Algorithmic Arts Bio2MIDI v2.1

Controls Pitch Map Making a MIDI File DNA Files Included Files

What does Bio2MIDI do?

Bio2Midi is a utility program that converts the text of a DNA or protein sequence to a MIDI file, which you can immediately audition, or import into any MIDI sequencer for further compositional processing.

You can choose to listen to the sequences as 4-note DNA bases, or as 20-note protein amino acids, or both at once. You can select specific data sections to be translated, called exons and introns, and you can mark areas of interest to be played in a different instrument.

In order to provide a fast, easy sketchpad for converting and listening to the sequences Bio2MIDI translations are kept simple, giving only direct pitch translation of the DNA and protein sequences. For composing with genetic sequences, much more powerful Biological Sonification software is available on the Algorithmic Arts web site:

Getting Started

To use Bio2MIDI, use the Open button to open a text file that contains DNA or protein sequence data. You can start with the sample sequences included. The sequence to be translated needs to be set off with a tilde (~) character at its begining and end. This is already done in most of the example files; when the file is opened the marked area is highlighted and the >MIDI button, which will make the translation becomes enabled. Simply click on the >MIDI button to hear the translation.

Text Editing Characters

The following characters can be inserted into the sequence text to control translation:

~ marks the begining and end of the sequence. This is the only editing character that must be inserted into the text. When you open a file, if the text is already marked, the marked area will highlight; if there are no delimiting tilde (~) marks, no text will be hightlighted.

[ and ] marks an instrument chage. The left bracket sets the Mark instrument, and the right bracket returns to the default DNA or Protein instrument. The specific instruments are selected by the three drop down menus located at the center top of the screen. These marks are optional, and are usually used to highlight landmarks in the sequence data. The example file, "betaglob.txt" uses these to mark alpha helixes in the human beta-globin protein.

: and ; mark sections to be excluded. See Exons and Introns for more information on when to use these.

Note that these editing characters are a subset of those used by Algorithmic Arts' BioEditor, and any files you edit with Bio2MIDI can be read by the BioEditor and sequenced by our more powerful composing programs such as ArtWonk, SoftStep and BankStep.

Marking Sequence Text

While you are free to directly enter mark characters into the text, there is a better way. Simply click and drag to highlight the area of interest, and marks will automatically be placed, or if they are already within the highlight area, they will be erased. The rules for this are few and simple:

1. If the text is not delimited with tilde (~) characters, click and drag to highlight the area you want to translate; tilde characters will be placed at the start and end of the highlighted text, and the delimited area will highlight.

2. If the text is already delimited with tilde characters, click and drag within the delimited text to place Mark [ and ] left and right brackets that will cause the translation to play with the Mark instrument.

3. To remove Mark brackets, highlight the text that surrounds them. To clear tilde delimiters and all other marks, highlight the dext that surrounds the tilde characters (including the tildes), and all marker characters are removed.

4. To insert : and ; exclusion markers, the same rules apply as for the [ and ] markers, but hold the shift or control key down while highlighting the text area.

Using this text highlighting to insert or delete markers is quick and efficient, but sometimes it gets in the way when you want to manually mark text. If you have inserted markers manually, you can enable them by simply clicking once anywhere in the text.

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Bio2MIDI is copyright © 1998-2006 John Dunn & Alogrithmic Arts. All Rights Reserved.