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.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Cross-Browser (P2P) Teacher-Student Controls

The aggregator platform in focus here will provide a base for peer-to-peer interaction between instrument teachers and students, but what type and degree of interaction does that imply? Based on available and anticipated web technology, we take a wee peek into the crystal ball.

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

Cross-Browser (P2P) Controls

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World music instrument diversity implies teaching diversity across:

  • delivery
  • music systems
  • instrument models
  • theory tools
  • methodologies
  • elements of style

The platform is foreseen as a wide-reaching enablement tool in a post-employment (post-singularity) society, supporting individual world music teachers connecting with students using video chat.

From a skills point of view, the hope is that students are drawn into an area beyond the algorithmic: that of virtuosity, musicality and diversity.

Note that by 'P2P' here, we are talking sharing of display elements in a teaching or knowledge transfer context. The controls discussed manipulate these graphical elements directly within the linked browser displays. These have nothing in common with P2P file sharing via (for example) torrents.

Several legacy teacher-student interaction models would have been at our disposal, ranging from simple, one-way video or webcast with no student interaction, through webinar with limited interaction, to the web conference, where all participants can communicate and share documents. (There are further models such as blended learning, but our focus here is the purely online).

Yet our data-driven, graphical approach liberates us to go a step further, in that the reference materials (instrument models and theory tools) are an integral and interactive part of the environment itself.

Everything needed for dynamic, immersive learning will be available from the moment teacher and student connect. This implies simple, flexible, fine-grained yet clear inter-browser controls.

Ba─člama / saz Teacher demonstrating chord over video link with tool support. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Teacher-Student Interaction (Photomontage)

This means participants will, in addition to the models and tool themselves, have access to fine grain environment, model and tool configuration and score playback controls.

Teacher-Student Controls

Direct P2P Controls vs Legacy Interaction Modes. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Direct P2P Controls vs Legacy Interaction Modes
We've already identified some of the control mechanisms our P2P approach will make possible. These were identified as being available at a range of levels. Critically, these go beyond simple 'application-level' controls, extending instead to individual models, tools and their interactions.

P2P controls spanning environment, instrument models and theory tools, and score playback. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Cross-Browser (P2P) Controls
All going to plan, participants will be clear on who is teacher and who student, and which capabilities are associated with each role.

The teacher's methodology is to be a success, he or she should be free to configure progressively more challenging learning workflows in the most effective way, and dependent on the various strengths of the individual student.

These decisions may include who has the right to start and stop synchronous playback of scores at each end, whether a student can override a teacher's choice of instrument model or theory tool, or which incidental displays (genre/history/events etc) a student should or should not be able to access at a given time.


With P2P teaching and learning goes latency, but is more of an issue on the receiving end. Our concern is how to reassemble and synchronise disparate video, notation and dependent animations into one harmonious body of movement.

While the above diagram hopefully provides some contextual help, this is clearly a topic that merits some dedicated writing. More on this in the future.

Environmental Controls

  • Instrument models.

    We have two ways of getting to an instrument model, each a two-step process.

    1) The first (and default) method would to select it from the Hornbostel-Sachs hierarchy (accessed through the upper menu bar) using it's classification code or name, which automatically populates the user's 'My Instruments' menu.
     Tree structure acting as instrument model classification hierarchy. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory User's instrument preferences, populated from full list of world instruments. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory

    2) Create the desired instrument from scratch using a generic model.
    Root menu accessing generic, configurable instrument models Dialog allowing user to configure any lute-like instrument from a generic base. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • theory tools

    Theory tools are less numerous than instrument models, so there is no need for generic-to-specific build process. As with instruments, however, we can populate our 'My Tools' menu from our ad-hoc theory tools classification hierarchy.
    Tree allowing user to populate My Tools menu with preferred theory tools. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory Menu of preferred theory tools populated from global theory tool classification tree. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory 
  • genres

    The genre menus are anticipated as providing a means of globally restricting the search for instruments, teachers and so on.
    Genre Hierarchy. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
    Genre Hierarchy
  • events
Radar Instrument Configuration Chart. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Radar Plot (Joint Configuration Tool)

Musical Configuration Controls

  • number of notes per octave
  • temperament or intonation
  • scale, channel or resonant lengths
  • number of courses, channels
  • tunings

  • wind instrument wall thickness
  • bore tapering
  • hole sizes and placement.
Moreover, users have control over global colour schemes, sound libraries and other personal preferences.

Score Playback Controls

Security (privacy) is central, hence in addition to connectivity, control over webcam and microphone, with webcam and microphone given priority.      Connectivity Controls. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • Connectivity controls
      Playback controls. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • Forward, reverse
  • start, end
  • loop A-B

    Playback speed controls. First Cut. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • Playback speed (BPM)

    Voicing controls. First Cut. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • part or voice selection
  • volume, mute
  • show, hide
  • transpose
     Other controls. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
  • Various..


About Cantillate -

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

Comments, questions and (especially) critique welcome.