Back to 2000's old-model Nokia phones had a feature called "composer" that could create a file format called .NRT (Nokia ring tone) that played an 1-note-a-time melody.

Using simple text notation, I could choose

  1. Octave
  2. Note
  3. Duration

There was also a settings for speed or tempo.

downloaded example
(image downloaded from digitalspy.com)

I want to know is there any such software that can play a text-to-audio in the similar way?

My preferred output format is MIDI but other formats like OGG and MP3 will be acceptable.

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    Like this one?
    – guidot
    Apr 9 '20 at 12:21
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    @guidot I will try it Apr 9 '20 at 17:12
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    Both answers are so knowledgeable I cannot decide which one to accept. Authors please consider as if I accept all the answer. Apr 9 '20 at 17:33
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    @Dom come on. There are a total of perhaps two text-based notation systems in existence, ABC and MML, and it is not a matter of opinion. This question is asking about them. Apr 10 '20 at 18:31
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    @piiperiReinstateMonica software recs are off-topic here. There's a whole SE devoted to them which is better equipped to handle them with a very stringent policy to keep them focused.
    – Dom
    Apr 10 '20 at 18:33

In the 1980s we had home computers with Microsoft BASIC interpreters that had a "PLAY" command where you could type notes and other musical instructions as text. The system is called MML, Music Macro Language and it has its roots all the way back in the 1970s: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_Macro_Language

According to the Wikipedia page, some smartphones have used MML for ringtones.

In its simplest form, you only type note names. Here's an example of how it works on a 1980s home computer with Microsoft BASIC:

MML is somewhat alive even today, and there are applications which allow editing and playing MML.

If you want to try it out straight away, it can be used with the Javascript-based WebMSX online MSX emulator: https://webmsx.org/

A command reference is available at MSX.org https://www.msx.org/wiki/PLAY

If you select a machine that has an FM expansion (which I think you'll get as default), you can say call music and then play #2, "your notes here". The FM sounds are nicer than the older square wave generator, and you can even have drums. Or "drums".

call music

play #2, "o5cdeccdecefggefgg", "o3cgcccgcccdeccdec"

MML might be an interesting perspective to add in musical education. There's no instrument in the traditional sense, and there's no traditional musical notation either, just note names and lengths, and for polyphonic music you have to divide the notes into voices.

  • An extremely knowledgeable answer. I will try if I can install BASIC and if it can run music this way. Apr 9 '20 at 17:30
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    @AlwaysConfused If you're into retro things, you could use emulators. For example the MSX computers have a good MML implementation and you can even do polyphonic music and use various FM sound expansions youtube.com/watch?v=hGpNMqbRLNg If single-channel beeper is enough, you could use Dosbox and Microsoft's QBASIC for DOS. For MSX there's a Javascript based online emulator "WebMSX" which works in the browser and doesn't need any software installation. webmsx.org Just go to the web page and start using MML music. :) PLAY"CEFAG","O2CCFFC" Apr 9 '20 at 20:12
  • Perfect. Unfortunately I dont have netbanking but these type of projects need to receive donations to survive. Apr 10 '20 at 10:44
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    @AlwaysConfused Great! BASIC programming with these old computers can be a new refreshing experience, because you get visible and audible results so quickly. With WebMSX you can even save your work to .DSK "disk" image files. First Add Blank Disk to Drive A:, then save the program with SAVE"MYSONG", and finally Save Disk Image from Drive A:. There are other emulators available that aren't web-based, and you can use the saved disk images there too. If BASIC feels too clumsy, there are Python based tools, which can be used to convert the MML songs to MusicXML. pypi.org/project/MMLlib Apr 10 '20 at 11:35
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    @AlwaysConfused Wow, I didn't know you could even do that. There's a Help & Settings menu you can access from the lower-right hand corner "gear" icon. From there I saw that there's a special shortcut key Alt+V ... then WebMSX says "PASTE NOW", and then you can paste text. It did work at least from the browser's Edit / Paste menu. Just make sure you copy-paste the example cleanly as pure text without formatting, for example by first pasting it into Windows Notepad or the Mac's TextEdit and switch to plain text mode. Make sure you press Enter on the last BASIC line as well, and then RUN it. Apr 10 '20 at 11:56

It's MUCH more than you're asking for, but Lilypond is a score production program that uses text entry. Primarily designed for producing notation, but there's playback too.

There's a system of music notation called 'abc'. It's described as "a text based format for music notation, particularly popular for folk and traditional music."

Here's a page of software that uses it.

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    Thank you. But its way more complicated. I am looking for it for an elderly person who has difficulty in using basics of computer and smartphones. Apr 9 '20 at 11:38
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    I will install it soon. Seems to be an excellent software I will need it. Apr 9 '20 at 17:32

Here is an existing solution.

It is called "Melody Composer (NOKIA edition)"

Here is a screenshot
enter image description here
from a blog 15 things you’ll only remember if you had a Nokia 3310

It can be found in Softpedia.

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