Maestro Frankenstein

Maestro Frankenstein: An Application for the Creation of Geophonic Music

Have you ever wondered what climate cycles of the last million years SOUND like? What would happen if you turned tide level data into sound waves? If geological cycles could make music - what would the melody be? The harmony?

Maestro Frankenstein is a unique application that is designed as a multitrack data sequencer to map timeseries data to notes or musical control values. Although designed with geologic data in mind, Maestro Frankenstein creates a score from any timeseries data and plays it back in realtime with any instrument (MIDI, VST or built-in synth) that you specify.

Maestro Frankenstein 2

Maestro Frankenstein 2.0 beta 2 is now online - it generally works, but is not complete. See the user guide.

Maestro Frankenstein 2 is a new, re-imagined, simpler to use version that won't be full of bugs that I can't fix. It doesn't have all the features version 1 had, but it is already much easier, faster and predictable to use.

Maestro Frankenstein 1

Maestro Frankenstein 1 includes Data viewing, basic editing, many musical mapping options, as well as spectral analysis processes such as an average FFT with peak detection and a spectral bandpass filter to create new curves by isolating specific frequencies. You can even turn your data directly into sound waves - usually noisy, and very fun.

Maestro Frankenstein reads most data saved in standard Tab-Delimited Text format, such as can be exported from Excel or OpenOffice. Some sample data files are included to get you going. Text, MIDI and audio files can be exported.

Here's a screenshot. And feel free to leave any comments or questions about Maestro Frankenstein on its MacUpdate page.

Special thanks to Alessandro Montanari, who sponsored the project along with Loccioni/AEA. The original "Frankenstein" software was written by and Gabriele Rosseti who helped me to get this new one off the ground. Grazie!

Please keep in mind that this is beta software and there are still many issues. Please read the included ReadMe file.

Version 0.26 is recommended for all users, but it unfortunately breaks compatibility with project files from version 0.24 and earlier. You can safely have two versions installed on your computer if necessary.


Building on Windows XP requires Max/MSP 4.5 or later, FTM, jasch objects, mkdir and Lobjects. Move the file(s) in the "Win Specific" folder into the folder with the patch (replacing other files). Open the "Maestro Frankenstein" patch and build. The above objects can be easily found on

System Requirements:

Mac: PowerPC G3, G4, G5 or Intel processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later, 512 MB minimum of system memory recommended.

Tested primarily on a 1.25GHz G4 powerbook with OS X 10.4.11. Also tested quickly on a Mac Pro. A version supporting OS X 10.3 may also be forthcoming at some point.

PC: Windows XP (Home or Pro), with 500 Mhz P3 or better processor and 256 MB of system memory recommended. May or may not run on Vista... I have no idea.

Both: At least 800x600 display (1024x768 or greater recommended), MIDI interface and/or VST plugins recommended to get some good sounds.

Version History

0.42 beta

  • Same as 0.4 beta. Had to revert after discovering bad bug in 0.41 beta.

0.41 beta

  • Updated to latest stable version of FTM data manipulation library (FTM 2.2.4) for enhanced stability.
  • Score now comes up in staff mode by default

0.4 beta (Codename: "Wow it sorta does what it is supposed to now!")

