MUMT 306: Music & Audio Computing I [course page]
Fall 2011 :: Final Project
Hannah Robertson [home page]

Mood Typer:
A Max/MSP patch for real-time content-based text sonification


My project involved building a Max/MSP patch that creates a live musical soundtrack to accompany text, while the text is being typed. I wanted the music to be manipulated by the emotional content of the words used, such that descriptive writing would lead to interesting background accompaniment. To this end, a dictionary look-up component stores and recalls information about the emotional content of a word; when that word is typed, the mood of the music is altered accordingly. The affected musical attributes are melodic content, rhythm, background chord structure, and speed; the sounds are MIDI controlled.

Max/MSP source text: soundTyper patch, soundEditor patch, additional text and image files


There were two main challenges in this project: (1) fitting together all the bits and components in Max/MSP in a relatively elegant, extensible way, and (2) figuring out how each mood should be mapped to the various musical settings. While the first challenge was mainly a technical one, the musical determination was non-trivial and could still use some improvements.


The main Max patch contains the text input box, the Thayer mood plot, and switches to turn on and off the rhythm, melodic line, and background accompaniment. It also links the smaller components.

Results and challenges:

The results can best be determined by playing! Download the patch at the top of the page, and also download the patch that allows for dictionary updating, and have some fun!


Future work