The Music Notepad for Tablet PC

Splash screen for the Music Notepad

Overview and History

This program is an outgrowth of the Music Notepad research project. Microsoft funded us to rewrite the Music Notepad for their Tablet PC system as an example and demo of what the system could do. In the process, the set of music notation handled was extended, the gesture set was modified, the internal gesture recognition engine was changed, some features such as the perspective wall were not reimplemented, and a large number of other user-visible changes were made, big and small, including the addition of documentation and a tutorial. The initial rewrite was complete for a beta version of the Tablet PC SDK at the end of 2001, and was modified to work with the final released SDK in 2002. Microsoft very slightly modified our version and released the binary as a Tablet PC PowerToy which they renamed Tablet PC Music Composition Tool. They have since allowed the source code to be distributed under the BSD open source license, which we have made available for download locally (as the original name, Music Notepad).

The first version released here, 1.0.1, has a number of changes (hopefully all enhancements) from the binary version available as a PowerToy:

Version 1.1 was released in December, 2005. I (Tim) spent little bits and pieces of spare time outside of work, here and there, and finished adding MIDI export, one of the most-requested features. In addition, code to allow individual notes to be dragged vertically has been enabled if you click on a notehead with the button on the stylus held down. This version has been tested, but not as extensively as the previous versions were. On the other hand, there were fewer changes, so hopefully that evens out.

We have recently found out from Brown's lawyers that, in many cases, the copyright of programs we create here is ours (unless there was a prior agreement such as in the case of the original Music Notepad). In March, 2007, I changed the copyright notices to reflect that. I have not changed the version number nor made the current installer automatically upgrade existing 1.1 installations, as there really is no change to the code, but the installer and source code now have the right copyright.

Other work

Since working on the Music Notepad, we have done research in a number of other areas on the Tablet PC, some of which have downloadable programs available too.


Egmont Overture
One of the Goldberg Variations (landscape mode)
The Egmont Overture (portrait mode)
Click for full-size image.

Designers and Implementors

Andrew Forsberg, Loring Holden, Timothy Miller, and Robert Zeleznik.



Music Notepad contact mail alias.