Collaborate on music

    What does the collaboration of musicians on a project in the modern world look like? Something like this : - a computer, sometimes a MIDI keyboard, specialized software (for example, Propellerhead Reason) and a bit of discussion. Remote work is a bit more complicated. Typically, a discussion consists of the following steps:


    1. in some editor, a musical sketch is made and saved to a file
    2. the file is sent to the second participant via Skype chat, email, DropBox or another file sharing
    3. the sketch opens in the exact same editor of the exact same version, corrects and is sent back
    4. replay to the final version

    The problems of this exchange method are immediately obvious.

    1. all participants must have exactly the same software installed, otherwise the files cannot be edited. And using the standard .mid is of little use since the sound will be different due to different sound banks.
    2. Saving to a project file is not always a trivial task. For example, Pro Tools for exchange purposes saves the entire session in a huge archive along with the settings connected by plugins and samples.

    What should be the ideal service for collaboration

    PowerFX Soundation , Kompoz , Audiotool , Propellerhead Discover , other solutions from this niche have a millionth audience. However, all of them do not fully support a set of simple features:
    - everything should work online without installing additional software and without Flash
    - it must work on mobile devices, which means that the interface of the built-in editor must be adapted for small screens and finger input
    - publication and opening of musical fragments should be carried out in one click without rewriting files, etc.
    - import / export to common formats is required (at least .mid)


    We tried to implement all of the above requirements in our service. You can test the service here : - as you can see, everything opens in one click, the sound quality is quite sufficient for the goals. Links are opened from any blog / forum (in this case, Reddit) without registration.

    Technical details

    Browser support for the Web Audio API made it possible to implement full wave synthesis.
    Most modern phones have enough power to draw tens and hundreds of notes on canvas in an html page without visible lags.

    Of course there is a fly in the ointment
    - Internet Explorer does not support Web Audio (but Microsoft has announced support for the new version).
    - The Web Audio standard is changing more often than we would like, for example, the createScriptProcessor method has already been deprecated and it is proposed to use createAudioWorker instead.

    In the following articles we will tell in more detail about the used tools and solutions.

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