Category Archive Symbolische Programmierung

ByFlorian Simon

PixelWaltz: Sonification of images in OpenMusic

Abstract: The OpenMusic program PixelWaltz can be used to convert images into symbolic representations of music (pitches and onset times). Options for image manipulation are available with which the result can be additionally influenced.

Responsible persons: Florian Simon

Mapping: Pitch

The pixels of the image are scrolled through line by line and the respective red, green and blue values (between 0 and 1) are mapped to a desired pitch range. This means that three pitch values in midicent are always obtained from one pixel. As two adjacent pixels are similar in many cases, this mapping method often results in repeating patterns every three notes. This is the reason for the title of the project.

It is also possible to limit the number of note values output.

Mapping: Application times

A constant value can be set for the start times and note durations. A humanizer effect can also be switched on, which randomly shifts each note forwards or backwards within a specified range. Starting from the basic tempo, accelerandi and ritardandi can be created by passing lists of three numbers. These represent the start note, end note and speed of the tempo change. (20 50 -1) creates an accelerando from note 20 to note 50, in which the intervals per note become one millisecond shorter. A positive third value corresponds to a ritardando.


Different random ranges for “red”, “green” and “blue” notes can be defined for the volume or velocity. The values generated in this way can also be modulated sinusoidally so that, for example, the volume can rise and fall over longer periods of time. This requires the specification of a wavelength in the number of notes and the maximum deviation factor.


PixelWaltz offers the option of generating an accompanying voice, which consists of individual additional tones in a desired fixed note number frequency. If this is not divisible by 3, a polymetric is often created. The pitch is determined randomly and can be between 3 and 6 semitones below the respective “accompanied” note.

Image processing

In order to create further variation, the sonification section of PixelWaltz is preceded by tools for manipulating the input image. In addition to adjusting the image size, brightness and contrast, it is also possible to shift the color values and thus recolor the image. The changes in the musical translation are immediately noticeable: More brightness leads to a higher average pitch, more contrast reduces the number of different pitch values. With a blue-dominated image, the last notes of the triplet will usually be the highest.

Sound results

The tonal results naturally differ depending on the input – but photographed material in particular often leads to the same wave-like overall structure, which winds irregularly and at a slow tempo chromatically, sometimes upwards, sometimes downwards. The accompaniment supports this effect and can form a counter-pulse to the main voice.


Extension of the acousmatic study – 3D 5th-order Ambisonics

This article is about the fourth iteration of an acousmatic study by Zeno Lösch, which was carried out as part of the seminar “Visual Programming of Space/Sound Synthesis” with Prof. Dr. Marlon Schumacher at the HFM Karlsruhe. The basic conception, ideas, iterations and the technical implementation with OpenMusic will be discussed.

Responsible persons: Zeno Lösch, Master student Music Informatics at HFM Karlsruhe, 2nd semester



A Python script was used to obtain parameters for modulation.

This script makes it possible to scale any image to 10 x 10 pixels and save the respective pixel values in a text file. “99 153 187 166 189 195 189 190 186 88 203 186 198 203 210 107 204 143 192 108 164 177 206 167 189 189 74 183 191 110 211 204 110 203 186 206 32 201 193 78 189 152 209 194 47 107 199 203 195 162 194 202 192 71 71 104 60 192 87 128 205 210 147 73 90 67 81 130 188 143 206 43 124 143 137 79 112 182 26 172 208 39 71 94 72 196 188 29 186 191 209 85 122 205 198 195 199 194 195 204 ” The values in the text file are between 0 and 255. The text file is imported into Open Music and the values are scaled.

These scaled values are used as pos-env parameters.

Reaper and IEM-Plugin Suite


With different images and different scaling, you get different results that can be used as parameters for modulation. In Reaper, the IEM plug-in suite was used in post-production. These tools are used for Ambisonics of different orders. In this case, Ambisonics 5 order was used. One effect that was often used is the FDNReverb. This reverb unit offers the possibility of applying an Ambisonics reverb to a multi-channel file. The stereo and mono files were first encoded in 5th order Ambisonics (36 channels) and then converted into two channels using the binaural encoder. Other post-processing effects (Detune, Reverb) were programmed by myself and are available on Github. The reverb is based on a paper by James A. Moorer About this Reverberation Business from 1979 and was written in C. The algorithm of the detuner was written in C from the HTML version of Miller Puckette’s handbook “The Theory and Technique of Electronic Music”. The result of the last iteration can be heard here. Alex Player - Best audio player


BAD GUY: An acousmatic study


Inspired by the “Infinite Bad Guy” project, and all the very different versions of how some people have fueled their imaginations on that song, I thought maybe I could also experiment with creating a very loose, instrumental cover version of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Marlon Schumacher

A study by: Kaspars Jaudzems

Winter semester 2021/22
University of Music, Karlsruhe

To the study:

Originally, I wanted to work with 2 audio files, perform an FFT analysis on the original and “replace” its sound content with content from the second file, based only on the fundamental frequency. However, after doing some tests with a few files, I came to the conclusion that this kind of technique is not as accurate as I would like it to be. So I decided to use a MIDI file as a starting point instead.

