play any instrument with your voice.
explore and create music with only
imitone translates sound into MIDI, the "language" of digital music.
As a virtual keyboard, it can control almost any music app or instrument.
Because it is nearly instant, you can sing and feel like you're playing.
imitone also understands humming, whistling and musical instruments.
Optional modes let you control loudness, vibrato and other effects live.
I say imitone is "intuitive, instant and expressive".
intuitive, because it is the first program of its kind designed with beginners in mind. It takes the place of a conventional keyboard, and requires almost no set-up to get started with any music app.
instant, because it operates in real-time. Its groundbreaking algorithm can lock onto tones with an unprecedented combination of latency and accuracy, recording even the tiniest fluctuations in pitch and loudness.
expressive, because it is designed top-to-bottom as an object of play -- to make you feel as if the instrument you're playing is an extension of your voice.
imitone makes music from your voice, not your thoughts.
To use it effectively, you must sing in tune -- which takes learning.
imitone aids in this process by visualizing the tone of your voice like a guitar tuner. With continued use, you can learn to sing in perfect tune, and to use imitone more effectively.
Instead of the traditional Fourier Transform approach to pitch analysis, imitone uses a completely new technique called the "self-attuning resonator cell".
Self-attuning resonators are capable of "locking on" to the precise frequency of a tonal sound, and "riding" it around the spectrum as it fluctuates. This attunement is both fast and precise so imitone can, for instance, precisely graph the sweeps of a rapid vibrato.
This core technology enables highly accurate pitch tracking at very low latencies, and can detect changes in volume, vibrato and timbre in real-time.
Though unfinished, imitone is already the world's most responsive real-time voice MIDI controller. This owes to its novel resonator technology.
You can see a recent version of imitone in action here:
It is in beta and will see significant improvements before release.
Due to the science involved it would be dishonest to give a hard millisecond number. Like the human ear, imitone reacts more quickly to higher-pitched sounds.
The long explanation:
The latest imitone algorithm can lock onto a tone and begin playing it in 2-4 periods of the tone, plus 5 milliseconds for confirmation. The number of periods depends on how "complex" the tone is. Whistles and high vocal notes are very simple, while deep, gritty sounds are more complex and tend to respond more slowly. To find the millisecond latency for a given pitch, divide a number between 2000 and 4000 by its frequency and add 5. Notes above C3 (the bottom of the tenor range) will typically respond within 30 milliseconds.
imitone offers a low-latency (hare) mode and a high-latency (tortoise) mode. The high-latency mode is more effective in poor recording conditions, but adds 35 milliseconds of additional confirmation time. Latency has decreased throughout development and further improvements can be expected by version 1.0.
Bear in mind that your operating system, audio mode and music-making software may introduce additional latency when using imitone!
imitone should run on almost any PC or Mac from the last 6 years.
You will need a microphone, some headphones and a music app.
For best results, use imitone in a quiet place -- away from background noise like people talking, television, or music.
The music app can be virtually any piece of music software -- if it can use a MIDI keyboard, it can use imitone.
imitone is designed as a controller: small, simple and good at its job.
As a small company, it would take many years to make even a simple music production program. imitone talks to other programs so it can leverage their power while remaining small and inexpensive.
Our "getting started" guide (forthcoming) describes several accessible apps (including free ones) that can be used to get off the ground with imitone.
The final version of imitone will include several built-in instruments, as a "try me" mode.
The microphone does not need to be anything special -- imitone works well even with low-quality microphones.
What is more important is isolation from background noise, which is why headphones are recommended. It is better to use a microphone which is close to your mouth than one which is far away.
Use of a cardioid microphone and careful adjustment of imitone's volume threshold can make it possible to use imitone without headphones, or even in loud environments such a live music performances. A throat microphone can isolate your voice even better, but these can be difficult to find.
So imitone hears you and not your speakers.
If you are controlling a digital instrument, and its sound is coming from your speakers, then your microphone will detect two tones: Your voice, and the instrument. This leads to feedback loops where a note will keep triggering itself after you have stopped singing.
imitone is an accessible tool for everyone, with the goal of allowing non-musicians to express their musical ideas on a computer. It is designed to be taken in at a glance and approached like a toy, offering everything you need and very little you don't:
imitone is a virtual MIDI controller. All major music software supports MIDI, meaning imitone can be used with nearly any desktop music application or virtual instrument.
imitone can also direct its MIDI out to a hardware device, making it possible to control analog synthesizers with your voice.
imitone prime is a full-featured tool for performers, hackers and professionals. It offers the full capabilities of imitone's technology, but demands greater technical knowledge to use:
imitone prime can process multiple microphones in parallel, directing each one to a different MIDI channel where it may control a different instrument. Each voice can be configured separately, allowing you to fine-tune a completely virtual performance.
See a demonstration here.
imitone is limited to A440, 12-edo tuning. imitone prime will support arbitrary tunings, including just- and well-tuning, microtonal scales and custom schemes imported from Scala files.
Certain features such as automatic scale detection may be limited when using unusual tunings.
This experimental feature will detect multiple simultaneous notes, allowing two people to sing into a single microphone, or control over imitone with multiple-stringed instruments.
Because this is an incredibly difficult problem to solve, there are no guarantees it will work well!
imitone prime will support reconfiguration of each articulation to custom CCs (coarse or fine) or aftertouch (mono or poly). Pitch bend range and ranges for other articulations will also be accessible.
Support for keyswitches is tentatively planned. These will allow you to use another MIDI controller to toggle settings or select presets in imitone, allowing you to control it on-the-fly during performances.
imitone prime will provide access to hidden "knobs and dials", allowing you to fine-tune the algorithm for your needs.
This is most useful when using imitone in an unusual way -- transcribing spoken words to notes, for instance, or using an exotic instrument.
Note that only Multiple Instrument Control is available currently!
For this reason imitone prime is currently offered at a discount.
imitone is independent software by Interactopia LLC, a tiny company located in Ames, Iowa. We create software for a sense of wonder.
Evan Balster -- Developer, Customer Support (contact)
Richard Hogg -- Graphic Designer (consultant)
Marlon Wiebe -- Videographer (consultant)