World Music's DIVERSITY and Data Visualisation's EXPRESSIVE POWER collide. A galaxy of INTERACTIVE, SCORE-DRIVEN instrument model and theory tool animations is born.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Music Visualisation - a Roadmap to Virtuosity

Virtuosity - the ability to intuitively and freely navigate a genre's entire musical context (scales, their associated modes, and it's characteristic dynamics and ornament) in a way that remains true to the expectations of a knowledgable, genre-native listener. Underpinning this ability lie years of practice and assimilation. Could that soon change?

Big, brave, open-source, non-profit, community-provisioned, cross-cultural and bat cave crazy. → Like, share, back-link, pin, tweet and mail. Hashtags? For the crowdfunding: #VisualFutureOfMusic. For the future live platform: #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory. Or just register as a potential crowdfunder..

World Music Visualisation Visualization Aggregator Platform Proof of Concept. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Music Visualisation Aggregator Platform Proof-of-Concept (PoC)

Musical Visualisation

Chromatic Circle Minor Chord Intervals. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
C Minor Chord with Intervals
Musicians hear songs when they read music, non-musicians seek visual patterns.

Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text by the human brain and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.

How many pages of text would would be needed to convey all the information in the diagram to the right?

If it's this easy, why is data visualisation hardly used in music teaching?

Why not expose everything in visual form? That is our goal.

A Galaxy of Musical Opportunity

In driving animations directly from exchange formats such as musicxml or audio, a vast constellation of new, entirely dynamic practice and learning applications is made accessible:
Wikipedia Instrument Collections Montage. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Small selection of world music instruments (from Wikipedia)
  • perhaps 80% of world music instruments can now be modelled in the browser from their generic (family) base.
  • similarly for the related theory tools.
  • complete instrument model tuning freedom, with a vast choice of automatically generated key- and fretboard roadmaps
  • (where desired) algorithmically optimised fingering suggestions for every instrument
  • instrument models and theory tools directly linked by configuration tools, so that simple changes to one are instantly reflected in the other - across the entire spectrum of world music systems.

Potential Crowdfunder?

Pre-Crowdfunding Registration (* indicates required)
Email Format

  • wider music-cultural (modal) landscapes can be explored, where, for example, a specific melody might be visualised in the context of all possible modes of it's native tonal system.
  • comparative world musicology (visual comparison of the musical characteristics -intervals, modes and other musical building blocks- of widely differing musical cultures) will lie within anyone's reach.
  • the opportunity to associate (map) unique elements of style to notation and/or instrument models.
  • every exercise or piece of music opens an own, dedicated field of immersive study across multiple tools, contexts and (possibly genre-alien) instruments.
  • opportunities for synergies with other (non-musical) fields of study, such as mathematics, psychophysics, psychology and -in the widest sense- the visual arts.
  • structural analysis of a piece of music will help with learning prioritisation: which parts to practice most, where one can rely on repetition, where octavisation is required to keep notes within the tonal boundaries of a given instrument, where 'best fit' tonal or chord alternatives can be found and so on.
  • colour can be applied consequently across the entire spectrum of notation, instrument (finger- or keyboard) roadmap, and theory tool.
  • moreover (and recognising that much world music is purely oral in nature), a strong impetus is provided for the extension of exchange formats such as MusicXML to include music systems and cultures not currently represented.
This new transparency and modelling reach will fuel further knowledge advancement, mutual understanding and accessibility, helping to protect existing musical diversity, enhance the teacher's role, accelerate new learner progress and promote hitherto undreamed-of musical experiment.

A Roadmap to Virtuosity

Music Theory Esoterica Industry insights World Music Instruments DIY Dance Colour Color. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Screenshot of Individual Pinterest pinboards dedicated to world music visualization
When learning to play a musical instrument, we currently engage four learning modes:
  • ear: directly replicating pitch, dynamics and tension as heard
  • sight reading: interpreting music notation
  • touch (tactile or gesture navigation: how we interact with instruments, their ‘user interfaces’)
  • static visualisations (abstract mental models of the above, sometimes of the relationships between them)
The last realises only a shadow of full visualisation potential.

Our goal is, in effect, to unite all the areas touched on in the above pinboards into one coherent and entirely customisable interface.

The following diagram attempts to show the way forward. Our current position is at the threshold between blue and cream areas, the medium term goal person-to-person teaching and learning worldwide.

Existing and future dynamic music learning capabilities. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Existing and Future Dynamic Cloud-Based Learning Capabilities
I see this as fostering, in it's own way, both diversity and virtuosity.


About Cantillate -

Autodidact. Laird o' the Windy Wa's. Serial Failure with Attitude. Bit of a Dreamer..

Comments, questions and (especially) critique welcome.