Innovative music software: Noodle and Hyperscore

Saturday 12 April 2003

Two programs that experiment with new ways of creating music on computers.

Noodle is a a clever sound loop palette. A dozen or so “instruments” are presented in a zodiac-like arrangement. Clicking on the instruments start them playing. Each instrument has a few different sounds it can make. The sound loops are expertly constructed so that any combination of them sounds good together. The genius of Noodle is that you can’t go wrong. Also, the interface is totally unique: distance from the center “sun” controls volume, dragging the sun capsule to the edge saves the current configuration, and you quit by clicking through a tear in the screen to the OS below.

Hyperscore is a different beast, more of a real music construction kit. First you create snippets called “motives” (motifs?), and assign them to pen colors. Then you draw with the pens on your music canvas to construct scores. A few different harmonies can be automatically applied.

Both are worth checking out for their unusual approaches to interacting with music. Noodle gives the impression of playing with art to make music. Hyperscore feels like the ultimate intuitive interface to writing music.


"Also, the interface is totally unique: distance from the center "sun" controls volume, dragging the sun capsule to the edge saves the current configuration, and you quit by clicking through a tear in the screen to the OS below."

Yeah, that's great, but I like my interfaces the way they are. I hate it when something decides it's better than the rest of my stuff and does things its own way.

That also goes for people who use code like href="javascript:" Ned. It's annoying to middle-click to open your comments box in a new window, and be presented with a completely blank window.

If you really *must* open comment boxes in a new window (why ffs?) at least do it properly, with an onclick event (and a suitable fallback for the href. Like this:

<a href="foo.php" onclick="bar(); return false;">

(oh and another thing: there's no indication whatsoever as to what kind of code you allow in comments. Plenty of people allow HTML, plenty of people don't. I had to mangle my example to be sure it didn't disappear (no preview either).)
...and somehow it decided to mangle my code anyway. Great stuff, this comment box.

btw, you might like to know you are completely vulnerable to a cross-site scripting attack. Something to fix, pronto.
For applications that I need to use all the time to get real stuff done, I agree: the interfaces should be conventional. But it's also useful to see new ideas for how things could work, and for programs designed to appeal to those who don't typically use computers (such as children), "conventional" has no meaning, so new ideas as good as any other.
About the failings of the comment system: the comments are hosted off-site (by They are not the Rolls-Royce of comments, and there are things I wish they could do better. But it was very easy to get started with, and my time is the most limiting factor on this blog, so I went with it. Perhaps in the future I'll change it.
Hi Ned.
I've seen a lot of Domino/Bloggers/Musicians on the net, and I've very glad to see that you like music too.
I play Blues, but I do some eletrtonic music too. and I use FruityLoops. Not the guys released FLStudio, that includees Real time audio recording, MIDI integration, SW sintethyzers, Loops etc.

BTW, your comments system is ok :-P

Fair enough Ned, I completely understand about time being of the essence. I just hate seeing basic mistakes being made that could be prevented with a few lines of code.

Theory: somebody could use the xss hole in your comment system to grab your cookies. From there, perhaps your password to your blog (I haven't investigated in detail). Most people use the same password across multiple applications - so I'm guessing your blog password is the same as your email password. Voila: access to your email account due to choosing a low-quality third-party blog commenting system. Who knows what else they could get into from there. It's not nice, and plenty of kiddies out there have the spare time and inclination to do so.
Jim, I appreciate your concern, and your taking the time to point out potential pitfalls. If you can recommend an existing PHP/MySQL package to do comments, I'll probably use it...
Sorry Ned, I roll my own system, and it's not in any fit state to be published. If you can hack the code, just wrap the variable with htmlentities() to escape everything.

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