Music, Illustrated

art, analysis, audio
spectrograms   ..   analysis   ..   visualizations   ..   contact

Exploring where signal processing and music share vocabulary.


Audio spectrograms have been around for a while, often with limited resolution (especially in the low register).

A problem: if you can't distinguish a C from a C#, or identify a bass note, you can't do music theory.

I specialize in very high resolution audio images, which are beautiful and interesting.

whale song detail
whale song (detail)

With semitone or better resolution, mapping the color wheel to the octave reveals tonal relationships.

Wynton Marsalis: detail
Wynton Marsalis, 'Blues' (detail)

Characteristic shapes recur, here's an intro.


Spectral post-processing.

Calculating the spectral auto-correlation matrix (following this paper []) benefits from sharp spectrograms.

Beatles, 'Here comes the Sun', auto-correlation matrix. Easy to spot the break.

More processing can produce a multi-resolution edge-detector:
edge detection
Beatles, 'All my Loving', spectrogram with auto-correlation matrix and edge detection.

Which can be used for note and chord finding:



Black and white sets each are a pentatonic scale. Grey keys complete either set to a diatonic scale.

frequency range
Frequency range chart

Available intervals by bandwidth
Available intervals by bandwidth


Music visualization videos can reveal subtle elements, and are fun to watch.

Some examples.
© 2000-2018   N. Resnikoff