A computer-aided music composition application using 3D graphics: research and initial design

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


This paper presents the background research and initial design work done on a computer-aided music composition project using 3D graphics. The application is envisioned as an environment where users with varied musical backgrounds can create music by 'sculpting' 3D objects that subsequently have their spatial characteristics mapped to sound parameters. The mapping between a 3D object and its sound involves using the object's silhouette to determine the shape of the ADSR (Attack Decay Sustain Release) sound envelopes associated with the object, thus affecting the object's sound parameters. The 3Dobjects with their associated sounds can then be used to build a 3D scene that represents a musical composition that the user can play. Manipulating an object's size, color, or position in the scene affects the volume, duration, and timbre musical parameters for that object. Literature relevant to the project is reviewed, similar available software products are surveyed and appropriate methodologies and technologies for implementation of the various project modules are proposed. Two different design environments are explored, one utilizing OpenGL and the other using the Smalltalk-80 implementation Squeak. A prototype with limited functionality that was developed in the Squeak environment is presented as a demonstration of Squeak's capabilities and as a visual representation of the project's concept.




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