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Open Source Music


Open source music, at its best, should be largely midi-based. Midi is a replicatible, portable format that describes music in great detail. It is the current programming language of music. A user can compile his open source music into MP3 format (or other formats, maybe even more open), but he releases his source code to the music. i.e. MIDI, soundfont instrument, help docs describing how to set up the instruments, the notation software used, and any other helpful pointers for other people wishing to contribute to the music.
The only sound that is hard to reproduce is singing. All instruments can be strategically thought out and used via the midi protocol. Guitars will also be tougher to replicate, but midi is advancing in those areas. Acoustic drums are also harder to replicate. For this, musicians can release the notation for acoustic instruments and all midi files for electronic instruments. A lot of music today is a mixture between some acoustic and some electronic.

Acoustic drums can have peizo's on them to help detect which notes/drums are being played (at least to ease notation efforts).

Acoustic pianos sound pretty excellent as a sound font, so acoustic piano players may want to consider electronic pianos hooked up to soundfonts. But if an acoustic piano is necessary, there are devices which attach to an acoustic piano that record the notation/convert into midi for you.

The precision and quality of midi is vastly unknown among musicians. Some musicians just do not have midi education, others just do not realize the power of midi, and others pass it of as an electronic or geek thing. But the reality is, midi is almost devastatingly perfect when it comes to recording your notes played on a piano, for example. No pen and paper is required to record all your piano on the fly, and corrections are as simple as looking at your music on a spreadsheet like piano roll. Error corrections can be made to midi files immediately, versus old school methods of recording music such as live takes and other mixing hassles.

Other advantages of midi are the piano roll scrolling on a computer screen for you, which offers a more visual layout of the music, compared to a book of pages that you have to flip. For musicians who don't prefer to read music, the piano roll is even more enlightening because it makes more visual sense than cryptic notes on paper.


Although the GNU and other groups have hinted that music isn't like software since it's a personal art or personal creation, I feel software is also a personal creation too. Music can be highly technical just as software. There is no reason music cannot be open source. The only reason there is not a lot of open source music, is that you can't get paid for it directly. Just as in free and open software. --L505
Open source music may wish to create a newer format than soundfont and offer hardware who can run the music fonts without propietary patent issues. After all, soundfonts are just wav files essentially. So an open format with less restriction than soundfont is not hard to create. The hardware must be able run it though.

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