Kangas Sound Editor: synthesize and create music records
Upgrade software (a music composition tool using just intonation ) to version 5, and improve website to encourage collaborative working
The aim of this new-technology KickStarter project is to significantly enhance the existing KangaSound project:
At the core of the KangaSound project is open-source (free) software known as Kangas Sound Editor (QI), which has an original approach to the synthesis of sound effects and music. This includes complete stereo compositions with recorded sound mixed in; i.e. it is already sufficiently powerful to create a mastered song record with all instruments - including percussion - synthesized from scratch by this software.
Should this project meet its target, I would spend the first six months working on website (http://www.kangasound.com/) improvements, and the following six months working on a major release (version 5) of the Kangas Sound Editor software. A possible follow-up project would be to create a version of the software that runs on Android (at the moment, the software only runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X).
The main website improvements I have in mind are:
- A redesign of the web-page http://www.kangasound.com/xml/xml-listing.php, in order to encourage users to upload KangaSound XML files. This is very important to the project, as if there were a growing number of KangaSound XML files available which could be imported into Kangas Sound Editor, this would greatly reduce the work in creating a new music composition or sound effect. The sorts of changes I have in mind are allowing users to login: a logged-in user could then download, upload, rate and comment-on KangaSound XML/sound files. The single listing page would also be replaced with a tree-like structure of web-pages, with individual KangasSound XML files at the leaf level.
- Improvements to the tutorial pages: http://www.kangasound.com/tutorial/tutorial.html. I consider this important, as it is the main way for users to learn how to use the software. The specific improvements I have in mind include: improved tutorial navigation, such as getting bookmarking and the browser back-button to work properly; improved display on small devices; and improved consistency of content - e.g. with how form fields are referred to.
The Kangas Sound Editor improvements I have in mind are:
- Allow user-definable graphs to be used as an oscillator/wave-generator in the sound engine, so that triangle, square, saw-tooth and many others can be used (currently the oscillator is effectively hard-coded as sinusoidal). I believe this to be an interesting change that will lead to many more possibilities for synthesised sound and music.
- Allowing the boxes/cells used in the main screen (see edit pane E1 in screenshot for examples of these) to be user-configurable in both their size and gap between boxes. This would help the software to work better with touch screens, and is in part preparation for an Android follow-up project.
- Fix all known bugs, plus possible other minor improvements.
The latest version (4.2.0) of Kangas Sound Editor was recently reviewed in the September '14 issue of UK magazine Linux Format (see update #3 for details). On-line editor reviews of slightly older versions of the software for the Mac can be found at: http://cnet.co/1sq66eH and http://cnet.co/1DvX9oD
Supporting this project could lead to some amazing sound effects and music being created. With various versions of this software, I have had a go at creating some sound effects (http://bit.ly/1yPOt9J), music sounds (http://bit.ly/13mC14t) and even a couple of music cds (http://bit.ly/1wvmDfy and http://amzn.to/1BBOOLt). I see no reason why, with a combination of the significant enhancements that this project would deliver and the efforts of more talented sound-engineers and musicians than myself, some sound effects and music tracks that are considerably better than my own efforts to date could not be created with KangaSound.
Risks and challenges
This Kickstarter project is not without challenges, both on the website improvements side and software improvements side. On the website side, I have to deal with a multitude of different browsers, browser versions, browser settings and device types that may connect to the website; anticipate possible attacks on the website; make the web application appear responsive; and get it looking at least presentable (at some stage I hope to get a web designer in to make it look good, but this is not budgeted for here). On the software side, I have to deal with three platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X) and two different databases (MySQL and HSQLDB), in addition to the challenge of introducing the changes and getting them working properly without breaking existing functionality.
It is possible that a setback or series of setbacks could happen that would mean I can't complete the project within the year. Such setbacks could be project-related, or external (e.g. illness). If that did happen, I would eventually complete the project, but it would have to be done in my spare time. I would also consider delegating: Kangas Sound Editor is open-source software, so others can work on it (I have already had significant contributions from others over the lifetime of the KangaSound project).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)