  • Finally, a new Windows XP build! Its not that well tested, but it seems to work so far. Please let me know of any problems!
  • Added global commands window that allows you to make changes to all tracks at once. Accessed from the 'Display' menu.
  • Added “Midi File Export Sync Assurance” option in the global commands that adds a tiny midi note at the beginning of each score so that exported MIDI files can be re-synced with confidence in sequencers such as Logic which don't import the beginning of a MIDI file if there is no data in it. Remember to remove this note when you put your piece back together in your sequencer!
  • GREATLY improved the power spectrum plotting in maestro frankenstein. Plots are now done by default with one fft of a zero-padded set of the data. Average power spectra with several frames/lags using a windowing function can still be done.
  • Improved peaks finding feature in the power spectrum – now you can sort by intensity before viewing/exporting peak data. Also it usually works now, and lets you set how many peaks to find with live feedback in the plot.
  • Power spectrum plot window enlarged and vertical view scaling bar improved, with a number field for textual vertical view ceiling entry.
  • Controls in the 'Create Score' window now automatically update the score
  • New brighter UI look in main window
  • Time Scaling changed again – I realized my previous way of doing it was stupid. This method scales the original space between the original 0 and the original first data point, but does not scale any time offset you have added manually in Maestro Frankenstein. Thus temporal relationships between datasets can be maintained when they are all scaled by the same amount.
  • Track colors are now saved
  • [ Change ] since score update is now faster and happens automatically, the colored “update score button” of each track in the main window is no called “Export Score” and now exports the score as a MIDI file in one click, instead of opening the “Create Score” window for each track.
  • [ Fix ] More bug fixes than I can (or want to) remember. Here are a few:
    • Fixed an annoying bug that could skip the first note when generating a score under certain conditions.
    • Getting velocities of notes from a column of data from the same track will now work the first time after a previously saved project is reloaded
    • Maestro Frankenstein no longer takes FOREVER to quit. However, it still takes a long time to erase tracks or to start a new project if you have one open with lots of tracks. This is due to Max's pattrstorage object being really slow at reorganizing itself and there being no way I can find of stopping it from doing aside from deleting the object before close. This is what I do when you quit, so it makes it faster. But I cant do that otherwise, or Maestro Frankenstein will cease functioning altogether. So, I suggest quitting a restarting before creating or a new project or opening another project if you have more then three tracks currently open.
    • Bugs with sample rates in power spectrum window
    • Getting note velocities from other tracks now uses interpolation instead of the value of the last data point

0.3 beta

  • Added playhead indication on timebar and page-scroll during playback. A green line on the timebar shows your progress during playback, placing a tick mark where each note is played. When you reach the end of your screen, Maestro Frankenstein will now scroll to the next page.
  • Score generation is now exponentially faster.
  • [ Change ] Scaling of data now takes into account only the time spanned by the data, eliminating some display and computation errors.
  • [ Fix ] Indication of % length of data is maintained between saves for all new documents, so pressing 100% will always return you to the original length of the data, even after closing and re-opening a project.
  • [ Fix ] Several small unit display and project loading bugs fixed.

0.26 beta Release 2

  • New version of FTM library (1.7.12) brings enhanced stability
  • [ FIX ] Score windows now close on Play to avoid crashes
  • GUI tweaks
  • “All Windows Active” is no longer enabled by default. It can be toggled via the “Window” menu.

0.26 beta

  • [ Fix ] Now works on Intel macs – 0.25 crashed on creating a new track in Intel based macs. Sorry about that!

0.25 beta

  • Built as a Universal Binary with FTM 1.7.11 – no longer are there two separate versions for PPC and Intel Macs!
  • A few minor cosmetic changes and console error messages eradicated

0.24 beta

  • Redesigned the windowed interface:
  • Maestro Frankenstein is now all contained in one easy to manage window, saving you screen space and headache
  • The timeline bar no longer scrolls vertically with the tracks, so it will not disappear when working on tracks at the bottom of a large project :)
  • The horizontal scrollbar is in the same window as the tracks
  • Fixed problems with loss of some settings on project load in version 0.22 beta
  • Fixed anomalous behavior of audition controls is “Create Audio Sample” window
  • Added Master Playback Speed Control in the toolbar: allows for adjustment of playback speed from 0.001x to 1000x in realtime during playback. This is an easy way to speed up or slow down playback of all tracks at once. However it does not affect the speed or tempo of exported MIDI files.
  • Slight file format change (unfortunately this breaks compatibility with projects saved using earlier versions on Maestro Frankenstein and there is no easy way to convert them at this time).
  • More accurate rendering of graphs thanks to updates to the FTM library.

0.22 beta – Mac only (PPC and Intel)

  • Fixed graphical bug with windowing type display in Average Power Spectrum window
  • Updated About box to be less stupid

0.21 beta – Mac only (PPC and Intel)

  • A few little user interface improvements
  • FFT settings and parameters are now actually stored or stored more intelligently than before
  • Compiled with FTM 1.7.8
  • Bug Fixes:
  • Track settings are now properly restored when a 2nd project is loaded without restarting Maestro Frankenstein
  • nasty fft interpolation graphical bug gone (hopefully)
  • fft display now displays correct information from cursor if sample rate is less than 1
  • scaling system for various information displays
  • redesigned to ALWAYS give correct values
  • Files saved with beta 0.2 should still be compatible
  • Documentation Wiki up and running at

0.2 beta – Mac only (PPC and Intel)

  • First public release

0.1 beta

  • The first somewhat usable version of Maestro Frankenstein