I first began making “electronic scores” as early as 1998. The original process was very tedious. First I just entered markers in a sound editor at every new sound’s beginning and exported the times of the markers as a text file. For each of these time-markers I then wrote down a symbol in a list (at that time with the Addenda font, later to be replaced with the first version of Sonova), specifying duration and pitch placement and some other parameters. Pitch was mostly just entered as “relative”, using a seven step scale. But I ran IRCAM’s AudioSculpt at this stage as well, to get accurate frequencies from an actual Sonogram of the music.
The list was then used in “Macromedia Director”. It’s an application specifically used for making sprite animations for movies, interactive presentations, and games. The interface is basically a grid of independent “channels”, each having a slot for each frame of a movie where you put graphics or text.
I wrote a program that added prolongation lines according to the duration and placed the symbol at a height according to the pitch, then inserted it into the frames at times calculated from the markers in the sound file. After this the resulting animated score could either be manually adjusted or, as often was the case, I had to go back to the sound editor and place more markers and/or edit the list. This process was slow and frustrating, but at least it prepared me with a long wish-list of requirements for a future program that could one day do this better and faster.
A similar process was also used to make the videos for the article in Journal of Music and Meaning (Thoresen 2007), but as there were only timing to worry about there, those examples were easier to make.
I used the more traditional graphics editor “Adobe Illustrator”. Once the video was reasonably accurate, I could copy and paste from the list of symbols into text objects in Illustrator, as they were just text with the Sonova font. From the list I could also produce text that looked like “tick-marks” as guides for accurate placement of symbols in time (“time” would correspond to horizontal placement on paper).
In 2007 a preliminary study was financed by Lindemanns Legat, aiming to assess the possibility to realize the score making process within the Acousmographe. Finally, in late 2011 the actual work could begin on making the Aural Sonology plug-in.
Using the new Acousmographe version now made it possible to produce a great number of analyses in a manageable time. This work provided healthy feedback for testing (and appending to) the Aural Sonology theory presented in the book Emergent Musical Forms – Aural Explorations (Thoresen 2015).
After a lengthy period of testing, the Acousmographe 3.7.1 with a separate installer for the Aural Sonology plug-in was finally released on May 6th, 2013.