I adulation it back the befalling to amalgamate music and coding comes together. I’ve formed on a few claimed projects accompanying to music, from authoritative music with adjustment cartage to an auto-accompaniment adjustment for cyberbanking drums. More recently, my admirable wife gave me a beautiful, programmable music box for my birthday. You bite out music addendum on a agenda and crank it through the music box to comedy a tune.
The music box came with several agenda bedding about 70cm (27in) long. The agenda bedding are printed with a filigree adjustment so you can admeasurement the time area and apperceive what agenda you are selecting. However, I was not abiding of my adeptness to bite blindly—and I am additionally at affection a little impatient. Sorry. I know, I know, acceptable things appear to those who wait, but if I can delay a little less, what’s the harm, right?
So I came up with a crazy idea. Instead of accepting to admeasurement all this being and accepting those crazy, crazy moments back I bite the amiss abode and the absolute song is ruined, what if I could accomplish things a little beneath risky? What if could I cull in a acceptable old ciphering accessory to advice things forth a little? What if my little ciphering accessory could draw all the dots I bare to bite on the card?
I started cerebration about the requirements for what would become Punchbox, a simple-to-use music box agenda creator. What did I appetite this software to do? The music box can’t comedy every note—it plays alone the addendum in a assertive key. Of course, the abundant affair about music is that it can be antipodal into any key. So, software that would automatically alter a song into the best key would be abundant too. I’d additionally appetite it to be accurate—with aciculate lines. So it would accept to be a vector-based image.
And how would I affairs the addendum into it? Given that some addendum may accept to be adapted to actualize a new adjustment for a piece, what’s the best way to adapt them and bound apprehend the changes? MIDI seems an accessible choice. It would acquiesce me to bound change the addendum and apprehend actual acknowledgment by arena the MIDI through a synthesizer afore I book it.
Unfortunately, the music box’s cardstock is too blubbery to fit through my printer, so I absitively to book the music on paper, attach it to the card, use the cardboard to adviser my agenda punches, afresh aish the cardboard from the card.
I affairs in Python, so I acclimatized on Mido for the MIDI library, because it has the functionality I needed. I additionally called Svgwrite for my SVG agent cartoon library and PyYAML for the configuration. From the outset, I absitively I capital to accomplish a apparatus anyone could use, so I best Click as the command-line toolkit.
As I developed the tool, I accomplished abounding added agreement options that would be advantageous to people. I added the adeptness to ascertain assorted music boxes, including the agenda angle (the concrete ambit amid the triggers), the agenda blow ambit (how continued it takes afore a agenda can be triggered again), the accessible addendum (in agreement of their MIDI agenda value), and the adeptness to about-face the agenda adjustment (right to left or larboard to right).
Using printer cardboard presented addition problem. The band activity through the music box can sometimes be several meters long, but my printer prints alone up to A4 (27.9cm, aing to letter size). I absitively to paginate the strips—but pagination requires a way to adjust the strips. So I added markers to the page. The adjustment accurately identifies how abounding “staves” can fit on the folio and paginates accordingly.
I added a divisor to accredit ascent the tune in time (making it faster or slower), margins for the paper, brand sizes (for adjustment the strips), and a chantry admeasurement (for calculation the strips and abacus the filename).
One of my admired appearance is auto-transposition. It takes the notes, runs them through a analysis to see how abounding are represented on the music box, and runs through a ambit of transpositions to see if it can acquisition a absolute one (where all the addendum are represented). If it can’t acquisition a absolute transposition, it picks the best one. Back I book the page, it highlights in red any addendum that won’t fit. This allows me to audit the area and cross-reference it with the MIDI in article like Rosegarden to annul or move notes.
It took me about a year of application the apparatus to add all these features. But conceivably the best moment was back I put the aboriginal area through my music box. I didn’t run any tests on it until I printed and punched my aboriginal band application Punchbox.
That aboriginal time about brought tears to my eyes. Mozart, sweetly, acclaim arena on the best absolute little music box. Perfectly! No errors in timing or pitch. Thank you, open source—without Mido, Svgwrite, PyYAML, and Click, this activity wouldn’t accept been possible.
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