SonicVisualiser  1.9
Sonic Visualiser

Summary of interesting classes

  • Data models: Model and subclasses, e.g. WaveFileModel
  • Graphical layers: Layer and subclasses, displayed on View and its subclass widgets.
  • Main window class, document class, and file parser: MainWindow, Document, SVFileReader
  • Turning one model (e.g. audio) into another (e.g. more audio, or a curve extracted from it): Transform, encapsulating the data that need to be stored to be able to reproduce a given transformation; TransformFactory, for discovering the available types of transform; ModelTransformerFactory, ModelTransformer and subclasses, providing the mechanisms for applying transforms to data models
  • Creating the plugins used by transforms: RealTimePluginFactory, FeatureExtractionPluginFactory. See also the API documentation for Vamp feature extraction plugins at
  • File reading and writing code: AudioFileReader and subclasses, WavFileWriter, DataFileReader, SVFileReader
  • FFT calculation and cacheing: FFTModel, FFTDataServer
  • Widgets that show groups of editable properties: PropertyBox for layer properties (contained in a PropertyStack), PluginParameterBox for plugins (contained in a PluginParameterDialog)
  • Audio playback: AudioCallbackPlaySource and subclasses, AudioCallbackPlayTarget and subclasses, AudioGenerator

Data sources: the Model hierarchy

A Model is something containing, or knowing how to obtain, data.

For example, WaveFileModel is a model that knows how to get data from an audio file; SparseTimeValueModel is a model containing editable "curve" data.

Models typically subclass one of a number of abstract subclasses of Model. For example, WaveFileModel subclasses DenseTimeValueModel, which describes an interface for models that have a value at each time point for a given sampling resolution. (Note that WaveFileModel does not actually read the files itself: it uses AudioFileReader classes for that. It just makes data from the files available in a Model.) SparseTimeValueModel uses the SparseModel template class, which provides most of the implementation for models that contain a series of points of some sort -- also used by NoteModel, TextModel, and SparseOneDimensionalModel.

Everything that goes on the screen originates from a model, via a layer (see below). The models are contained in a Document object. There is no containment hierarchy or ordering of models in the document. One model is the main model, which defines the sample rate for playback.

A model may also be marked as a "derived" model, which means it was generated from another model using some transform (feature extraction or effect plugin, etc) -- the idea being that they can be re-generated using the same transform if a new source model is loaded.

Things that can display data: the Layer hierarchy

A Layer is something that knows how to draw parts of a model onto a timeline.

For example, WaveformLayer is a layer which draws waveforms, based on WaveFileModel; TimeValueLayer draws curves, based on SparseTimeValueModel; SpectrogramLayer draws spectrograms, based on WaveFileModel (via FFTModel).

The most basic functions of a layer are: to draw itself onto a Pane, against a timeline on the x axis; and to permit user interaction. If you were thinking of adding the capability to display a new sort of something, then you would want to add a new layer type. (You may also need a new model type, depending on whether any existing model can capture the data you need.) Depending on the sort of data in question, there are various existing layers that might be appropriate to start from -- for example, a layer that displays images that the user has imported and associated with particular times might have something in common with the existing TextLayer which displays pieces of text that are associated with particular times.

Although layers are visual objects, they are contained in the Document in Sonic Visualiser rather than being managed together with display widgets. The Sonic Visualiser file format has separate data and layout sections, and the layers are defined in the data section and then referred to in the layout section which determines which layers may go on which panes (see Pane below).

Once a layer class is defined, some basic data about it needs to be set up in the LayerFactory class, and then it will appear in the menus and so on on the main window.

Widgets that are used to show layers: The View hierarchy

A View is a widget that displays a stack of layers. The most important subclass is Pane, the widget that is used to show most of the data in the main window of Sonic Visualiser.

All a pane really does is contain a set of layers and get them to render themselves (one on top of the other, with the topmost layer being the one that is currently interacted with), cache the results, negotiate user interaction with them, and so on. This is generally fiddly, if not especially interesting. Panes are strictly layout objects and are not stored in the Document class; instead the MainWindow contains a PaneStack widget (the widget that takes up most of Sonic Visualiser's main window) which contains a set of panes stacked vertically.

Another View subclass is Overview, which is the widget that contains that green waveform showing the entire file at the bottom of the window.