rendering process has started. You refresh the progress page to get a new progress report.

When the animation is ready to ship to your web browser, the progress report is replaced by the actual animation which will start to render in your browser, if the browser is set up to play QuickTIme movies. If you like what you saw and heard, you can press that Back button on your browser and use your browser's download process to save your own copy of the animation on your machine.

You can customize a score a great deal by tweaking Tunetext parameters before you send it to be animated.

If you press the "Edit Tunetext Parameters' button on a Tunetext page, a page will launch that will contain many different parameter settings that you can change. You can change instrumentation or the score tempo. You can choose how many staff systems should be visible in the animation and the width of the animation. You can choose to play the score with a click track that metronomically marks the beat in your piece. You can color pitches in the score differently to help you identify the melodic or harmonic meaning of a particular note in the score.

Any other easy ways to get hold of a Tunetext page so we can start an animation?

A high percentage of the tune pages in The Changes department of SongTrellis, include a link towards the bottom to the SongTrellis Excerpt Service. This provides a form that lets you take a slice out of score that has been posted on SongTrellis and play it, loop it or customize it for yourself.

Once you set the bounds of your excerpt and press the Play button in the Excerpt Service form, a link will be displayed on the line immediately below the Play button ithat's titled "Launch tunetext page for this excerpt". Clicking that link will launch a Tunetext page, which will include the "Create an animation for this tunetext" link that you can use to request generation of a new animation.

Can I animate an existing musical composition that I have music for?

If you have sheet music for it, it can be a pretty fast operation to transcribe that into a tunetext stream that describes your music. You can type the tunetext description directly into Tunetext Entry form that you can access via the URL

Once you press the "Submit" button on the entry form, the music specified by the tunetext will be synthesized and displayed as a score image. The "Create an animation for this tunetext" link will be provided below the score image.

Can I animate a score that I've composed using SongTrellis Workscore Composer page?

Sure. Right above the image of your score in your composer window, there's a link titled "Create Tunetext URL for Workscore". Follow that, and you'll see the "Create an animation for this tunetext" link on the tunetext page that launches.

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Last update: Monday, July 19, 2010 at 5:39 PM.