Spiral Music Visualization | Hackaday

Viewing notes live as they are played can be a very powerful learning tool, but it is typically used for learning to play a specific instrument. This approach to the subject is actually a good way to learn more about music theory – how pitches work together to build the sounds we hear. The chosen visual tack organizes each of the 12 notes in a spiral. As you continue to climb the ladder through more octaves, heights that share the same name line up in a line like a ray projecting from the sun. There are therefore 12 spokes for the notes of the scale: do, do # / re ♭, re, re # / mi ♭, fa, etc.

[mechatronicsguy] built it a few years ago, but we’ve only just documented it, and we’re glad it did. The layout of the notes at first glance looks like a colorful visualization. But as he mentions in his description, this assigns a shape to each different type of cord. A major chord will have the same shape whether it is played with C, G #, B ♭ or any other note as the root. The shape simply rotates around the axis according to this root note. Higher octaves will be displayed further on the spoke, but the shape of the chord will still be the same. Minor, augmented, even modal chords and those with additional heights all have their own unique shape on the screen.

You get the best understanding of the visualization by looking at the version rendered by Python in the video below. It’s a nice touch that the notes turn gray and fade after being released so you can kind of see where the current chord is coming from. This is not strictly an advantage of pre-registrations. While you can provide it with MIDI files, you can also play a MIDI instrument and view the visuals live on the hardware version which uses a Teensy with an audio shield.

If you’re looking for examples of how music visualizers are used to teach the instrument, look no further than this replica of the Wurlitzer Note Visualizer. Also for those who don’t know, the song played in the material demo (second video below) is Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. Definitely worth listening to, it will change your life.

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