Ten years ago to the day I registered my company “Xenoage Software” in Schrobenhausen, Germany. Since then, it developed from a hobby project over an additional income during my studies to a full-time job. We have successfully finished many projects like 3D simulations and games, data-driven applications, mobile apps and web projects. But our favorite non-commercial project is still Zong!, the open source music notation software, and we are trying to spend as much time for the project as possible. A brief history of the company is available in German in our home building blog.
This blog has been quiet for the last four months. Not because the project is dead or frozen, but because I had to concentrate on my master thesis. Luckily I managed to find a topic that is related to music notation, and so I was also able to integrate Zong! into the project and bring it a little bit forward.
The project is called Pinocchio. It is a serious game that should allow young children to become acquainted with classical music by conducting a virtual symphony orchestra. The videos on the website (very outdated) give a good idea about how it works. However, as you can see, conducting was not really realistic yet and the interpretation of the gestures seemed a little bit randomly. So my task during the thesis was to extend the repertoire of conducting gestures, and introduce the ability to load and understand any piece of digital sheet music. This allows a better interpretation of the gestures, since now the context (the score) is known to the system. For displaying the score and rendering it into audio, Zong! is used in the background. It allows to open all MusicXML files, then it computes the needed information and provides it to Pinocchio.
Unfortunately, the project is not open source, and it is not finished yet. So there is no demo I can provide here, but maybe there will be some videos in the future.
Since this was my master thesis, and I needed a lot of time to do it, I had nearly no additional resources left for Zong!. This will change dramatically now 🙂 As the available prototypes show, the technology works and is still easy to extend, so now it is time to move forward to a really useable product, and of course, begin with the editor component. We will post a plan for the upcoming release here within the next days, so stay tuned!