GB2473066A - Electronic apparatus for displaying and controlling a scrolling musical notation sequence - Google Patents

Electronic apparatus for displaying and controlling a scrolling musical notation sequence Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2473066A
GB2473066A GB0915154A GB0915154A GB2473066A GB 2473066 A GB2473066 A GB 2473066A GB 0915154 A GB0915154 A GB 0915154A GB 0915154 A GB0915154 A GB 0915154A GB 2473066 A GB2473066 A GB 2473066A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
musical notation
sequence
user
scrolling
reading position
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GB0915154A
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GB0915154D0 (en
Inventor
William Lovegrove
Ian Cox
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RELEASE CONSULTING Ltd
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RELEASE CONSULTING Ltd
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Priority to GB0915154A priority Critical patent/GB2473066A/en
Publication of GB0915154D0 publication Critical patent/GB0915154D0/en
Publication of GB2473066A publication Critical patent/GB2473066A/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10GAIDS FOR MUSIC; SUPPORTS FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; OTHER AUXILIARY DEVICES OR ACCESSORIES FOR MUSIC OR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
    • G10G1/00Means for the representation of music
    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10HELECTROPHONIC MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
    • G10H1/00Details of electrophonic musical instruments
    • G10H1/0008Associated control or indicating means

Abstract

A method for displaying a sequence of musical notation, such as a musical score represented by notes on a stave 800, on an electronic display (164) comprises: displaying a sequence of musical notation and scrolling the sequence whilst the musical notation may be read by a user. A current reading position within the sequence is alterable during the scrolling by receiving a control input from a user via a touch sensitive screen (158), or by detecting a required tempo. The scrolling may be paused, stopped and started via the touch sensitive screen (158). Alternatively, the rate of scrolling may be increased or decreased by a gesture made by a user via the touch sensitive interface (158), such as a succession of taps to indicate a tempo. The direction of scrolling may also be reversed by a user input. An indicator 818 may be displayed on the electronic display (164) to indicate a current reading position.

Description

INTELLECTUAL

. .... PROPERTY OFFICE Application No. GBO9 15 154.9 RTM Date:8 October 2010 The following terms are registered trademarks and should be read as such wherever they occur in this document: Sibelius Avid iPhone Blackberry Sony Erikkson Nokia iTouch Vodafone AT&T Intellectual Property Office is an operating name of the Patent Office www.ipo.gov.uk Sheet music display system

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a system for distributing and displaying sheet music on portable electronic devices.

Background of the Invention

An object of the invention is to allow sheet music to be displayed on the electronic display of a portable electronic device such as that of a mobile phone device and the control of the display of the sheet music by an operator in order to facilitate the reading and playing of the sheet music.

Summary of the Invention

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for displaying a sequence of musical notation on an electronic display, said sequence of musical notation to be read by a user, comprising: displaying on the electronic display a sequence of musical notation and scrolling the sequence whilst the musical notation may be read by a user, such that a current reading position within the sequence is altered during the scrolling; determining a current reading position adjustment at least in part from movement gesture input received via a touch screen interface; and altering said current reading position in accordance with the current reading position adjustment.

By determining a current reading position adjustment at least in part from movement gesture input received via a touch screen interface and altering said current reading position in accordance with the current reading position adjustment, musical notation within the sequence of musical notation that a user wishes to read can be displayed on the electronic display.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided method for displaying a sequence of musical notation on an electronic display, said sequence of musical notation to be read by a user, comprising: displaying on the electronic display a sequence of musical notation and scrolling the sequence whilst the musical notation may be read by a user, such that a current reading position within the sequence is altered during the scrolling in accordance with a current tempo value; and adjusting a tempo value in response to receiving tempo adjustment commands.

By adjusting a tempo value in response to receiving tempo adjustment commands, the sequence of musical notation may be scrolled such that a current reading position within the sequence is altered during the scrolling in accordance with a current tempo value in order to allow a user to read musical notation within said sequence at a desired rate.

