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Re: noteOn/noteOff and node lifetimes ...

From: Srikumar Karaikudi Subramanian <srikumarks@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 5 Aug 2012 14:32:50 +0800
Cc: public-audio@w3.org
Message-Id: <F42DF209-C55A-415D-9FC7-0BC554360A73@gmail.com>
To: lonce wyse <lonce.wyse@zwhome.org>
Yes, I agree that it does seem inconsistent. However, the current "one shot" design has some distinct advantages.

Consider the alternatives. If multiple noteOn/noteOff sequences are supported for such source nodes, then there is no obvious answer to how sequences of noteOn/noteOff calls should be handled. For example what should happen for the call sequence "noteOn(1), noteOff(3), noteOn(2)"? Should the second noteOn override the noteOff? Should the noteOff be advanced to happen before the second noteOn? Should the noteOn end up cancelling the scheduled noteOff? etc.  Suppose each noteOn call on such a node is to start a new voice in parallel,  then which of these voices should a noteOff stop - the most recent one or all of them? No particular choice here seems satisfactory or obviously useful to be the default.

However, if an "instantiated voice" is reified as a node (as in this "one shot node" design), we get explicit voice level control of the output audio on top of which we can build MIDI-like management mechanisms such as voice stealing or grouping voices into channels if we want. (If we keep a reference around, we can access the state of these nodes and find out that they have finished, since the objects won't be garbage collected.)

If we need to feed these voices into a complex signal processing graph that we can't afford to create afresh per voice, then we can hold a reference to the subgraph and send the outputs of the one-shot nodes to the persistent subgraph. (It would then be important to make the overhead of creating and destroying such one shot nodes as low as possible.)

For the above reasons, I favour the "voice = one shot node" mapping. But perhaps with better naming of these nodes and the noteOn/noteOff methods, their behaviour can be made clearer? There have been some suggestions such as renaming noteOn/Off to "start" and "stop". Maybe "finish" or "die" might better indicate that "start" cannot be called again. "finish()" would also be consistent with the node's "FINISHED_STATE" enum. Also "source node" is an inadequate description, since we also have "MediaElementSourceNode" and "MediaStreamSourceNode" which don't have this noteOn/Off behaviour. 

Best,
-Kumar

On 5 Aug, 2012, at 12:41 PM, lonce wyse <lonce.wyse@zwhome.org> wrote:

> 
> Hello,
> 
> From where I sit, the problem is a usage issue:
> 
>> Oscillator and AudioBufferSourceNode 
>> objects can only be used once through noteOn/noteOff
> 
> because it seems inconsistent with the way other nodes can be used by creating a graph architecture, and "using them more than once" if     you keep a reference to them around. 
> 
> - lonce
> 
> 
> 
> On 5/8/2012 11:00 AM, Chris Rogers wrote:
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 7:49 PM, Srikumar Karaikudi Subramanian <srikumarks@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> 
>> It appears that the Oscillator node's setup code for the
>> "basic waveforms" is needlessly run for every node ("voice")
>> instantiated. To avoid repeating the waveform setup code,
>> can we perhaps delegate the task of creating the basic
>> waveforms to the AudioContext object instead of the Oscillator
>> node? i.e. AudioContext.createWaveTable(type) can be
>> overloaded to return a wave table of the requested basic
>> waveform which can then be assigned to any number of
>> oscillator nodes.
>> 
>> Thoughts?
>> 
>> Hi Kumar, I see you must have been poking around in the WebKit source code to see this :)
>> You've indeed found an inefficiency in the implementation, and might consider filing a WebKit bug about this.  But, it's an implementation detail and can be optimized there, without needing to modify the API.
>> 
>> Cheers,
>> Chris
>>  
> 
Received on Sunday, 5 August 2012 06:34:50 GMT

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