Composer - Writing Music in Stata
Why Care Block:
Yo yo, what’s up my Stata-ites! DJ Control+D is in the house because today we’re talking about making music with Stata. There’s a big trend in today’s age involving visualizations, but truth be told, visualizations are so last season. You’ve always been able to see your data, yet have you ever wanted to hear your data? “That’s absurd, I don’t need that.”
Yeah, you’re probably right... but today, this post is for the slacker: from the undergraduate struggling through their Stata homework, to the professional who’s bored with the day-to-day grind, our new command composer is there to brighten up your day and aid with your ever evolving procrastination techniques.
What is composer? It’s a way to create music. How is that music generated? You write a string of notes that get converted to the midi file format. Why did we do this? I’m still asking myself that same question while introspectively reevaluating my life. Truth be told, I love music. Not in the traditional sense, but in the very traditional sense – classical music and music theory has always been a passion of mine and this has been a passion project for a long time now.
Composer makes music in two separate ways. You can write songs from the command line and from a dataset. The command line approach is faster and is especially meant for ad hoc procrastination. The dataset approach is a more methodical way of creating music and actually allows for multiple tracks and multiple instruments.
Take our command line approach:
composer "D, 384D, A, A, B, B, *2A, G, G, F#, F#, E, E, *.25r, *.25Db, 768D" using tt.mid, play replace
We could have also written this first part as D, D, A, A, B, B, 768A, but it’s good to see the variations of this command. First we have notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Each note can be modified using a # (sharp) or a b (flat) which directly follows the note.
A number before the note shows the duration of the note. The quarter note takes the value 384 (3*2^7). This way it can be halved up to seven times with 384 representing a quarter note, 192 representing an eight note, 96 a sixteenth note, and so on. Rather than specify a value, you may also multiply the note by a number to modify the value of the quarter note.
Any number following your note denotes which octave or pitch your note will take. You may also change the instrument using a number or a named instrument available in the composer help file. For instance, say we wrote:
local n1 = "F#,A,E6,D6,E6,D6,A,D6" local n2 = "E,A,E6,D6,E6,D6,A,D6" local n3 = "F#,B,E6,D6,E6,D6,B,D6" local n4 = "G,A,E6,D6,E6,D6,A,D6" composer "`n1',`n1',`n2',`n2',`n3',`n3',`n4',`n4'" using ls.mid, play replace instrument("Pizzicato") bpm(240)
See if you can identify the song!
Now take our data set approach. It’s just like the command line approach, except the command now takes sets of three variables: time duration, note, and octave. Notes can be played simultaneously by adding another track (three more variables). This way we can build chords and add volume to our masterpieces just like Beethoven. But unlike Beethoven, we’re not creating classical masterpieces, we’re recreating pop music. If you weren’t able to pinpoint the song before, here’s the dataset aided version of our previous track.
use http://www.wmatsuoka.com/uploads/2/1/4/6/21469478/ls.dta, clear composer pizzdur pizznote pizzoct p1dur p1note p1oct p2dur p2note p2oct voicedur voicenote voiceoct using ls.mid, play replace bpm(120) instrument(Pizzicato Pizzicato Pizzicato Voice)
And there we have it, a fairly easy way to write music in Stata. Is this interesting? I hope so, especially if you’ve made it this far. I’m sure you’re wondering how useful this is though. Truth be told, this is probably one of the only things on this blog that I haven’t found a general use for but perhaps you can find some sort of practical application and share your thoughts. There will be one more post about music soon which deals with the actual analysis of music which will use composer. Until then, good luck and stay creative future Stata maestros!
8/1/2016 09:00:38 am
Is this what you mentioned to me a while back? It might actually be an efficient way to start up chord progressions when I don't have my midi keyboard.
8/1/2016 12:37:39 pm
This is a new development that will handle chord progression with ease (using the data step approach). I wouldn't say it's all that efficient, but I definitely enjoy using it
9/29/2016 09:35:38 pm
Thank you for sharing your passion project! This is lovely. I've studied economics but I love music. While doing my research, I am trying to be an artist like designing and composing the study. Composer command is like an oasis in the desert!
10/3/2016 08:37:51 am
10/2/2016 07:20:46 pm
Hey there. This is such a good ado!
10/4/2016 06:50:03 am
Cool application for Stata! Tried to use it on my Mac and constantly got the error "/bin/bash: tt.mid: command not found". Perhaps you have some clue how to solve it, thanks. BR
10/4/2016 08:16:31 am
11/14/2016 10:32:13 am
Please submit to http://www.stata.com/meeting/baltimore17/ when call is active in 2 or 3 weeks!
11/15/2016 03:09:30 pm
11/15/2016 04:07:32 pm
11/16/2016 12:06:51 pm
Awesome. I am definitely writing a Happy Birthday script to be sent out on office birthdays!
11/20/2016 04:28:28 pm
After typing the line in Stata
11/20/2016 08:50:31 pm
The .mid file is a midi file that's created from the program. The composer command is more like - export excel - than the - save - command. The file it creates must be played with an external media player.
11/21/2016 07:49:08 am
I am working on Stata 14.2 on OSX. I copied and pasted .ado and files into the Stata's /ado/c folder. Initially when I was running the code I was receiving the following: "/bin/bash: tt.mid: command not found"
A. D. Hoang
11/30/2016 11:28:32 am
12/1/2016 01:47:30 am
This is amazing :D
2/5/2017 12:38:21 am
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9/26/2017 05:28:26 am
ad1game . profit . verifycode: 82171ab0d63675b110e2e611ee8f3b21
2/2/2018 06:49:56 am
2/2/2018 07:58:08 am
It works! I figured it out! This is like the most amazing thing I have seen so far! Thank you soooo much! This is procrastinating on a whole new level!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!
2/8/2023 01:39:35 am
I am glad you take pride in what you write. This makes you stand way out from many other writers that push poorly written content.
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Will Matsuoka is the creator of W=M/Stata - he likes creativity and simplicity, taking pictures of food, competition, and anything that can be analyzed.