Further features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention, given by way of example only, which is made with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Figure 1 schematically illustrates the components and communication links of a system for distributing and displaying sheet music on portable electronic devices according to different embodiments of the present invention; Figure 2 illustrates the steps performed by a music file preparation program of the system shown in Figure 1 according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 3 illustrates the steps that are performed to prepare a display application by the system of Figure 1 according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 4 illustrates the steps associated with opening the display application of the system shown in Figure 1 and select a desired file containing musical notation to be displayed on a portable electronic device according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 5 illustrates the format of the information relating to musical notation stored in the form of a hierarchical structure of music according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 6 illustrates an exemplary visual representation of the information relating to musical notation stored in the form of a hierarchical structure of music entities according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 7a illustrates the steps performed by the display application of Figure 1 in order to visually represent a sequence of musical notation stored within a hierarchical structure of music entities according to an embodiment of the invention when scrolling said sequence across the display device of a portable electronic device; Figure 7b illustrates the steps performed by the display application of Figure 3 when receiving and processing movement gesture input during display of a sequence of musical notation on the display device of a portable electronic device according to an embodiment of the invention; and Figure 8 shows an exemplary screen rendered by the display application of Figure 1 showing the current reading position displayed for a sequence of musical notation according to an embodiment of the invention.

Detailed Description of the Invention

Figure 1 schematically illustrates the components and communication links of a system for distributing and displaying sheet music on portable electronic devices according to different embodiments of the present invention.

A content source 100, which may be for example a computer server, comprises of non-volatile storage (not shown) such as a hard disk drive or a plurality of such drives that is used to store files containing musical notation. The files containing musical notation that are stored in non-volatile storage at the content source 100 are provided by the copyright owner of the files, and may typically have been created using a software package for editing musical notation such as the Sibelius software created by Avid Technologies.

The files at the content source 100 may be accessed by a distribution system 120 via a communications network. The distribution system 120 may have direct access to the files held in non-volatile storage at the content source via a file transfer protocol such as for example FTP or HTTP, or it may be necessary for an administrator to manually purchase the files via an appropriate website and transfer these to the distribution system 120. The distribution system 120 contains non-volatile storage 128 such as a hard disk drive or a plurality of such drives where files obtained either directly from the content source 100 or manually transferred from the content source 100 by an administrator are stored.

The distribution system 120 in this embodiment includes a microprocessor 122 that processes instructions stored in a random access memory (RAM) 124 that have been loaded from non-volatile storage 128.

These instructions are in the form of computer software, in the form of one or more programs that implement a music file preparation program 130, and a music file distributor 132. The RAM 124 is also used by programs running on the microprocessor 122 as a means of storing and accessing data in the form of electronic signals where said data is used during the execution of said programs.

The distribution system 120 also includes a network interface 126 such as a network card or a broadband modem that allows programs running on the microprocessor 122 to transmit and receive data over a data communications link via a communications network such as the Internet or a private data communications network, to and from the content source 100 and a portable electronic device 150 or a plurality of such portable electronic devices.

The music file preparation program 130 processes files containing musical notation received from the content source 100 that are held in non-volatile storage 128 at the distribution system 120, in order to produce processed files containing musical notation. The processed files containing musical notation are also stored in non volatile storage 128 at the distribution system 120, and can be accessed by the music file distributor 132. The music file distributor 132 can distribute processed files containing musical notation held in non-volatile storage 128 to the portable electronic device 150 (or a plurality of such devices) via a communications network using the network interface 126 of the distribution system 120.

A portable electronic device 150 in this embodiment includes a microprocessor 154 that processes instructions stored in a random access memory (RAM) 152 that have been loaded from a non-volatile storage device 156 such as for example a flash memory drive. These instructions are in the form of computer software, in the form of one or more programs that implement a display application 164 and a browser application 166. The RAM 152 is also used by programs running on the microprocessor 154 as a means of storing and accessing data in the form of electronic signals where said data is used during the execution of said programs. The portable electronic device 150 also includes a video output device (not shown) that is able to render graphics produced by programs running on the microprocessor 154 and output these to a video display device 162. Programs running on the microprocessor 154 can process user input received via a user input interface 158 for accepting user input from a user input device or devices (not shown) which in preferred embodiments of the invention include a touch screen interface that may be embedded within the display device 162, but may in alternative embodiments of the invention include a keypad or keyboard. In preferred embodiments of the invention the portable electronic device 150 may be a smart phone such as an iPhone, Blackberry, or a smart phone produced by Sony Erickson or Nokia. In alternative embodiments of the invention the portable electronic device may be one which is not a smart phone such as for example an iTouch.

The portable electronic device 150 also includes a network interface 160 such as a wireless network interface for use with a wireless network and/or a telecommunications network, or a modem for use with a wired telephone network, that allows programs running on the microprocessor 154 to transmit and receive data over a data communications link to and from the distribution system 120 and a store system 180, where data transmitted and received over said data communications link is done so via a communications network such as the Internet, or a private data communications network or a telecommunications network such as those provided by a mobile network operator such as Vodafone or AT&T.

