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. Entirely Graphical Toolset Supporting World Music Teaching & Learning Via Video Chat ◦ Paradigm Change ◦ Music Visualization Greenfield ◦ Crowd Funding In Ramp-Up ◦ Please Share

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Music Visualization - a Roadmap to Virtuosity

Musical virtuosity: the ability to intuitively, freely and playfully navigate a genre's entire musical context (scales, their associated modes, characteristic ornaments and emotional dynamics) in a way that remains true to the expectations of a knowledgable, genre-native listener.

Given the multiple, layered challenges, it's little wonder learning an instrument is acknowledged as one of the few really effective brain training strategies.

Until now (and given enough motivation), for the enthusiast, musical virtuosity was founded years of practice, listening and rather haphazard knowledge gathering.

Central to accelerating this? The right tools, expert advice, direct access to outstanding role models, and increasingly, exploiting understanding of the brain and the core mechanisms of learning.

Yet even as artificial intelligence and machine learning take off, exploitation of the web browser's visualization capabilities -perhaps the most direct path to structured learning- has barely begun.

Without taking this initial step, of revealing world music's many treasures in graphical form, we have no way of integrating a host of other learning advances.

World music's underlying structures are global, cross-cultural and timeless. Help us get them animated, discovered, and put to use by the world's great teachers and ethnic virtuosos.

'Potential Crowd Funder' registration? Further below..

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..

Musical Visualisation

When learning to play a musical instrument, we currently engage three learning modes:
  • ear: directly replicating pitch, dynamics and tension as heard
  • touch (tactile or gesture navigation: how we interact with instruments, their ‘user interfaces’)
  • sight: reading and interpreting music notation, but also interacting with other visual media, whether static theory diagrams, video, or incidentals such as fingering charts
The last that is of particular interest to us here. Without the integration, synchronization and animation of the full range of world music instruments and theory models, it will never realize it's full teaching and learning potential.

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. 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 left?

If this easy, why is data visualization hardly used in music teaching? Why not expose everything in animated, visual form?

In providing advanced, score-driven, interactive models for instruments and music theory, we can satisfy clear learning and teaching needs - from beginner right through to musical virtuoso.

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:
  • perhaps 80% of world music instruments can soon be modeled 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 (ultimately, artificial intelligence) optimized fingering suggestions for every instrument
  • instrument models and theory tools directly linked by shared configuration parameters, so that simple 'what-if' changes to one can instantly be reflected in the other - across the entire spectrum of world music systems.

Potential Crowdfunder?

  • 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.
  • in place of the fixed fingerings of conventional scores, the opportunity to associate (map) a variety of instrument fingerings and elements of style to notation and/or instrument models.
  • every exercise or piece of music acts as driver for a slew of immersive study across multiple tools, contexts and 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 music analysis as an aid to learning prioritization: which parts to practice most, where one can rely on repetition, where octavization 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.
  • color, tonal/timbral and synchronization consistency across the entire spectrum of notation, instrument (finger- or keyboard) roadmap, and theory tool.
  • while recognizing that much world music is purely aural (no written notation) and/or oral (sung) by 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 modeling 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

There is no such thing as invention in isolation from all else going on around us. As part of the preparation for this project, we gathered a huge range of openly available, example information on instrumental and theory tool modeling. The vehicle chosen for this was Pinterest.

These are simply intended to provoke thought about what might be missing. If you spend any time at all amongst these, you will agree there is *vast* potential for social value generation.

Music Theory Esoterica Industry insights World Music Instruments DIY Dance Colour Color. #VisualFutureOfMusic #WorldMusicInstrumentsAndTheory
A Few Of Our Pinterest
Dedicated to World Music Visualisation

Our goal is, in effect, to unite all the areas suggested by the above into one coherent and entirely customizable platform.

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.

I see this as fostering, in it's own way, both diversity and virtuosity. As shown in the diagram, however, there is another dimension: that of peer-to-peer connectivity. This is dealt with in a separate post. Can you find it? :-)


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.