Exrtracting automation data
May 14, 2009 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way to extract/copy the automation data (e.g. volume, panning in real audio or midi) from a music sequencer so that it can be displayed and analyzed as numerical data in another programme? Is there an indirect way to do the same thing by tracing the line in a graphics programme?

I am planning a musical rating experiment where participants rate various features of an audio clip in real time. It is really convenient to use the automation data (e.g. panning) of a sequencer programme, where they have a draw tool (in particular I have Ableton live 7). It will look something like this in the end.

So is there a way to capture this data so that we can analyze it with another programme (e.g. to present as a list of numbers in excel)? Perhaps there's even an indirect way to do a screen capture and then draw a line matching it in a graphics programme, and then extract that data?? The ultimate goal is to make detailed quantitative comparisons of ratings by different people that can be lined up with features of the music at a particular moment.
posted by leibniz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Midi uses controller numbers to store pan and volume info which can easily be extracted from the data. In ableton you can export midi so simply need a program or SDK to read, parse and spit out or analyze the midi data you want.
posted by sundri at 7:07 AM on May 14, 2009

I know I can export MIDI data, what I need is that crucial second stage where I can read it in another format. If you know a programme please let me know what it is and where I can get it!
posted by leibniz at 7:31 AM on May 14, 2009

MIDI-OX has a very useful midi to txt utility. It's a Windows (95 and on) only commandline util, but it should run under Dosbox. Note that the output format, .mtx, is just a straight text file.
posted by zerokey at 7:50 AM on May 14, 2009

Thanks Zerokey. This Midi-ox looks interesting but a bit confusing. How do I load up my exported midi file?
posted by leibniz at 8:23 AM on May 14, 2009

It's not MIDI-OX itself, but a separate utility. I just realized that the direct link I posted doesn't work. Download this. Unzip and install. You should then be able to right click a midi file and select "convert to mtx" or some such. If the contextual menu item doesn't show up, you can run it from the commandline (be default, it installs to c:\program files\Midi2Mtx): c:\program files\Midi2Mtx\Midi2Mtx.exe inputmidifile outputfilename
posted by zerokey at 8:34 AM on May 14, 2009

You could probably work something up with pd....but it takes a bit of learning to get straight. This would allow real-time monitoring/analysis of the midi stream, while it's playing.

Not sure how necessary that is...but it's an option.
posted by AltReality at 9:27 AM on May 14, 2009

My apologies, I did not completely understand your question.

If you know programming you could use something like jmusic. This would allow you to get very specific info, and display or output it any way you want.
posted by sundri at 9:40 AM on May 14, 2009

Thanks for the help everyone. I will have to get back to you in a few days...
posted by leibniz at 1:01 PM on May 14, 2009

Does it have to be a particular sequencer? Ardour automations are stored as xml, which is very easy to parse and export to whatever format you need. Plus it is free and open source.

If you are stuck with Ableton, I recommend getting the version with the max/msp plugin and routing the automation data into a max patch which can then massage and export the data to your liking. This would be like the pd solution offered above, but integrated into Ableton (in general I would recommend pd as well, but in this case the built in max/msp will probably be much easier).

Both of these solutions, of course, require some entry-level programming skills.
posted by idiopath at 12:04 AM on May 16, 2009

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