The store system 180 consists of one or more computer servers which are accessible to the portable electronic device 150 over a data communications link and that operate software which can facilitate the purchase and subsequent distribution of applications and content to a portable electronic device 150 or a plurality of such devices, such as for example by hosting a website or websites that provide this functionality.

The system for distributing and displaying sheet music on portable electronic devices as illustrated in Figure 1 and summarised above is designed to allow a user (or a plurality of users) of a portable electronic device (or a plurality of such portable electronic devices) to acquire the display application 164 from the store system 180 and use said display application 164 on the portable electronic device 150 to display sheet music on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150. The sheet music displayed by the display application 164 on the display device may be pre-loaded (i.e. embedded) within the display application 164, or the display application 164 may obtain sheet music in the form of files containing musical notation from the store system 180. Finally the display application 164 allows the user to read musical notation within the sheet music in time with when the sheet music should be played by the user, and allows the user to control the rate of display of the musical notation and select portions of musical notation that should be displayed.

In order to provide the functionality summarised above, preferred embodiments of the system for distributing and displaying sheet music operate as described below and in Figures 2 to 8.

Figure 2 illustrates the steps performed by the music file preparation program 130 at the distribution system 120 in order to prepare a file containing musical notation received by the distribution system 120 from the content source for distribution to portable electronic devices (e.g. 150). The music file preparation program 130 is used to adjust the files containing musical notation in order to (a) convert these files into a file format which can be processed by the display application 164 and (b) rearrange the sheet music content to be optimised for viewing on the display device 162 of a portable electronic device 150.

The music file preparation program 130 first requests a file containing musical notation from the content source 100 which the content source 100 then transmits to the music file preparation program 100 at the distribution system 120 which receives the requested file and stores it in non-volatile storage 128 at the distribution system 120 (step 200). The request for the file and the file itself may both for example be transmitted over a communications network.

Each file containing musical notation held at the content source 100 and received by the distribution system 120 comprises information relating to musical notation including a sequence of musical notes organised in a sequence of musical measures, and that may also include the key of the music, lyrics and any musical directions (such as instructions to the musician regarding how to play the music). Additionally each file may contain aesthetic information relating to the layout of the musical notation on paper such as font size, the position of staves, measures and notes on the page, and the number of measures per page. The aesthetic information may assume for example that the musical notation is to be formatted for printing on an A4 sheet of paper. Finally each file containing musical notation may also contain auxiliary information relating to the copyright ownership of the musical notation and the date each file was created.

In order to prepare the files containing musical notation received by the distribution system 120 the music file preparation program 130 proceeds as follows. The music file preparation program 130 may firstly open the received file in an appropriate software package, such as for example Sibelius, which may be used to optimise the musical notation held in the file for viewing on a portable electronic device 150 (step 201). The staves are adjusted and consolidated (step 202) by the music file preparation program 130 so that the number of staves is optimised for display on the display device of the portable electronic device 150, for example the staves may be modified so that the measures are not displayed on multiple separate staves but as a continuous and linear flow of measures from left to right across the screen on a single horizontal stave.

The music file preparation program 130 then adds a number of measures containing no musical notation to the beginning of the sequence of musical notation (step 204). Empty measures at the beginning of the sheet music allow the musicianluser reading the musical notation on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150 to prepare to play the musical notation at a prescribed tempo, rather than having to read/play the music immediately. These leading measures effectively provides the musician with a count in'.

Measures and musical directions may be added by the music file preparation program 130 (step 204). This step may be required if the original sheet music contains instructions to repeat measures and directions, in order to allow the display application 164 to display the musical notation on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150 as a horizontally extending sequence of measures that scrolls from left to right without abruptly repeating back to earlier measures. To achieve this the music file preparation program inserts copies of the repeated measures and the musical notation they contain and removes the repeat from the musical notation. This enables the musician to play the repeated measures and musical directions easily.

The music preparation program 130 may then need to add or adjust the position of lyrics relative to the sequence of musical notation in order for these lyrics to be correctly displayed on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150 (step 208). The reasons for this that the lyrics are not always positioned on the sheet music in a style which is optimum for display on a mobile device screen. Actions which may need to be taken include adjusting the position and size of the text relative to the sheet music.

