Hello! Today I want to talk about the content of the following video, in which Professor Elaine Chew talks about MuSA.RT, an application to visualize structures in music:
MuSA.RT stands for “Music on the Spiral Array . Real-Time” and is developed by Elaine Chew and Alexandre François at the University of Southern California. The tool maps real time MIDI information from a piano keyboard to pitch names in a certain structure. The closest chord and the closest key are calculated and the structure is visualized on a 3D spiral, which represents a certain key. (There is more information in the video but there is no need for us here to go deeper into the music theory.)
With MuSA.RT you can see the evolution of tonal patterns in music (like chords and key changes) over time. It can for example be used to see how well the music sticks to what is “expected”. In the video this is illustrated with a piece that has a “jazzy, funky twist” to it, and the difference with a predictable structure can clearly be seen.
I think that one of the most interesting advantages of this visualization is that musicians can take an entirely different look at various options to create other kinds of music to express themselves in different ways; maybe they get ideas to try certain things that they would not have thought of in their usual process of making music. What do you think? Is this a useful tool? Do you know anything else like it?