After reading Scripting Java Libraries With Ruby on the Engine Yard blog, I decided to translate the two example programs to Clojure. Please keep in mind though that I’m pretty much a Clojure newbie myself, so the code shown here might not be very idiomatic. In case you have any suggestions on how to improve the code examples presented here, please leave a comment, thank you! To get the most out of this post, you should probably read the section on Java Interoperability in Mark Volkmann’s excellent Clojure tutorial first.
A MIDI Keyboard
The first example listens for a line of text which then gets converted into a playable MIDI sequence. Let’s start with importing the classes we need.
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Next we set up a loop and an exit clause. In case the user enters the word “exit”, we call System.exit to shut down all the threads that got started by Java’s MIDI support.
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The main part of the application constructs a new MIDI sequence by creating a NOTE_ON event for every character in the entered text and then finishing the sequence with a STOP event. The original article states that it favors simplicity over efficiency, so the same also holds true for my “translation”.
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To finish off our first program we play the sequence before prompting for more input (see the loop snippet above).
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Making It More Interactive
While the first example was fun, it wasn’t as interactive as it could be. Therefore the second program launches a GUI window to receive keystroke events, turning a note on or off when a key is pressed or released. Since we don’t have to create MIDI sequences this time, our import statement becomes a lot shorter:
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This example directly accesses the system synthesizer. The following lines open the default synthesizer’s channel 0 (and also create a JFrame object which we’ll use later):
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We then launch a GUI frame as a simple and cross-platform way to receive keystroke events. The KeyListener interface is implemented using Clojure’s proxy macro, using keyPressed and keyReleased events to turn notes on or off.
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Last but not least we display our frame to let the fun begin.
Full source for the second example
I hope this article helped to illustrate how easy it is to use the plethora of existing Java libraries from Clojure. In case you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to leave a comment!