This paper describes a system of realtime music notation using TrueType fonts (TTFs), running in the Graphics Environment for Multimedia (GEM) in the Pure Data computer music environment (Pd). The system makes use of dynamic object creation in Pd to create subpatches linked to a stave object, so that custom made abstractions for notes, rests, tempo marks, barlines and time signatures are added to the patch on-the-fly to create a visual score.
The origins of this system derive from attempts in previous decades by the author to contrive an effective system for the creation of automated systems for musical score procession. The first of these was a continuous sheet of acetate with a graphic vocal score 7 metres long printed on it, to be scrolled by hand across the screen of an overhead projector . Five further scores were created in a form of proportional polyrhythmic notation devised by the author and a prototype system for displaying scrolling scores was created in 2001 at the University of East Anglia using Max. However, the use of bitmaps and the refresh rate of the graphics resulted in a jerky display that was hard to read. These scores originate as fixed scores designed on paper, and the idea of a live notation system based on fonts was considered to offer a degree of flexibility with material that is often found in electronic music that could be applied to instrumental music, such as generative scores, aleatoric structure and feedback between the performer (or ensemble) and computer. The preliminary result of this enquiry is the Gemnotes system, which takes as its input a simple score language to render a score from notation display objects in live performance. A further consideration is that this system may be used with the Pd-extended distribution without modification, so that instrumental musicians do not need to understand complex computing issues such as compilation of source code in order to use a score patch. Initially the system is inefficient, and so methods for improving the performance of the system are discussed with a view to creating score patches that do not require external software to work.
1. ↑ Te Deum, 1997