3D MIDI visualization program
download midivis * download music * mp3s * operating instructions * contact me

MidiVis was developed by Jimb Esser, in cooperation with John Carlis of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, with the help of a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Midivis allows a functional, rather than symbolic, method of displaying musical data. As opposed to the traditional staff notation, it uses a spiral notation which gives a radius for each note in a scale, and each octave is represented as one ring farther away from the axis. Music is then animated over time.

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MidiVis works with either DirectMusic or Window's MCI (Media Control Interface), there is currently an executable for each music library.
Program Download
This version uses the MidiFile library in conjunction with Window's MCI, and should be noticably faster (better frame rate), but may still have some bugs. Runs on Windows 95/98/NT.
This version uses DirectMusic (included in DirectX 6.1 and above), and may give better sounding audio (uses a software synthesizer), may fix some timing glitches that are present in the MidiFile version, but this version is probably going to be discontinued. Runs on Windows 95/98 only.

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MIDI File Download (right click and choose Save Target As...)
A rockin' piano piece. This one was shown during the Music Theory class at BHS.
Axel F, also shown during Music Theory
A movement or two from Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
Amy Ray's Final project from 1998. I believe the timing gets messed while playing this file in MidiVis.
Jimb Esser's Final project from 1998. I believe the timing gets messed up on this file also.
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MP3 File Download
These two files are MP3 versions of our final projects, synthesized using MicroSound's Super Conductor, producing a sound far better than and other software or wavetable synthesis I've ever heard, using samples from actual Stradivarius violins and the like.

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Operating Instructions
Graphics Window:
  • Clicking and draging rotates the view. Use this to look at the spiral directly from the top or straight on from a side
  • Rick-clicking and draging up or down moves the view up or down. Use this if you change the Look Back and/or Look Ahead settings in the Scales window, so that you can see either the played notes or the oncoming notes.
Controls Window:
  • The four icons across the top are Open, Play, Stop and Pause, respectively.
  • In the upper-right corner of the controsl window, it shows what time it is currently showing, and the current frames per second(fps) that it is getting. This is a measure of graphical performance.
  • Auto-Rotate tells MidiVis to continuously rotate the spiral, making the music more entertaining to watch, but harder to try and see what is actually happening in the music.
  • Solid toggles the graphical output between a wireframe and a solid display. In my opinion solid looks better, but wireframe may perform considerably better on some older systems.
  • Fade to Gray toggles whether or not to have MidiVis fade notes that are done playing to a gray color.
  • Choosing Cylinder or Ribbon changes how the notes are displayed. Some things, like Pitch Wheel and Modulation look better on the ribbon setting. And again, choosing the ribbon setting will in crease performance. The Orient checkbox tells MidiVis to orient all ribbons so they are facing the "camera", even when you rotate the spiral.
  • Mether turns the meter line in the middle on and off. The meter generates a tick mark every quarter note. Toggling Line on and offdetermines whether or not there will be a line connecting all of the tick marks.
  • You can also toggle the notes for each individual channel (normally each a different instrument. Many files only use the first couple channels). This changes only what is being displayed, not what is being played on your speakers
Sub-windows of the Controls window:
  • In the Spokes window you can turn off ther spokes of the spiral, and you can also filter which spokes' notes will be displayed, either individually, or by key.
  • In the Scales window, you can scale all notes to the same duration with the Fix Durations option. You can also change the Look Ahead (the notes not yet played, that are generally coming from the bottom of the spiral) and the Look Back (the notes already played, generally on top of the spiral). The scales are in number of quarter notes (from 0 to 32).

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Please contact me if you find a bug (there are lots left), or if it just won't run on your computer. Also if you have a file that doesn't play correctly (like the two listed above :) send it to me, and I'll use those next time I work on the project and try and fix any bugs. Also, if you want me to put up links to some of the sites I used to learn OpenGL programming, and the like, let me know, and I'd be glad to share some of my resources.
Contact Information
ICQ #435337ICQ is my prefered method of communication, and my computer is almost always online while at school. Send me a message! If you don't have ICQ, download it from www.download.com.

Be sure to check out Horning About ProductionsJoe Kadlec and my art group!

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Webpage Copyright 2000 Jimb Esser
Page Created 1-12-0
MidiVis Copyright 1999 Jimb Esser, University of Minnesota
You are allowed to distibute, modify, and use MidiVis, assuming credit for original creation is maintained, and no profit is made from the distribution of the software.
ARCHIVED PAGE: Last updated Jan 12, 2000
Information likely out of date and lots of dead links.