The final step is for the music preparation program 130 to export the musical notation as adjusted in steps 202 to 208 from the editing software package into an XML file containing musical notation (step 210). The XML file containing musical notation contains the same content as the original content file (which is information pertaining to musical content such as notes, aesthetic or formatting information such as number of bars per page and auxiliary information such as copyright ownership) but the content has been transformed to render or display on a mobile device's screen rather than print to an A4 sheet of paper. The XML file containing musical notation is stored in non-volatile storage 128 at the distribution system 120.

The music file distributor 132 at the distribution system 120 may access XML files containing musical notation stored in non-volatile storage 128 and make these available for distribution to a portable electronic device 150 or a plurality of such devices. For example the music file distributor 132 may be an HTTP server or an FTP server that the user of a portable electronic device 150 may access using the browser application 166 running on the said device 150.

Alternatively the music file distributor may operate software which can facilitate the purchase and subsequent distribution of the XML files containing musical notation to a portable electronic device 150 or a plurality of such devices, such as for example by hosting a website or websites that provide this functionality.

In order to access and display the XML files containing musical notation on the portable electronic device 150 a user may use the display application 164, which is software that is able to display the converted sheet music files on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150. As summarised below the application is made available using the store system 180 from which the application can be downloaded and installed on a portable electronic device 150.

The display application 164 may either come pre-loaded' with XML files containing musical notation, or empty. The display application 164 may also allow a user to display XML files containing musical notation held in non-volatile storage 156 on the portable electronic device 156, which are obtained by the user by for example accessing the music file distributor 132 using the browser application 166 on the portable electronic device 150 in order to download and install these files.

Figure 3 illustrates the steps that are performed by a skilled technician in order to prepare the display application 164 so that it may contain pre-loaded sheet music in the form of embedded files containing musical notation and make the application available for delivery to a portable electronic device 150.

A selection of XML files containing musical notation which have previously been prepared by the music file preparation program 130 are gathered by a skilled technician for embedding into the display application (step 300). The files are loaded into a single instance of the display application's database (step 302). This step can be performed by a skilled technician or by software in an automated fashion.

Artwork and supporting text (such as copyright holder's brands and logos) are added to the application (step 304). This can be done manually by a technician or via a semi-automated process by which artwork is added to the application via software which performs the task of inserting the artwork into the correct place in the application without the need for a technician to adjust the application source code.

The display application (containing the sheet music files and artwork) is subjected to quality assurance tests (step 306). The tests are designed to ensure the software is fault free before passing to the next stage in the process. The tests are carried out manually by skilled technicians.

The display application (step 308) is uploaded into the store system 180, where it is made available to users of portable electronic devices e.g. 150 (step 308). The process of uploading the application is a manual process conducted by a technician.

Users of portable electronic devices e.g. 150 can then obtain the display application for use on their portable electronic device from the store system 180, for example by accessing a website hosted on the store system 180 via the browser application 166 where the display application can be purchased, downloaded and then installed on the portable electronic device (step 310).

A user of a portable electronic device 150 may also obtain XML files containing musical notation from the music file distributor 132 at the distribution system 120 for example by accessing a website hosted on the distribution system 120 via the browser application 166 where these XML files can be purchased and downloaded into non-volatile storage 156 on the portable electronic device. Once downloaded onto the portable electronic device 150 the songs are placed into a location in non-volatile storage 156 known by the display application 164.

Figure 4 illustrates the steps taken by the user to open the display application 164 and select a desired XML file containing musical notation to be displayed using the portable electronic device 150.

Firstly, the user of the portable electronic device 150 executes or opens the display application 164 held in non-volatile storage 156 on the portable electronic device (step 400). The user selects the XML file containing musical notation they wish to view from a list of such files held in non-volatile storage 156 and/or that are embedded within the display application 164 (step 402).

The display application 164 accesses the selected XML file containing musical notation and loads the information relating to musical notation contained within the selected XML file into a hierarchical structure of music entities and stores this in RAM 152 on the portable electronic device 150 (step 404).

Figure 5 illustrates the format of the information relating to musical notation stored in the form of a hierarchical structure of music entities in RAM 152 on the portable electronic device 150. The hierarchical structure begins with a Score' 500 at the root of the structure, which represents a collection of Parts' 502 where each Part' comprises a sequence of musical notation to be played by a musician on an instrument. The sequence of musical notation contained in each part is composed of a sequence of Measures' 504, and each Measure' comprises a sequence of notes 506 and rests that may be played by a musician and are arranged in the order in which they are intended to be played.

