imSynt-now for Facebook!

So, I’ve been working on my Android App. It’s called imSynt and turns your images into music.

Now I’ve added a new twist. You can now upload your syntlets to Faceboook. Before I release this in general, I decided to first have a couple of weeks to test it.

For that, I need people who’re willing to test the app. And I thought of the people on this board.

So, you’d be getting the full version of the app for testing purposes. You need:

  1. A device with Android on it
  2. A Facebook account

To register, I’ll ask that you post in the marketplace or in MPSIMS. I’ll get back to you with the next steps you’ll have to follow.

Video that shows how imSynt works
Free version on Google Play

I have both of the aforementioned requirements. I’ll give it a try! As a musicologist, you’ve piqued my curiosity…:slight_smile:

Slight amendment to the testing procedure.

It seems that even for beta testers, Google Play asks for payment first (before any testing can begin). So, for anyone who wants to test this:

a.) Share your mail address with me in a PM so
b.) I can send you the program file (called APK) which you’d have to install on your phone


purchase the app and tell me the date/time when you bought it. That way I can refund it, and you’ll have access to the Beta test versions…

I’m not going to do a full review right now, but just touch on the Facebook integration. I think users will expect that you can actually both see the image and play the syntlet from Facebook. Plus there are many in the target audience who won’t have Android and won’t be able to get the app if they wanted to.

I can think of three ways to accomplish on-Facebook playback:

  1. Render on the device: convert the midi to a fairly low bitrate audio file, and send the picture. If Facebook makes it hard to have a player, you could even do a quick video with one frame and an audio track. Downside is that it will take the most time. Upside is that all or nearly coding would be done in your Android app

  2. Render on a server: this time, send the image and the .syn file to a server, and then have that server do the conversion outlined above. Downsides: you’d have to code the server app, and you’d have to use your own CPU resources. Upside: like the above, it would work directly on Facebook with minimal coding on their part. And the MIDI audio would be standardized, nor relying on the user’s sound card.

  3. Render client-side, in browser: This is my preferred way. Have the Android app send the syntlet file and the image, and use a Flash or possibly JavaScript MIDI player, while showing the image. Downsides: possibly a lot of coding, although the code may already exist. Upsides: Little CPU usage server side, files publish quickly, might be able to modify code to implement more and more features, helping you with an eventual Facebook app.

Well, I played around with it for an hour. I thought about writing about it on my blog, but I never got around to it…procrastination! :slight_smile:

I don’t know what to think. I ran about twenty different photos through it. Everything sounds like it was concocted by a student of Anton Webern. As far as I can tell, each different pixel’s color is turned into a pitch on the range of the instrument. The problem is that it follows a twelve tone, chromatic scale, rather than, say, whole tones or pentatonic. I feel that some retooling on that aspect would make something more melodic.

Also, have you considered some sort of harmony, or polyphony? I would be excited to hear some note on note action! :stuck_out_tongue:

Besides that, it’s a fun app to play with. Definitely worth the retail price for the fun of it!

First and foremost: Thank you for taking the time to both look at my app and post this! Much appreciated!

I also appreciate, very much, the suggestions you make to help me with ideas to improve the interaction with Facebook. I probably will go with option 3: I already have both the syntlet and image available via Open Graph.

Still, there’s a lot to do and only me to do it :wink: My first option is to try to finally publish it on the Samsung app market: they’re very thorough in testing and exacting in their specifications, which makes it a challenge.

On the other hand, I’ve achieved the “Developer Select” qualification for Amazon, so I’ll expect to have a couple of marketing helps from their side in some time (they haven’t specified when).

Thank you for your comments! You’re right on the way it works: each pixel’s color turned into a pitch on the range of the instruments that “use” that color.

I’ll have to make some interface changes if I want to use your ideas, so that will take some time, but I definitely like the ideas. For instance, I’ll try to enable the use of whole tones/pentatonic scales for instruments and I need to adapt some screens to do that (the instrument’s configuration at least). Since I’m assigning instruments at startup randomly, I’ll probably assign different scales in a random manner as way, so that’s one excellent suggestion.

I’ll have to read up on harmony options (I confess I don’t know exactly how I’d achieve that). On the poliphony front, it’s possible for several instruments to “play” a pixel; but I’ll have to confess that the phone in reality starts playing one instrument at a time. The sound may end overlapping but I don’t have real poliphony in that sense. I intend to inclue a “recording” option which would generate a MIDI file. On playback this might emphasize the simultaneous nature a bit more, but I’d have to test it.

I’ve got a lot of things to do (improve App for Samsung Market, improve Facebook, etc. etc.) and I don’t have that much time to do them in, but I will, eventually, come around to implementing some of your suggestions at least.

Like I said before: thank you very much for your time! One last thing: would you mind very much posting a comment on Google Play? I’d be extremely grateful if you would!

Here’s something I noticed by accident: you can add some actual varied rhythms by setting the lowest piano note even lower. Below 20 or so, the piano just didn’t play. By having some rests in there, it created some rhythm, which really did help add variation to the music.

Piano and Organ were honestly my best instruments, actually.

One of the things I had to correct, actually. When I changed my phone to a newer version, I noticed that all of a sudden some instruments didn’t play! Turns out that the default settings I had didn’t produce notes for some of the instruments.

I like the Harp and the Recorder, myself. Tubular Bell is nice, too. And it works best when you use impressionistic paintings…

imSynt-now is the best phone for using the Facebook.

Not at all! When I get back home from my conference and have a proper computer, I’ll be sure to write one up! :slight_smile:

If anyone is interested in installing my app from the Samsung store: I’ve got a few coupon’s available.

Contact me for the code and instructions, if you’re interested.

Long-overdue update: I added in-Facebook support to play your syntlets. I used option 3, with a twist. My app is hosted on Heroku and I opted to generate a “canvas” app which shows directly in Facebook. The downside is pretty low (almost no coding, since I was able to find a Javascript library which includes the proper soundfonts).

I could even easily make the the app wholly independent from Facebook but in that case I’ll have to find a way to store images and JSON data and handle logins myself as well…

I’ll try it again soon. My dad actually has a real Android device, so I can try it there, instead of on my slow emulator.

I’ll send you an updated version of the apk, probably even during this weekend :wink: