Tuesday, November 08, 2011

RTTTL - The Simplest (and Most Hackable) Sound Format Ever.

As long as I'm on a sound kick I'll share one more discovery I recently made: RTTTL, or RingTone Text Transfer Language. This is a trivial ascii format for describing ring tones:

RTTTL (RingTone Text Transfer Language) is the primary format used to distribute ringtones for Nokia phones. An RTTTL file is a text file, containing the ringtone name, a control section and a section containing a comma separated sequence of ring tone commands. White space must be ignored by any reader application.

Example:
Simpsons:d=4,o=5,b=160:32p,c.6,e6,f#6,8a6,g.6,e6,c6,8a,8f#,8f#,8f#,2g

I copied the above string of gibberish into an .rtttl file on my Android phone, and sure enough, out poured the Simpson's theme song.

With about 10 BNF rules, it's drop dead simple. It seems like it would be a terrifically simple format to generate music problematically, allowing anyone to fool around with programming based music composition.

Of course, producing something enjoyable to listen to is a little tricky, but hey, if you can make 8 bit music sound good, then this shouldn't be that hard, right?

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