Each note 506 comprises information relating to the musical note that should be played and the length of time that the note should be played for, and may also have various direction entities 508 associated with it such as for example a Chord name' entity which comprises the name of a chord that may be played, a Lyric' entity which comprises text corresponding to lyrics that may be sung, a Tie' entity which indicates that the length of time this note is played for may be added to that of a second note linked to this note by the Tie', a Bend' entity which indicates that the pitch played for this note may be gradually changed to that of another note linked to this note by the Bend', and a Staccato' entity which may indicate that this note is to sound for only a short time and the remainder of the length of time that the note should be played should remain silent. These direction entities 508 form additional directions which are to be interpreted by the musician when the note to which they correspond is played.

Figure 6 illustrates an exemplary visual representation of the information relating to musical notation stored in the form of a hierarchical structure of music entities in RAM 152 on the portable electronic device 150. A number of parts 602, 604 are shown that comprise a score. Each part comprises a sequence of musical notation consisting of a sequence of measures (e.g. 604, 606 for part 602), with each measure containing a sequence of notes and rests. Lyrics 608 and chord names 610 are associated with some of the notes of part 600. Part 602 shows the sequence of musical notation in two forms: a horizontal stave 612 comprising standard musical notation and a horizontal stave comprising guitar tab lature 614.

Figure 7a illustrates the steps performed by the display application in order to visually represent a sequence of musical notation stored within the hierarchical structure of music entities in RAM 152 on the display device 162 of the portable electronic device 150, by scrolling said sequence across the display device 162. Firstly, if the score entity 500 in the hierarchical structure of music entities in RAM 152 contains more than one part entity 502 the display application 164 may select a single part to display, or may allow the user to select one of the available parts in the score to be displayed (step 700).

The display application 164 then sets the current reading position, which is the range of the sequence of musical notation that is displayed on the display device 162, to begin at the start of the sequence of musical notation, and end at a later point in the sequence of musical notation, such as for example three measures later. The display application 164 then renders the musical notation within the current reading position and displays it on the display device 162 (step 702). Musical notation rendered by the display application may be rendered either as standard musical notation (e.g. see stave 612) or as tablature (e.g. see stave 614). The amount of musical notation that is displayed on the display device 162 to form the current reading position may depend on the number of notes contained in each measure, the size of the display device and the resolution (i.e. number of pixels) of the display device.

In order to render the range of the sequence of musical notation defined by the current reading position as standard musical notation, the display application 164 first renders the stave 504, which is the series of parallel horizontal lines that represent different ranges of musical pitch. The display application 164 will then render the measures 504 within said range and the notes and rests 506 within these measures, by rendering each note or rest in the sequence in the correct position on the stave according to the duration of the previous note or rest in the sequence (i.e. the length of time the previous note or rest should be played) and, in the case of a note, according to the pitch of the note. The horizontal distance between consecutive notes and/or rests in the sequence of notes or rests may be determined according to the length of time each of these is meant to be played, for example if a note is meant to be played for a longer duration the horizontal distance between that note and the following note in the sequence will be larger. The vertical position of each note on the stave may be determined according to the pitch of the note and an accidental may also be rendered to the left of a note on the stave to indicate that the pitch of the note is modified (for example a C may be modified to a C sharp). Bar lines are also rendered between each consecutive measure within said range.

In order to render the range of the sequence of musical notation defined by the current reading position as tablature, the display application 164 first renders the stave, which is the series of parallel horizontal lines that represent the strings of the instrument that will play this part. Typically fretted instruments such as a guitar or bass guitar may use musical notation written in tablature form, and/or the user may be given a choice as to whether musical notation should be rendered as standard musical notation or as tablature for a specific fretted instrument. The display application 164 will then render the measures within said range and the notes within these measures (typically rests are not rendered in tablature), by rendering each note in the sequence in the correct position on the stave according to the duration of the previous note or rest (i.e. the length of time the previous note or rest should be played) and, in the case of a note, according to the pitch of the note. The horizontal distance between consecutive notes in the sequence of notes or rests may be determined according to the length of time each of these is meant to be played, and according to any rests between each note and its consecutive notes, for example if a note is meant to be played for a longer duration the horizontal distance between that note and the subsequent note in the sequence of notes will be larger, and if a rest is located in the sequence of notes and rests between the note and the subsequent note the horizontal distance between that note and the subsequent note will be larger. The vertical position of each note is determined according to which string on the instrument the note should be played, and the displayed note itself may indicate (e.g. via a numeric value) the position or fret on the string that should be used to play the note. Bar lines are also rendered between each consecutive measure within said range.

