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Friday, March 10, 2017


Music Visualisation: Motivation

Community music and dance have been a cornerstone of social life for millennia, yet music funding, literacy and social contact are if anything in decline.

I like to toy around with mappings of these and the other benefits of music making into the Japanese concept of 'Ikigai', which depicts the foundational elements of personal fulfillment: our 'reason for being'. In essence a homage to intellect and free thought, it gives useful context to all the above.

As the technological 'singularity' bites and meaningful work evaporates, Ikigai (and especially 'that which you can be paid for') seem likely to assume a far more prominent role in the lives and thoughts of ordinary people.

Payment aside, many young people are already experimenting with other means to give their lives meaning. Many, I have the impression, launch themselves into ad-hoc, roving music projects. In this respect, I think we can already see the beginnings of a musical renaissance.

If we are serious about own wellbeing (and especially in an emerging era of boundless free time), cultural and social contact, projects, interworking and interaction are something that should concern us all. Here, music and dance can play a central role.

Touchy-Feely Heaven

Music is -with it's roots in early cultural identification- tightly bound to notions of identity.

Moreover, as our hands feature strongly in the brain and motor cortex (which plans, controls and executes voluntary motor functions), playing music is a potential fountain of dopamine-laced reward.

Traditional forms of dance are also the closest we get to our fellow humans free of commitment. Pheromone and peptide highs at zero risk.

The advantages of playing music are widely documented elsewhere. Making music, it turns out, is a remarkably holistic activity that gives pleasure at many levels. Here a few benefits that go a little deeper than those above:
  • empowering projects (self-chosen, personal control over all activities including their difficulty)
  • immersion in a sense of 'flow' (continuity and absorption, competence, association, and autonomy)
  • the tactile, visual and aural qualities of crafted instruments anchored (in their form, tone or timbre, materials and finishes) in stabilizing tradition. Home from home for brass, metal, wood and leather fetishists :-)
  • cross-cultural exposure (reduce 'fear of the unknown', drive wealth distribution, further comparative musicological understanding)
  • transformational experience (the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and the disruptive power of collective individuality)
  • company, social contact, networking (mental health and the mitigation of problem behaviors associated with marginalization)
Beyond singularity considerations, music's contribution to wellbeing is perhaps at it's highest during:

    Potential Crowdfunder?

  • high stress episodes
  • later life stages (recently in the media in reducing the isolatory effects of dementia)
  • when employment, life options, or social network are underdeveloped or compromised
Music learning has traditionally been a face-to-face process, subtly enriched with behavioral triggers and cues to emotional state. These are of huge help in judging both progress and blockage. The transition to online learning is fraught with difficulties - and opportunity.

What, then, are the challenges UNanswered by current music learning offerings, why address these through (of all things) technology, and why in particular using music visualization? Here the nitty-gritty of this post:

Musical Visualization: Motivation

Musicians 'Hear' the Written Note
Learners seek visual models
Only Very Few Instruments
Have An Interactive Internet Presence
Music Theory Fluency Is Vital, But..
Static, Context-Starved & Indigestible
No Classification System
For Music Theory Visual Tools & Models
'Other' Vibrant World Music Systems
Are Poorly Understood
Music Literacy Is In Decline
With Dramatic Impact On Life Skills
Musical-Emotional Intelligence
In Decay. 'Attrition By Algorithm'
Good Teachers, Motivated Learners
Geographically Scattered
'App Culture'
→ Fragmentation & Dumbing-Down
No Visualisation Platform
For Score-Driven Instruments & Tools
Intimacy & Authenticity Marginalized
By Industry Revenue Targets
No Focussed Social Media Hub
For Grass-Roots DIY Music Exchange
"Standalone" Working Mindset
No Remote / P2P Interworking
"Hard-Coded" Fingerings
No Support For Fingering Diversity
Wealth Concentration
Community Earnings Marginalized
No Configuration Mechanisms
No Visualization Diversity
Legacy Transformation Technologies
User Experience Impoverishment
Limited Integration
Little Sense Of Immersion
Predatory Legal Confections
Musical 'Commons' Rights Erosion

At heart, most of these are communication problems, something at which the internet seems (sic) to excel. Given visual rather than written expression, though, these are easily overcome.

