Wu-Hsi Li  -  2008/8/20

Musicpainter is a networked graphical composing environment which aims to encourage sharing and collaboration between users. It has an easy-to-use composing interface, which turns music score into colorful painting.  It guides the users to begin composing by creating mini-composition such as a melody or rhythm pattern, which we called musical brick. These bricks are collected and organized as a shared composing resource, which becomes a dynamic source of inspiration. The users can also browse and hack music pieces composed by others through the music browser. Musicpainter is not only a composing interface, it provides an environment where users can gather and learn how to compose from each other. It creates a place where different musical perspectives collide.  














Complete .rar file (for windows) [download

If you already have python/pygtk installed in your computer, please use this link instead (for windows) [download]]. 

Linux and Mac version will be available soon.


[Install and Execution]

1. Execute "install.bat", it will install 5 software packages on your computer: python, gtk+, pygtk, pycairo, pygobject. Related information about these software packages are available in the following link:

2. Execute "play.bat", it will start a version check and then the Musicpainter. When the version is not up to date, it will automatically download the latest version from the server. 

======    Caution    ======

      Musicpainter will trigger a music synthesizer program - csound(csnd.exe) running in the background, and it will also connect to the Musicpainter ftp server located in the media lab. If you receive warning from your firewall or anti-virus software, please make sure you choose to allow any network traffic between these programs. 

======   I hear no sound. Why?   ======

  It happens when the main program is unable to communicate with the synthesizer. Make sure you choose to allow any network traffic between Musicpainter and csnd.exe, then please quit the program and re-run it. 

3. No account is needed, but you are required to input a name in the login window. You can use a pseudonym if you are somewhat shy about sharing your music composition.  

======    About privacy    ======

  When the system connects/disconnects to the ftp server, it will automatically generates a log at the server. In addition, when you press 'save', your music composition will be uploaded to our FTP server. Musicpainter will **not** collect any other user information.


[Basic Features]

1. Imagine you are using the painting program, drawing on the canvas with your mouse cursor. The difference is that you create sounds in every stroke. The x-y position and color of the block determines time, pitch, and instrument of the note. Percussion instrument is mapped to purple. 

2. Click on "Play" button (Keyboard shortcut: "Space") to play music. You can use the slider on top-right to change the tempo of music during playing (Keyboard shortcut: "Left" and "Right"). Press "Up" and "Down" to shift the pitch. 

3. A wider color block means a longer note. The horizontal-adjacent grids will be connected for non-percussion instrument. You may use the scissor tool to cut/uncut a long note.

4. The mapping between vertical axis and pitch is major scale by default. To change the mapping, please switch to "Scale" tab in the musical brick box below. You will see six different scale bricks: they are major, minor, chromatic, Chinese pentatonic, Japanese pentatonic, and blue note scale, respectively. Drag the brick onto the canvas to apply the change. Play again. The painting on the canvas will be re-interpreted according to the new mapping.  

5. To change the volume of an individual note, please select the 'P' or 'F' tool on the toolbar and click on any note. The darkness of the color will reflect to the change of loudness. Different modes of volume change like crescendo, or diminuendo are available by clicking on the 'P' or 'F' tool multiple times. 

6. With the selection tool (the one with a frame icon), you can select all notes within a region. After selecting musical notes, you can move it around, or copy it by dragging it all the way down to the brick area. 


[Advance Feature]

1. In Musicpainter, all music creation is saved as a composition or a musical brick. In general, musical bricks are small music patterns such as the melody, rhythm, or chord, which are the components of a music composition. 

2. The painting on the canvas will be saved as a composition. Below the canvas is the musical brick box, which stores the material for composing. The patterns on the musical brick box will be saved as musical bricks. 

3. To create a musical brick, please select musical notes on the canvas, drag it, and drop it down on the brick box. It will be placed in working area. To copy and paste a musical pattern, please drag a brick and drop it on the canvas. 

4. In the musical brick box, each brick is placed in one of the six categories. You can move a brick to a different category by drag-and-drop. 

5. Shared musical bricks will be placed in the category " Collected Melody" or "Collected Rhythm". The program creates a random selection for you. Click on any musical brick to play the music. 

6. If you would like to collect shared bricks by yourself, click the "Explore" button (right next to the brick box) to get into the browser. You can filter the musical bricks by author, type, or musical scale. To collect the music bricks, please drag (from the browser) and drop (on the box).

7. Please click the other "Explore" button (right next to the canvas) to browser compositions. After selecting a piece of composition, press "Load" to load it. Feel free to hack a piece from others. You won't overwrite the original version and your new edition will contain a note about the history of the composition. 



Musicpainter is developed by Wu-Hsi Li. If you have any question, please contact me:  wuhsi A-T media D0T mit D0T com