In addition to rendering the notes (and rests if using standard musical notation) within the current reading position the display application 164 will also render the directional entities associated with each note, as is appropriate for each type of entity. Text containing lyrics and chord names may be placed above and below the stave, respectively, whilst other directional entities such as staccato, slurs, bends, etc. are placed next to or between appropriate notes.

The display application 164 also renders a current musical notation indicator that is displayed on the display device 162 at a position corresponding to that of current musical notation within the current reading position, wherein the current musical notation may be the note, rest or chord that the application expects the user to be currently playing on their instrument during "playback" of the sequence of musical notation.

Figure 8 shows an exemplary screen rendered by the display application 164 showing the current reading position displayed for a sequence of musical notation, illustrating a stave 800 belonging to a part 502 that is being rendered as tablature to be read by a user. Several measures 802, 804 have been rendered on the stave 800, each containing a number of notes rendered as tablature, and separated by a bar line 806. The current musical notation indicator is also shown as the vertical line 818.

The display application 164 may then process tempo adjustment commands received from the user via the user input interface 158 (step 704).

The tempo adjustment commands allow the user to control the rate at which the musical notation is to be played back' i.e. the tempo at which the musical notation is to be read and played by the user, which may be defined as a number of beats per minute indicating the number of beats of a specific length (e.g. crotchets or quarter notes) that occur in a minute when the music is played. The tempo adjustment commands may comprise movement gesture input received from the user via a touch screen connected to the user input interface 158 and embedded within the display device 162, where movement gesture input in a first direction may indicate that a tempo value should be increased, and movement gesture input in a second direction may indicate that the tempo value should be decreased. The movement gesture input may also cause the position of a slider' 810 on a bar' 812 displayed on the display device 162 to be adjusted, such that there is a correspondence between the position of the slider' 810 on the bar' 812, for example the further the position if the slider' is moved in a particular direction, the higher the tempo value, and vice versa. It may be necessary for the user to touch the portion of the touch screen where the slider' 812 and/or bar' 814 are located in order to move the slider' 812.

The tempo adjustment commands may alternatively include the user repeatedly entering an input on an input device connected to the user input interface 158, where there is a correspondence between the rate of the inputs entered by the user and a tempo value such that the faster the user enters inputs the higher the tempo value. For example the user may repeatedly tap on a touch screen connected to the user input interface 158 and embedded within the display device 162, where said taps are received by the user input interface 158 via the touch screen and the lengths of time between successive taps are measured by the display application 164 and used to determine the tempo value, such that the tempo value may be increased if lengths of time measured by the display application 164 between taps decrease, and the received tempo value may be decreased if lengths of time measured by the display application 164 between taps increase. It may be necessary for the user to touch a specific portion of the touch screen such as the grey-coloured area 816 when tapping the touch screen in order to perform tempo adjustment commands using this method. Allowing the user to enter the tempo value by repeatedly entering an input as described above has the advantage of letting the user easily set the tempo value using one finger to enter the input.

After or during the process of receiving tempo adjustment commands as described above the tempo value is used to determine the scrolling tempo value to be used when scrolling the sequence of musical notation on the display device 162 (i.e. the tempo at which the musical notation is to be read and played by the user), and this scrolling tempo value is displayed in the field 814. Note that the scrolling tempo value is initially set to a default value in steps 700 and 702, and will remain at this value unless the display application 164 received tempo adjustment commands from the user in step 704.

The display application 164 may then check whether playback of the sequence of musical notation has started, and if it is will scroll the sequence of musical notation on the display device 162 at the rate determined by the scrolling tempo value (step 706). Initially, after selecting a part to be displayed (in step 700) and displaying the first measures of that part (step 702), playback of the sequence of musical notation is paused. The user may start playback by pressing on a play/pause button 808, and once the sequence of musical notation is being played back it may once again be paused by pressing button 808 again.

If the display application 164 detected in step 706 that playback of the sequence of musical notation has started it may then scroll the sequence of musical notation on the display device 162 at the rate determined by the scrolling tempo value. The display application 164 sets a scrolling timer such that this timer triggers at regular intervals, where the length of each of these intervals is determined according to the scrolling tempo value. The scrolling timer may typically be set so that it triggers a number of times for each beat, such as 128 times for every beat.