So let's try to map these into the communication workflows of a hypothetical, state of the current art music learning platform. (Basically a train crash..):

And now, the much simpler and more coherent layout our approach will achieve.

The end goal? A remote interworking environment fully integrated and synchronized around the current source (here, score), and which can be propagated to a learner with a single click or tap.

Straight away things begin to make much more sense. If we look at the underlying workflows, they are simple and logical, allowing a number of dramatic technical improvements and integrations. The following diagram hints at the possibilities.

Working from the bottom of the diagram, we pick up instrument and theory tool discriptions from their respective classification trees, where not already done configure them, hook them up to the source (here a MusicXML file), and, based on the dynamic selections generated directly from the notation during playback, animate the tools onscreen.

There are integration opportunities at multiple points (some points of potential AI application are shown). There are of course many others for related fields.

Big, brave, open-source, non-profit, community-provisioned, cross-cultural and squirrel 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..

Having arrived at a roadmap for improvement, can we anticipate and visualize some human benefits and concerns? These will be important for our ongoing motivation:

Music Visualisation: Responses

Visualisation Toolset: Growth Of Live Streamed Teaching #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryGrowth Of Live Streamed Teaching
No Supporting Toolkit. Yet.
Music Visualisation: Exploit The Platform, Free The Mind. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Exploit The Platform

Free The Mind
P2P Music Teaching & Visualization. One Tiny World. Say Hallo. Share The Groove. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
One Tiny World

Say Hallo, Share The Groove.
Music Visualisation: Value Where It's Needed. Let Wealth Flow #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Value Where It's Needed

Let Wealth Flow
Visual Processing In The Brain: 60,000 x Faster Than For Text #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryVisual Processing In The Brain
60,000 x Faster Than For Text
Drip Feed Out, DIY and Musical Intimacy In. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Drip Feed Out

DIY, Exchange & Intimacy In

Physical mobility is freedom, yet many young adults have already lost the simple skipping step mastered by the age of 5.

Music: Last Refuge Of The Disenfranchised #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Grass Roots Musical Empowerment

Last Refuge Of The Disenfranchised
Music: Global Language And Vehicle For The Emotions #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryMusic: Global Language
Vehicle For The Emotions
Music Visualisation: Skip Toxic Travel & Overheads. P2P-Connect Virtuoso And Student. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Skip Toxic Travel & Overheads

P2P-Connect Virtuoso And Student
Dance And Music Are Central To Wellbeing And Contentment #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryPromote DIY Dance and Music?
Promote Wellbeing and Contentment
World Music Instruments: Mass Extinction Event #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryMass Extinction Event
Culture Is Fragile
More Social Contact, Less Social Projection. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryMore Social Contact
Less Social Projection

Dance and music -improvised or otherwise- offer 'instant inclusion'. Response, harmony & syncopation? Playful forms of dialog.

Music Literacy Is In Decline  #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheoryWith Dramatic Impact
On Multiple Life Skills
Music Visualisation: Vulnerability Is Innovations Birthplace  #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory'Vulnerability'
Innovation's Birthplace
Fire Up Nature's Highs: Pheromones and Peptides. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
Reactivate Nature's Highs
Fire Up Dancer's Pheromones and Peptides


online music learning,
online music lessons
distance music learning,
distance music lessons
remote music lessons,
remote music learning
p2p music lessons,
p2p music learning
music visualisation
music visualization
musical instrument models
interactive music instrument models
music theory tools
musical theory
p2p music interworking
p2p musical interworking
comparative musicology
world music
international music
folk music
traditional music
P2P musical interworking,
Peer-to-peer musical interworking
WebGL, Web3D,
WebVR, WebAR
Virtual Reality,
Augmented or Mixed Reality
Artificial Intelligence,
Machine Learning
Scalar Vector Graphics,
3D Cascading Style Sheets,

Comments, questions and (especially) critique welcome.