Sunday, February 16, 2003

I'm taking a break from my Fundamentals work while I brainstorm some solutions to an obstacle, so I dusted off some work I did last summer on a melodic pattern recognizer. The only parts I actually finished were the data structures for intervals and pitches, and enharmonic rules. With this code, the computer can create a variety of scales from any given note and determine enharmonic equivalents to any pitch. I've posted an applet that shows this off for the desperately bored (requires a Java plug-in, like the Monopulator, and will probably be slow to load).

After picking a scale type, you get a list of scales built on each of twelve starting pitches. Clicking on one of those scales brings up two more panels. The left panel shows the computer's thought process for deciding what to call some enharmonic pitch (if it ever saw a Dbb in C Major, it would replace it with a C). The right panel shows how the computer would interpret MIDI pitch numbers, based on the key signature (MIDI pitch #2 could be called Db or C# depending on the key, of course).

It looks pretty underwhelming when you just fiddle around with the applet. The part that's cool (in a geeky way) is that none of it is hard-coded: all the logic is based on an arbitrary set of rules that the computer follows each time it encounters a pitch or interval. So at some rudimentary level, the computer understands the difference and context of a minor third versus an augmented second.

This was as far as I got before the summer ended and I became a musician again.

Bonus points for anyone who can identify the Nintendo theme I remixed today:
Remix (MP3, 1.14MB)
ZIP of Remix Finale File (62 KB)

The VT music server is running pretty slowly today, so be patient.

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