Both the first and second versions of my piece only used 4 samples. The MIDI file has 2 channels, so 2 files were randomly selected for each note of each channel. The sample was then sped up or down to match the correct pitch interval and stretched in time to match the note length.

The second version of my piece added some additional stereo effects by pre-generating 20 random pannings for each file. With randomly applied comb filters and amplitude variations, a bit more reverb and human feel was created.

Acoustic study version 1

Acousmatic study version 2

The third version was a much bigger change. Here the notes of both channels are first divided into 4 groups according to pitch. Each group covers approximately one octave in the MIDI file.

Then the first group (lowest notes) is mapped to 5 different kick samples, the second to 6 snares, the third to percussive sounds such as agogo, conga, clap and cowbell and the fourth group to cymbals and hats, using about 20 samples in total. A similar filter and effect chain is used here for stereo enhancement, with the difference that each channel is finely tuned. The 4 resulting audio files are then assigned to the 4 left audio channels, with the lower frequency channels sorted to the center and the higher frequency channels sorted to the sides. The same audio files are used for the other 4 channels, but additional delays are applied to add movement to the multi-channel experience.

Acousmatic study version 3

The 8-channel file was downmixed to 2 channels in 2 versions, one with the OM-SoX downmix function and the other with a Binauralix setup with 8 speakers.

Acousmatic study version 3 – Binauralix render

Extension of the acousmatic study – 3D 5th-order Ambisonics

The idea with this extension was to create a 36-channel creative experience of the same piece, so the starting point was version 3, which only has 8 channels.

Starting point version 3

I wanted to do something simple, but also use the 3D speaker configuration in a creative way to further emphasize the energy and movement that the piece itself had already gained. Of course, the idea of using a signal as a source for modulating 3D movement or energy came to mind. But I had no idea how…

Plugin “ambix_encoder_i8_o5 (8 -> 36 chan)”

While researching the Ambix Ambisonic Plugin (VST) Suite, I came across the plugin “ambix_encoder_i8_o5 (8 -> 36 chan)”. This seemed to fit perfectly due to the matching number of input and output channels. In Ambisonics, space/motion is translated from 2 parameters: Azimuth and Elevation. Energy, on the other hand, can be translated into many parameters, but I found that it is best expressed with the Source Width parameter because it uses the 3D speaker configuration to actually “just” increase or decrease the energy.

Knowing which parameters to modulate, I started experimenting with using different tracks as the source. To be honest, I was very happy that the plugin not only provided very interesting sound results, but also visual feedback in real time. When using both, I focused on having good visual feedback on what was going on in the audio piece as a whole.

Visual feedback – video

Channel 2 as modulation source for azimuth

This helped me to select channel 2 for Azimuth, channel 3 for Source Width and channel 4 for Elevation. If we trace these channels back to the original input midi file, we can see that channel 2 is assigned notes in the range of 110 to 220 Hz, channel 3 notes in the range of 220 to 440 Hz and channel 4 notes in the range of 440 to 20000 Hz. In my opinion, this type of separation worked very well, also because the sub-bass frequencies (e.g. kick) were not modulated and were not needed for this. This meant that the main rhythm of the piece could remain as a separate element without affecting the space or the energy modulations, and I think that somehow held the piece together.

Acousmatic study version 4 – 36 channels, 3D 5th-order Ambisonics – file was too big to upload

Acoustic study version 4 – Binaural render

ByLorenz Lehmann

“OM-LEAD” library


The library “OM-LEAD” is a library for rule-based, computer-generated real-time composition. The considerations and approaches in Joseph Branciforte’s text “FROM THE MACHINE: REALTIME ALGORITHMIC APPROACHES TO HARMONY AND ORCHESTRATION” are the starting point for the development.

The library currently comprises two functions that are written using both CommonLisp and existing functions from the OM package.

In addition, the composition is currently limited in the scope of the parameters to be controlled to the harmonics and the voice leading.

In the future, I would also like to write a function that allows composition on a temporal level with the parameters metrics and cue spacing.

Development: Lorenz Lehmann

Supervision and advice: Prof. Dr. Marlon Schumacher

My sincere thanks for their kind support go to Joseph Branciforte and

Prof. Dr. Marlon Schumacher.

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