"Harmanograph", a (mostly) useless music tool I made.

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Mr. Raubana
Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:30 am

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"Harmanograph", a (mostly) useless music tool I made.

So I made this thing, I thought it would help me make music better, but I haven't been able to find an instance of me working with it where I felt like it helped me do better. Even so, I figured I'd share it with you guys. Who knows, it didn't help me but it could help you.


So what this does is takes a set of MIDI notes and breaks them apart into their harmonic frequencies (although it assumes that each note is being played through a saw generator). Each note gets it's own horizontal row on the display. Basically, the lowest notes will be at the top, the highest notes will be at the bottom, like so:


On that row will be each harmonic frequency of that note, the intensity of that frequency is denoted by how visible the white part is. The frequency will be represented by a big block if that frequency is some multiple of the primary frequency of that note (on other words, it's the main frequency of that note OR each one of that note on every octave above it, like C4, C5, C6, C7, ... ), while other harmonic frequencies will be represented by a thin block (these are also the one's that don't have an exact note associated with it - it's in between notes).

Ok, so then what the Harmanograph does is it takes all those frequencies from all of those notes and compares them to see if there's any that are on top of one another. These are saturated frequencies, which are denoted by a green or yellow vertical band. These are special because that frequency stands out from the other frequencies - it'll be louder. Also, the Harmanograph will check if any frequencies are too close to each other, meaning they create dissonance. We usually don't want dissonance because it sounds bad to us - think of what happens when you play two notes that are immediately next to each other... yeah, like that. Unless we're playing minor chords, we probably don't want that. Dissonance is denoted by a red gradient between the two offending frequencies.


It's worth noting that it's possible for a single note by itself to create dissonance on it's own - this usually means that you're playing too low of a note, like this:


To use the plugin, simply add a MIDI OUT synth to your project and then use Layer's to play your notes both through that MIDI OUT and through your synth (this is easiest to setup before you've created your song).

Finally, to install this plugin, simply extract the "Harmanograph" FOLDER into your Fl Studio>Plugins>Fruity>Effects folder. Restart your program, go into the Mixer and pretend like your going to add in an effect but instead click "More". A window will pop up, click the "Refresh" button at the bottom of that window and then click "Fast Scan" (or do a Scan And Verify if that doesn't work). The Harmanograph should appear as red in the list, you need to make sure the box next to it is checked. You should now be able to use it!
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