Open a new tab, and suddenly you have a powerful, sequenced drum synth making grooves. Give it a shot:
Or read more. (This latest creation came out in June.)
This is either the future of collaborative music making or the Single Greatest Way To Make Music While Pretending To Do Other Work I’ve ever seen.
But, as a new effort works on sharing music scores in the browser, it’s worth checking up on the Web Audio API – the stuff that makes interactive sound possible – and connections to hardware via MIDI.
And there’s a lot going on, the sort of fertile conversation that could lead to new things.
Web Audio and Web MIDI are quite fresh, so developers around the world are getting together to learn from one another and discuss what’s possible. That includes the USA, UK, and Germany:
New York: http://www.meetup.com/New-York-Web-Audio-Meetup/
Paris was also host to an annual, international conference, which took place this year at famed research center IRCAM.
Online synths and other proofs of concept are likely just the beginning. Web music development began as a sometimes muddled conversation about whether browsers will replace traditional app deployment (so far, probably not). But as the tech has matured, developers are instead looking to ways to use the Web to create new kinds of apps that perhaps didn’t make sense as standalone tools in “native” software (or, for that matter, hardware).
That’s why it’ll be interesting to watch efforts like Yamaha’s to add browser-based patch editing and sharing for their Reface line. There are also more ambitious ideas, like using the browser to share audio for interviews, radio conversations, backup, and works-anywhere recording and streaming.
And there’s more.
Keith McMillen has a great two-article series introducing you to Web MIDI.
It explains what this is all about and what it can do – whether or not you are a developer, worth reading. And if you are a developer, code snippets!
There’s even some explanation of how to use MIDI code outside of Chrome. (Firefox and even Microsoft’s new Edge promise support soon.)
Making Music in the Browser – Web MIDI API
Making Music in the Browser – Web Audio API, Part 1
And their blog in general is full of surprisingly geeky wonderful stuff, not the normal marketing stuff. (In fact, let’s be fair, you’d fire your marketing manager if they did this. But… kudos.)
When we first started using the Web, it seemed like a clumsy way to duplicate things done better elsewhere. Now, it promises to be something different: a place that takes the software and hardware we love, and makes it more useful and connected. There’s something wonderful about switching the Internet off in the studio and focusing on making music for a while. But in this model, when you do turn the Internet on again, it becomes a place to focus more on music rather than be distracted.
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