Is it possible for iTunes Visualizers to access the entirety of song data in order to display a full, un-animated waveform of the currently playing song? Perhaps the extent of the visualization would be a progress bar that sweeps over the song as it plays.

Assuming this is even possible, does something like this already exist?

2 Answers 2


I don't think it exists, since Quartz provides limited input for the iTunes track, and mostly real-time.

Quartz is the graphic layer of Mac OS X. Quartz Composer is a tool used to easily create animations, transitions, filters, visualizers, etc that work with this technology. As far as I know it is the only way of making an iTunes visualizer.

When you attempt to create a new visualizer in the latest version, you get a pretty straight-forward of the input you'll get from iTunes:

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Here´s a closer look:

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There is no file input of any kind. Not even the filename/path, and even if there were Quartz are graphic libraries, thus it's ability for processing data, including sound waveforms is limited. All this input is received in real time, sent by iTunes: Quartz can only receive the numbers/text it is being given in real time, but not actually call any read operations on the sound file, and decode it to a sound wave.

I'll have to say, at least with Quartz Composer, no, it is not quite achievable. I don't think you can create iTunes visualizers in any other way, and I haven't seen a visualizer with such functionality.

Hope it helps!


  • While it's not exactly the same thing, I asked this question after reading something about doing this via iTunes LP / TuneKit. Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 10:02
  • Oh. My. God. It's been two days I was searching for a way to create an iTunes visual plug-in. I was ready to code and all… It was in Quartz Composer! I can't believe it. So glad I found the answer of a totally unrelated question to answer mine! :D
    – Frizlab
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 20:25
  • I'm glad you found my answer useful (even if it was trying to answer a totally unrelated question hahah d:)!
    – kevin9794
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 0:08

There is nothing within iTunes that can do this, but there is an external audio editing program called Fission (US $32), from Rogue Amoeba Software, that will display a full waveform for any file in your iTunes library (without the need to convert the file to another format first). Fission has a free trial. Select a song in iTunes, go to File: Show in Finder, and then open the revealed file in Fission.

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