Moritz was named after Max’s terrible twin (see
Max and Moritz): Max
is a program which specializes in controlling information (sounds) at the MIDI event
level and below. Moritz deals with the MIDI event level and above (musical form).
MIDI events are the common interface (at the chord symbol level) between these levels
In the early 1980s, after working as a music copyist for several years, I made a
real conceptual breakthrough, solving many of the Avant Garde’s problems in
music notation. I have been trying very hard to communicate these ideas ever since,
but this has proved to be a very difficult undertaking. Unfortunately, it is not
enough (even on the web) just to provide good, logical arguments showing that standard
music notation is unnecessarily complicated. I need to show that there are unforseen,
interesting, concrete, commercially relevant consequences.
So one of the main reasons for creating Moritz is to help me develop these ideas
to a point at which they will be more difficult to ignore. With Moritz, which is
an open-ended project, I can build on previous work and create some concrete compositions,
delivering some proofs of concept along the way. If the proofs fail
to convince, I can push on further. Moritz is there to put the screws on. Whatever
happens, the results will at least be unique. Maybe I’m just a Romantic Hero
While the sound of these compositions will of course be related to my taste
and the tradition in which I grew up, I am also hoping that the concepts
will be of more general interest — especially to programmers working in more
commercial environments. Nowadays, software is the key to developing any
kind of music. For example:
Moritz’s future is very open. I'd very much like to:
- Defining music symbols purely spatially suggests easier, more powerful ways to write
user interfaces on the web and in both pre- and post-production music software,
such as sequencers, Max, Cubase, Protools etc.
- For me, the simple idea of developing an assistant performer (see below) was closely
related to the insight that music notation is intrinsically timeless. Time is something
in a performer’s brain, something he/she does in the context of an acquired
tradition of performance practice. It is not something absolute, related directly
to the symbols on paper, screen or hard disk.
Avant-Garde composers were unable to solve this (both sociological and technical)
problem in the 1950s and 60s, and this failure led to the collapse of written music
An assistant performer is something I need as a composer of written new music
trying to re-enable the development of specialized performance practices
and to wake written music out of its 41-year-old coma.
- Turn Moritz into an open source, team project.
- Create scores which can be played in real time in browsers.
March 2012: The W3C Audio WG is currently adding MIDI to its charter...
Moritz’ opening window currently looks like this:
The Current Input Device
pop-up menues at the top allow the user to choose between
the available MIDI input and output devices (see Preferences dialog below).
: and open the
with a new or existing settings
: opens an html or svg file for performance by the
: opens the
open Moritz’ Preferences
Preferences file: This file is always kept in
My Documents/Moritz. On my system, My Documents is set to drive D:. Moritz creates
both its own folder and a default preferences file on startup, if these do not already
Local user folder: The folder in which Moritz
expects to find and create the userís documents. This location can be changed. Related
folders are listed in blue.
Online user folder (URL): The location at which
public documents are kept.
MIDI Devices: When Moritz starts, it scans the
system for active MIDI Devices, listing them in the two upper boxes in this section.
The default devices (the devices initially selected in Moritz’ initial window)
can be set by copying their names into the lower two boxes. My system includes a
permanently connected E-MU Xboard49 keyboard (input device) and a TS22 PCI MIDI
sound card which I do not usually use. The user is warned if Moritz can’t
find a preferred device (usually because it has not been switched on).