Guide for Composers and Audio Describers

The software for creating and editing Tonesight projects is available free of charge at 
It can be used by musicians and audio describers to quickly create Tonesight projects for any image, allowing them to choose music or sound files from a computer and attribute them to parts of a picture or photograph.

The projects can then be downloaded and activated on a computer containing the Tonesight Player software.

Meanwhile, the site’s ‘Preview’ option allows the user to trial a project at any stage, using the computer’s mouse to imitate the movement of the user’s hands in the gallery.

Step-by-step guide to creating a project:

  • Visit and sign into the site by creating a username and password.
  • You will be taken to a page of images.
  • To use an image already uploaded to the site simply choose the image, create a title and click ‘Create Project’.
  • An editing screen will appear, showing the image on the left and a Sound Library on the right-hand side.
  • The next step is to find the appropriate sound files on your computer and add them to the ‘Sound Library’. Clicking the ‘+’ sign to the right of ‘Sound Library’ will open the computer’s Finder. Choose a sound file and click ‘Open’.

Adding Sounds

What sort of sound files can be used? Ideally, a sound file would consist of a single track that is part of a multi-layered piece of music or soundscape. For example, the sound files could consist of separately saved (or ‘bounced’) layers of a track produced on sequencing software such as Logic, Pro Tools or Sibelius. Alternatively, it could be one of a number of relevant sound files recorded through a voice/audio recorder or sound editing software such as Audacity. PLEASE NOTE: the preferred format of the sound files is mp4 or Wav files. MP3 files do not work in the current version of the program. Sound files must not exceed 10MB in size. For longer sounds please choose ‘MP4’ when exporting from your audio software.

  • Your chosen sound file will be added to the Sound Library. For larger files, this may take longer and depend on internet connection speeds.
  • Once in the Library, the chosen sound will be available to choose as a marker. Click and drag on the dotted circle, then drop your sound onto the correct part of the picture.
  • The sound will be added to the picture as a red marker. This marker can then be moved around to the appropriate point in the picture.
  • Repeat the above steps, adding different sound files for various parts of the image
  • To repeat a marker, click ‘D’ for Duplicate on the keyboard
  • To delete a marker, select the marker and click Backspace
  • To zoom in on one area of the picture, use ‘Command +/-‘ on the keyboard
  • To delete a sound, click on the rubbish bin to the right of the sound in the Library
  • To preview an individual sound, click on the play button beside each soun

Previewing a project:

  • To preview a music project click the ‘Play’ triangle next to the project’s title. A new browser window will open, containing the image and markers.
  • Use the mouse to preview the sounds in the project. You can return to edit the project at any point, moving markers or adding/deleting sounds where necessary. N.B. For an Audio Description project, click the talking icon next to the play triangle. This will preview the sounds as unrepeated ‘one-shot’ sounds which is more suited to a spoken description of the image.

More functions for the Previewer:

  • When using the Previewer, pressing ‘M’ will get rid of the dots and pressing ‘C’ will eliminate the circle
  • Use up and down cursor keys to increase or decrease the size of the playing circle. This imitates moving the hand in towards the painting (smaller circle) and out again (larger circle).

To return to the editor, simply close the tab containing the Previewer.

Saving Projects

Projects are saved automatically, provided that you are still connected to the internet. If the disk icon is dimmed (and therefore not clickable) your project has already been saved and will be accessible next time you log on to the site.

Using a project with the Machine

Please note, that order to activate the projects through movement (by using a Tonesight machine) the projects need to be downloaded and then reopened on a computer containing the full Tonesight software. To discuss obtaining the full software please email Richard Navarro-Pollott on the address below.

For Teachers/Project Leaders:

The website offers the possibility of composers joining an ‘institution’ through a given password. This is particularly useful for teachers who wish to monitor and give feedback on students’ compositions, or collaborators working jointly on a project. The teacher or project leader can be designated as an ‘institutional admin’, meaning that the students’ projects are made visible to them for previewing. For more information on joining the site as an institution please contact