When the scrolling timer triggers, the current reading position is adjusted and rendered on the display device 162 so that a later portion of the sequence of musical notation is displayed. As standard musical notation and tablature are traditionally read from left to right, this gives the appearance of the sequence of musical notation scrolling from right to left across the display device. The scrolling timer may typically be set so that it triggers a number of times for each beat, and the current reading position may be adjusted only slightly each time the scrolling timer triggers in order to allow the sequence of musical notation to be smoothly scrolled across the display device 162. Each time the current reading position is adjusted the current musical notation indicator is also re-displayed and its position on the display device 162 adjusted if necessary so that it continues to be displayed at a position corresponding to that of current musical notation within the current reading position, wherein the current musical notation may be the note, rest or chord that the application expects the user to be currently playing on their instrument.

The user may also adjust the current reading position manually, by using movement gestures entered for example via a touch screen connected to the user input interface 158 and embedded within the display device 162. Figure 7b illustrates the steps performed by the display application 164 when receiving and processing movement gesture input during display of a sequence of musical notation on the display device 162, which may be performed in parallel with steps 704 and 706 shown in Figure 7a. The display application first tests whether any movement gesture input has been received from the user interface 158 (step 708). The movement gestures may need to be entered in a particular area of the touch screen, for example the area containing the stave 800 displayed on the screen. If any movement gestures have been made by the user they are received as movement gesture inputs by the display application 164 from the user input interface 158. Each movement gesture input may comprise information relating to the direction and distance travelled when the movement gesture is made.

Upon receiving a movement gesture input the display application 164 processes the movement gesture input by scrolling the current reading position through the sequence of musical notation by an amount dependent on the direction and distance travelled information given by the movement gesture input (step 710). For example, the user may press a finger on the touch screen and drag the finger to the left, and in response to this movement gesture the display application 164 may scroll the current reading position so that musical notation displayed on the display device 162 is moved to the left by an amount determined in part from the distance that the finger has been dragged to the left across the touch screen. The distance that the finger has been dragged across the touch screen may be provided to the display application 164 in terms of the number of pixels that the finger has moved across, and the display application 164 may scroll the current reading position so the musical notation displayed on the display device 162 is moved by the same number of pixels that the finger has moved across, or is moved by a number of pixels dependent (for example linearly dependent) on the number of pixels that the finger has moved across.

Each time the current reading position is adjusted using movement gesture input the current musical notation is also adjusted so that the note, rest or chord within the sequence of musical notation that the application expects the user to be playing on their instrument when playback is resumed is modified according to the adjustment in the current reading position and/or the movement gesture input. The current musical notation indicator is also re-displayed and its position on the display device 162 adjusted if necessary so that is displayed at a position corresponding to that of the musical notation that has become the current musical notation within the current reading position.

After movement gesture inputs have been received and processed by the display application 164, the display application 164 will set playback of the musical notation to paused (step 712). The user may then at any time modify the tempo of playback in step 704 of Figure 7a, and/or resume playback of the musical notation by pressing the play/pause button 808. If playback is resumed then the display application 164 will detect this in step 714 and return to step 708 of Figure 7b.

If playback is not resumed the user is given the chance to select a displayed measure (i.e. a measure within the current reading position for the sequence of musical notation) from which to resume playback (step 716). The user may select a displayed measure from which to resume playback in step 716 by for example by tapping on a touch screen at the displayed position of the measure, where said touch screen is connected to the user input interface 158 and embedded within the display device 162. If the user does this, the musical notation at the start of the selected measure becomes the current musical notation such that the note, rest or chord at the start of that measure within the sequence of musical notation is that which the application expects the user to be playing on their instrument when playback is resumed.

If the user does not select a displayed measure from which to resume playback in step 716 but instead resumes playback immediately in step 714, playback will continue from the current musical notation that was adjusted to in step 710. Alternatively the user may not select a displayed measure from which to resume playback in step 716 but may instead make further manual adjustments to the current reading position by making further movement gestures that are received as movement gesture inputs by the display application 164 in step 708 and processed by the display application in step 710.

The above embodiments are to be understood as illustrative examples of the invention. Further embodiments of the invention are envisaged as follows.

In alternative embodiments of the invention the steps in Figure 2 may be manually performed by a skilled technician using the distribution system 120 to prepare a file containing musical notation for display on the display device 162 of a portable electronic device 150.

