Tunetrace: Turn Drawings into Music


If you’ve even seen a spectrum analyser, that squiggly line that can be used to visualise audio – you’ve no doubt wondered if the reverse was possible. Enter Tunetrace, an app developed by researchers from Queen Mary University London that can turn a drawing into music.


Tunetrace starts with by taking a picture of something, a lined drawing ideally but it could be something else with lines such as a silhouette. The app then detects lines, ending and crossing in the photograph and places points on these. These points then begin to flash and serve an orchestra of beeps and drum sounds. It’s not the kindest on the ear but more elaborate ensembles can be created if you put the time in to creating a more complicated sketch. Most importantly it’s fun and different!


You don’t necessarily need to draw something, a picture with significant structure or lined detail will do. Just don’t expect a picture of the sky to work!

This isn’t the only example of using a drawing to feed an app. Pixel Press recently finished a successful funding round via Kickstarter to create a drawing to video game app.


Tunetrace is available for free for iPhone/Pod/Pad. The research group QApps have a few more diverse apps worth checking out such as MySoulMate and Finger O Scope.


Justin Palmer

Justin is an Android advocate and currently owns a Nexus Phone and 7 Tab, preferring the clean Google flavour over Samsung and HTC clones. While not writing about he can be found hiking in the outdoors.

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