Exploring  interface issues for future, intelligent music browsers and databases.

The goal of TuneScape is to study different techniques for interacting with music databases. TuneScape is designed without concern for the limitations of current music search technology. Instead, TuneScape is based on optimizing the end-user experience and capability. It is hoped that TuneScape will motivate new  music database technology by demonstrating how it can be used.


TuneScape serves two main functions: Querying and Browsing. Each of these is supported in more than one way. TuneScape was supported by the Musart Project and created at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center by:
    Randy Hsiao
    Ning Hu
    Wil Paredes
    Russell Schaaf
    advised by Roger B. Dannenberg

Query Entry

Queries can be entered by melody (Query-by-Humming and Keyboard) and by style.

Query-by-Humming: SingIt

In the Query-by-Humming interface, the user hums or sings a tune, which is recorded. The user can view the recorded query graphically and listen to a playback of a transcription before searching the database.

Keyboard Melody Entry: TapIt

TuneScape also has a piano keyboard, displayed as an image that the user can play with the mouse. Moving the mouse over the keyboard generates sound continuosly, so the user can "scroll" up and down the keyboard looking for pitches, which are entered by clicking. The user can enter rhythms by hitting the space bar, which sequences through the previously entered pitches. The user can also drag notes that are displayed in a piano-roll style editor.

Style-based Query: DialIt

As shown above on the left side, TuneScape also has a "dial-a-style" interface based the look and feel of a portable radio. The dials allow the user to change stylistic features, including energy, note length, tempo, and genre (which includes things like rock, pop, shuffle, and swing). The goal is to give naive users an interface where they can specify style and genre by adjusting parameters. As the knobs are turned, real-time music is produced in the appropriate style, so that users can use their ears and intuitive musical knowledge without necessarily having to understand music terminology.


The goal of the browsing component is to present the results of database searches in an intuitive manner. Users can browse using multidimensional style spaces and using hypertrees.

Multidimensional Style Spaces: BrowzIt

On the right side of the screen image shown below, you can see a 2-D plot of some points. Each point represents a song plotted according to attributes. The user can select attributes by dragging them to the axes. In the picture, the attributes are Happiness (horizontal axis) and Syncopation (vertical axis). You can see a set of songs returned from a query plotted according to these attributes. As the mouse is moved over the plot, the closest song is played and the title appears (at the beginning of this document, you can see another view of the browser with the pop-up label "Madonna -- Lucky Star.")

Hypertrees: BranchIt

Hypertrees are a user interface technique where objects are linked in a graph, and the user can explore the graph by following links. The links and objects nearby in the graph are displayed prominently in the form of a tree branching out from the current location, and things further away are displayed  smaller and smaller as the distance increases. The tree is redrawn as the user moves through it. In TuneScape, a hypertree connects similar pieces of music. Different branches link to pieces that are similar along different dimensions.

Contact: Roger B. Dannenberg
    Computer Music at CMU