In alternative embodiments of the invention the user may also use the display application 164 to access a website hosted at the music file distributor 132 to obtain XML files containing musical notation, rather than or as well as using the browser application 166 to do so.

In alternative embodiments of the invention the storage of the XML files containing musical notation at the distribution system 120, the transfer of these files from the distribution system 120 to the portable electronic device 150, the storage of these files in non-volatile storage 156 on the portable electronic device 150 and/or the embedding of these files in the display application are conducted using secure technologies such as encryption to prevent unauthorised or unwanted access and exploitation of the files at any time.

In alternative embodiments of the invention the display application 164 may prepare a musical notation buffer in RAM 152 containing pre-rendered images of the musical notation to be displayed according to the steps shown in Figures 7a and 7b. In this embodiment the musical notation buffer may contain musical notation that is being currently displayed on the display device 162 (i.e. as it is in the current reading position), and may also contain musical notation adjacent to the currently displayed musical notation in the sequence of musical notation, i.e. musical notation both before and after the current reading position in the sequence of musical notation. As the sequence of musical notation is scrolled on the display device 162 by the display application 164, the musical notation buffer may be updated so that pre-rendered images of musical notation that was displayed some time before the musical notation in the current reading position may be discarded from the musical notation buffer, and musical notation that may soon be displayed when it becomes part of the current reading position may be pre-rendered and stored in the musical notation buffer. For example, pre-rendered images for musical notation that appears in the two measures before the current reading position within the sequence of musical notation may be held in the musical notation buffer, and pre-rendered images for musical notation that appears in the two measures after the current reading position within the sequence of musical notation may be held in the musical notation buffer, as well as pre-rendered images for musical notation within the current reading position, whilst no other pre-rendered images of musical notation may be stored. This allows smooth scrolling forwards and backwards from the current reading position by the display application 164 or manually by the user via movement gestures, whilst using reducing memory space in RAM 152 (compared to pre-rendering all of the sequence of musical notation) and reducing the computation required by the microprocessor 154 to render images of musical notation (compared to rendering each displayed image of the musical notation after every adjustment of the current reading position).

It is to be understood that any feature described in relation to any one embodiment may be used alone, or in combination with other features described, and may also be used in combination with one or more features of any other of the embodiments, or any combination of any other of the embodiments.

Furthermore, equivalents and modifications not described above may also be employed without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined in the accompanying claims.

Claims (8)

  1. Claims 1. A method for displaying a sequence of musical notation on an electronic display, said sequence of musical notation to be read by a user, comprising: displaying on the electronic display a sequence of musical notation and scrolling the sequence whilst the musical notation may be read by a user, such that a current reading position within the sequence is altered during the scrolling; determining a current reading position adjustment at least in part from movement gesture input received via a touch screen interface; and altering said current reading position in accordance with the current reading position adjustment.
  2. 2. A method according to claim 1, comprising in response to receiving said selection commands, interrupting said scrolling of the sequence on the electronic display of said sequence of musical notation, and displaying said sequence of musical notation at the adjusted position value after said interruption.
  3. 3. A method according to claim 1 or 2 wherein said current reading position adjustment is determined at least in part from direction and distance travelled information contained in said movement gesture input.
  4. 4. A method for displaying a sequence of musical notation on an electronic display, said sequence of musical notation to be read by a user, comprising: displaying on the electronic display a sequence of musical notation and scrolling the sequence whilst the musical notation may be read by a user, such that a current reading position within the sequence is altered during the scrolling in accordance with a current tempo value; and adjusting a tempo value in response to receiving tempo adjustment commands.
  5. 5. A method according to claim 4 wherein the lengths of time between said tempo adjustment commands are indicative of a tempo value to be adjusted to.
  6. 6. A method according to claim 4 wherein said tempo adjustment commands comprise movement gesture input received via a touch screen interface said movement gesture input indicative of an increase or decrease to a tempo value to be adjusted to.
  7. 7. A method according to any preceding claim comprising the display on the electronic display of a current musical notation indicator at a position dependent on the position of current musical notation displayed on the electronic display, wherein said current musical notation is located in said sequence of musical notation and substantially corresponds to the musical notation in said sequence of musical notation that may currently be read by the user.
  8. 8. Computer software arranged to conduct the method of any preceding claim.
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WO2011140619A1 (en) * 2010-05-12 2011-11-17 Associação Instituto Nacional De Matemática Pura E Aplicada Method for representing musical scales and electronic musical device
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