Music links
random trip report

Various music-related web sites.

Journals and conferences

Sadly, the following use the (horrible, rip-off) "pay to view" model:


I subdivide this as follows:

"Nuance analysis": studying a corpus of performances.

  • Statistical: study the statistics of the nuance.
  • Model-based: find specific parameterized functions that fit the data.

"Nuance generation": adding nuance to a rendition.

  • AI-based: train a neural net with a corpus of performances.
  • Algorithmic: add nuance with deterministic rules based on pitch contour etc.
  • Explicit: a human specifies nuance.

These are related; e.g. a system for explicit nuance generation provides a set of primitives, and ideally these would be chosen based on model-based analysis.

Manfred Clynes and Superconductor

Manfred Clynes did work on explicit (and possibly algorithmic) nuance generation, in the context of a Windows program called SuperConductor. Superconductor does audio synthesis (e.g. of bowed string sounds). It provides control (through a GUI) of high-level (e.g. crescendi) and note-level (e.g. vibrato) nuance. It supports nonlinear curves (exponentials, cubic splines?). It looks rigid and limited. It comes with a few pieces by "The Great Composers" (in a proprietary format) that you can add nuance to. It can also import/export MIDI.

There are a bunch of examples on YouTube, all from Beethoven string quartets. These are not bad - they have nuance with appropriate general properties. However, the nuance is excessive, and it's clear within a few seconds that it's computer-generated.

This is based on Clynes' theory of acoustic aesthetics/emotion called "Sentic forms", which holds that composers have characteristic "hierarchical pulses". This is pretty vague and speculative. Also, all of Clynes' stuff (including his self-authored Wikipedia page) has an uncomfortably high level of self-promotion.

Papers by Clynes:

Bruno Repp


  • MAESTRO: a corpus of piano performances (MIDI file and audio).


Papers that study performance nuance, and show actual data.

Taylor & Francis: no Semantic scholar: sometimes researchgate: sometimes yes (arabic)

Automated nuance:

Analysis of musical structure

Notation, scores, and editors

  • Message boards about music notation. Some very knowledgeable participants.
  • LilyPond: a textual Latex-like notation language, and software that renders it graphically. Feature-rich, and the site explores notational issues. Supports proportional notation and grid lines.
  • MuseScore: desktop score editor. Open source. Uses MusicXML or its own file format. Used to support LilyPond; no longer does.
  • Noteflight: web-based score editor. Open-source.
  • Finale: desktop score editor, commercial.
  • Sibelius: desktop score editor. Commercial, limited version is free. No "export" option AFAIK.
  • Ardour: Open-source DAW
  • ScoreCloud. Web-based score editor. Save to local file only if pay.
  • Flat. Web-based score editor.
  • A course in music notation at Stanford
  • IMSLP: archive of public domain music scores (PDF).
  • forScore: app to display PDF scores.

Score scanning

File formats


  • MIDIUtil Lightweight Python library for generating MIDI files.
  • Midi-writer: a possibly better library for this
  • Music 21 fancy python toolkit for computational musicology
  • JythonMusic: python music and graphics
  • SCAMP: time deformations in Python?

Music instruction

  • Several online courses by my friend Marc Sabatella: MuseScore, basic theory, harmony, counterpoint.
  • Tomplay: an app follows along with you in the score. They sell the scores, which are in a proprietary format.
  • Playground, a piano instruction method where you play along with simplified interactive scores, and the computer plays other parts so it sounds good. Cool idea, pretty well done.
  • Smartmusic. Music-teaching software.

Audio rendering (MIDI to audio)

  • Pianoteq: a piano VST based on modeling rather than sampling (which provides various advantages). Sounds really good.
  • VSTHost: Win MIDI player for VST instruments. Looks unmaintained for a few years?
  • VstPlayer MIDI player w VST. Win?
  • Soundfont MIDI Player Win, VST
  • Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 Mc/Win, VST. $213. Lets you control via Ethernet
  • Piano VST instruments
  • Kontakt - the 'definitive sampling platform'. I have no idea what this means.
  • Scala: software for defining scales and exporting them in synth-specific formats.

Spatialization and HRTFs

Learning materials:


Audio I/O libraries

Distributed performance

Copyright 2023 © David P. Anderson