Band Practice

Creative Programming

Band Practice is a music visualizer created with processing. With Teachable Machine, I was able to create an instrument library model using samples from a piano, guitar, clarinet, and background noise. As you play different instruments, the program categorizes the sound, and a coordinating shape is drawn across the page according to time and volume. The graphics are inspired by two of my favorite films and their soundtracks: Monsters Inc. and Interstellar.

Tools Used:
p5, Teachable Machine, Coding Train, an old clarinet

Previous Project

First Project

Development "Sketches"

Key Takeaways

"String" Instruments

When designing this program, I wanted to make sure the instruments I chose sounded different enough so the model would have an easier time categorizing them. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why the library model was struggling to categorize piano and guitar. Then I remembered the age-old debate of whether a piano was a percussion or string instrument. My program would argue it's a string instrument, but with the addition of better audio samples, there is less of a debate.

Samples of Skill

Despite creating “Band Practice,” I do not consider myself a musician. While creating the samples for my program, I primarily used small ranges of notes from each instrument. When testing the program with skilled musicians, my program couldn’t keep up with their ranges, chords, and speed. The solution for this, as with most of the problems I found with my code, was to add more varying samples to my instrument library.

Meg The Clarinet

During the testing process, I had a lot of zoom calls and demonstrations with my professor and classmates. While describing numerous problems and plans for my code, my program thought it would be hysterical to categorize my voice as a clarinet and have shapes drawn across the screen while I presented. While there was an easy solution, adding more audio samples of “non-instruments” to the library model, it was also just a very funny part of the process.

Moving Forward

In the future, I’d like to expand the instrument library with additional samples of each instrument so the classification process is a little smoother. I would also like to continue adding instruments and hopefully get more musicians involved in the process so there is a wide range of skills, techniques, and genres for the program to categorize and play with. Along with this, I think it would be interesting to add samples that are for chords and for specific combinations of instruments with new coordinating graphics.

For educational use only.