A wavescape is the visualisation of the distribution of a particular analytical information accross a musical piece in terms of a colored triangle. Every point in the triangular area represents a segment of the piece and the chosen brightness and hue of its coloring represents the specification of the analytical information in the segment under consideration. The idea is inspired by Craig Sapp’s keyscapes (see https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~craig/keyscape/).

Each color point in a wavescape encodes the magnitude (brightness) and the phase (Hue) of a certain complex number, namely a chosen Fourier Coefficient of the pitch class distribution of the given segment. To visualise the Discrete Fourier Transformations (DFT) of all the local pitch class contents accross a given piece one inspects a family of six wavescapes, one for each Fourier coefficient from the 1st to the 6th.

The term wavescape stands for the idea that each of these color points represent the energy and the phase of a sine wave in the Fourier decomposition of the corresponding pitch class distribution. The term has been introduced in the Masters Thesis of Cédric Viaccoz in the context of the research program of the Digital and Cognitive Musicology Lab at the EPFL.


midiVERTO is a nice Web-Application for the analysis of musical pieces using this approach which was subsequently developed. It provides very intuitive and interactive means for the visualization of the analytical results. The website also contains a synopsis of the underlying theory and provides links to related articles.