Music undeniably plays a huge part in our lives. We’re constantly surrounded by it, and I’m sure there are many of you who would say you simply couldn’t live without music. But when you think about it, isn’t it fascinating that all the music you’re so used to hearing comes down to some circles and dots and squiggles drawn on rows of five parallel lines? For those of us not musically inclined, these notes and symbols may seem like a baffling code, but now, there’s an amazing device that instantly transforms these notes into actual music!

According to the story on DigInfo TV, the device, aptly named Gocen (meaning “5 lines” in Japanese), has been developed by a team at the Tokyo Metropolitan University led by Assistant Professor Tetsuaki Baba and allows you to scan handwritten sheet music and instantly hear it being played.

The range of information that Gocen is able to incorporate is simply quite amazing! Reading the notes to determine the correct pitch based on the note’s position on the stave is just the beginning. Gocen can also read written notation on the instrument that should be used and change the sound accordingly, so if it says “piano” or “guitar” on the music, the notes will be played in the sound of that instrument. The volume of the music can also be adjusted by the size of the notes.

Changing the key is also very easy; if “Fm” (F minor), for example, is written on the music, the system reads that and automatically adds the standard 4 flats to the music for you. Oh, and if it’s playing music as a string instrument, you can even make the note “vibrate” at the end by physically moving the device up and down You have to admit, this is one smart music reader!

According to comments in the DigInfo TV article, the team came up with the idea for this device while talking with publishers of sheet music and musical scores. If you’re interested in the technical details, the system apparently uses what’s called an OpenCV Library and an original algorithm to analyze the music image, but I have to admit, that part is way beyond my understanding, so I’ll leave that to the experts.

The developers of Gocen feel that the device could be a very useful educational tool for music classes at schools to help motivate students to learn to read music. Imagine how much fund kids would have if they had something like this in their classrooms. Of course, Gocen can obviously be a very helpful device for professional composers as well, allowing them to easily get a feel for how their music sounds as they are writing it.

If you’re someone who’s confounded by notes and musical signs, who knows, you may find yourself using this device some day. And even if you’re perfectly comfortable reading sheet music, we still think you’ll find this video quite fascinating. Enjoy!

Source and Gocen photos: DigInfo TV
Top Image: by photosteve101