In designing Tido, my starting point was to find an architecture which could unite all the varied ways of experiencing music: notation, audio, video, literature and more. How could all these different types of media connect – intelligently – with a musical work?

There was good notation software, excellent audio and video software – and text was already well dealt with. But what system could embrace and connect all of them? HTML – the markup language for the web – looked like the obvious contender. HTML for music notation was in its infancy, and the best example I could find was called VexFlow.

Mohit, the developer of VexFlow, was working in New York, and I paid him a visit. I was also the first non-academic to approach the Music Encoding Initiative in Germany and propose using their framework, MEI for short, at the core of my Tido architecture. This architecture would require bolting MEI, VexFlow, HTML, audio and JavaScript together, creating a user interface, and building production workflows for converting existing assets into a Tido product.

The challenge was to effectively map different assets on to each other. So that THIS note on a staff could be identified as relating to THAT audio reference point in a recording, as well as THAT video frame and THAT chunk of text about the piece. This ability to align is at the heart of Tido – it’s what powers our vision of the future. They say connection is the future, and for us, it really is.

The big frustration for me was that our experience of music, up to now, has been a splintered one. Notation on paper was in a different space to the same piece as audio, and in a different space again to writing about that piece. But MUSIC itself is one. When I say “Beethoven Ninth Symphony”, you might think of a recording, a score, or Karajan conducting it on video. But they are all expressions of the same piece, just viewed from different angles. It’s like a jewel with many facets – you can look at it from a multiplicity of angles, but at its core it’s all the same object.

Our tagline is “Music. Enriched”. It’s not that music itself isn’t rich, it’s that the more ways it can be experienced, the richer it will be. And Tido’s mission is to integrate all these experiences into a coherent framework. One in which the user can immerse themselves. We believe in flow and join – because this is what the musical experience IS. And, with the Tido Music app, we have built a framework for that experience which also has these qualities.

Brad Cohen, Founder

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