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Lessons / Traning mode

Posted: 06-20-10 9:23 am
by Kasper
This might be something more for synthesia 2.0, but I would like to discuss that direction of the project.

Because, what I would like to see, is a game which learns you how to play the song, while playing a game.

No clicking with the mouse etc, just playing a game.
The only thing you have to do is select a song of your level and then the game learns you how to play it.

For example I'm a real beginner, just bought a keyboard, and so I select the song Row, row, row your boat (the easiest version).

1. Synthesia plays the whole song (like rythm mode 'played automaticly')
2. Synthesia plays the first part of the song (for example: c,c,c,d,e)
3. Synthesia plays the first part at a slower tempo.
4. Synthesia plays the first note, the player has to find the note on the piano, if he hits it, synthesia goes on and plays the second note, if the player hits that note, synthesia goes on and plays the third note, etc.. (this also good to train your ears)
5. Synthesia let you play the first part in practice mode, the first part is looping until you hit all the notes correctly and fast enough.
6. Synthesia plays the first part in rythm mode with a metronome count-in.
7. Synthesia plays the same at a slower tempo.
8. Synthesia let you play the song in rythm mode in for example 50% with a metronome count in.
If you play all the notes correctly the tempo speeds up, if you make too many mistakes the tempo slows down the next loop.(like suggested in loop speed auto increase).
9. After you plays it all correctly at 100%, the same cycle (step 2-8) goes for part 2 (for example: e,d,e,f,g)
10. Then part 3 (for example: ccc,ggg,eee,ccc)
11. Then part 4 (for example: g,f,e,d,c)
12. Then the whole song, (maybe skipping step 2-5), and go for the highscores.

This is basicly how I learned to practice a song from my piano teacher. Dividing the song in little parts, if I memorized and perfected one part I could go to the next one.

What do you guys think?

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-20-10 9:54 am
by TonE
Actually, almost all of your wishes can be done already with the current Synthesia. As far as I know only a small addition is missing: "The possibility to jump directly to a given marker in the midi file, from the command line". I could imagine it as follows:

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Synthesia.exe --marker=number
with number between 1..N, where N would be the total number of all markers. Or additionally even supporting complete marker names, e.g.

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Synthesia.exe --marker=intro
would jump directly to the marker "intro" and start playing from there, maybe with a 2bars metronome count in, or simply two bars earlier, but starting counting the score exactly from the "intro" marker until the next marker. Just imagine the punch in and punch out recording feature in sequencers, this would be the same only for recording "the midi note inputs on your midi keyboard" which is used for the score.

Or even better defining the whole looping range via the commandline as follows:

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Synthesia.exe --startmarker=1 --endmarker=5
or using marker names

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Synthesia.exe --startmarker=chorus --endmarker=outro
I would wish Synthesia would support both methods, using marker numbers 1..N and complete "marker strings". The advantage of 1..N would be you would only need to define your splitted ranges of your song by adding N markers and then you could start some automation which would do exactly what Kasper described above. We can already slow down a song, loop a section, Synthesia waits for user input in practice mode, automatic song speed adjustment is possible based on your score achievement, which I am using here all the time with the help of AutoHotkey.

As written above we need only a new --startmarker=A --endmarker=A+1 feature to define loop ranges automatically via the command line and if reached above a threshold achievement score, we can jump to the next loop segment. This feature would allow us experimenting with various loop segment variation ideas!

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-20-10 12:51 pm
by Nicholas
The idea of packaging up a set of "song/play/command-line/track settings", making a bunch of them, and running them back-to-back is a neat idea. I'd almost want to call them something very top-level like "lessons". After "Pop-up Reminder Notes" goes in from the voting list, you could even have those in there, unique to each setting package. So, during the slow-playback parts a message couple pop up with something like "Try to imagine the fingering for this part. Start with 4, 5, 2." or some other such instruction.

I should probably add those command-line things. I even like the idea of a --loops=3 kind of construct that will only loop a certain number of times. Though, I'm not sure how useful that would be. I just know it would be easy to add. ;)

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-20-10 2:57 pm
by TonE
Nicholas wrote:I should probably add those command-line things. I even like the idea of a --loops=3 kind of construct that will only loop a certain number of times. Though, I'm not sure how useful that would be. I just know it would be easy to add. ;)
Also a great idea, will it be then possible to get a "momentary score" just for the looped region, it would be even enough if that "momentary score" would be only copied to the clipboard but not added to the "full song score list". Then --loops=3 would give for example a momentary score for three times looped range, meaning the score would be based on a "virtual song" having a structure as follows:

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virtual song := loop_notes + loop_notes + loop_notes
The momentary score we would basically need only as a decision criteria for how well we did in the looped segment and if we are allowed to continue with the next segment. Wow, even thinking only of these possibilities makes me feel good.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-21-10 6:27 am
by Kasper
Nicholas wrote:After "Pop-up Reminder Notes" goes in from the voting list, you could even have those in there, unique to each setting package. So, during the slow-playback parts a message couple pop up with something like "Try to imagine the fingering for this part. Start with 4, 5, 2." or some other such instruction.
Yes, that will be like the best of synthesia and a youtube tutorial together :)

I can't wait to make some "lessons" for my little nephews, and get them addicted to synthesia :D
The momentary score we would basically need only as a decision criteria for how well we did in the looped segment and if we are allowed to continue with the next segment. Wow, even thinking only of these possibilities makes me feel good.
Me too :D

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-21-10 6:48 am
by TonE
Nicholas wrote:I'd almost want to call them something very top-level like "lessons".
Having those features in Synthesia, any kind of "training strategy" could be packed as such "lesson packages". Somehow, lesson sounds too specific, because a normal song practicing does not have to be always a lesson. Any other naming ideas for those "higher level playing strategies of Synthesia", so far we have:

1. lesson
2. training strategy
3. practicing strategy

It should be possible for any "piano teacher" to setup their own "practicing strategy" as Kaspers example above. Later users could also exchange here such "practicing strategies".

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-21-10 11:27 am
by Nicholas
Another good way these things could propagate around are via the "Song Library Feeds" item. It's a little ways down the list but I'm certainly pushing for it. :D

I imagine someone like Choul that posts a ton of content here might be the type of person that would take advantage of it. You'd just subscribe to his feed in your Song Library (imagine it's like adding a new watched folder) and any time he added a song, it would show up (with a little "New!") in your library. Any metadata he had associated with it, including these practice strategy type things would come along with it. And because MIDI (and the metadata) is incredibly small, all this stuff would feel like it was local.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-21-10 1:03 pm
by Kasper
That sounds good.
Also for piano teachers this will be a nice feature.
Then they can update the homework a kid have to make every week.
Having those features in Synthesia, any kind of "training strategy" could be packed as such "lesson packages". Somehow, lesson sounds too specific, because a normal song practicing does not have to be always a lesson. Any other naming ideas for those "higher level playing strategies of Synthesia"
You could call it game mode. It's just like a mario sort of game.

First you get the instructions.
Then you have to accomplish level 1a and 1b. Then you get instruction for level 1c.
After level 1c, you get instructions for level 2a
etc.etc.
Then you get highscores --> game over

But maybe this sounds a little bit too arcade-like... :roll:

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-23-10 12:20 pm
by TonE
Kasper wrote:You could call it game mode.
Then I would prefer LESSON MODE. Strategy sounds maybe too abstract? So we have then

1. LESSON Mode
2. TRAINING Mode
3. GAME Mode

Which sounds best? I suppose I would use Training Mode, because it sounds like playing soccer. :)

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-23-10 2:17 pm
by Kasper
I vote for training mode

But I suppose the boss decides :roll:

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-23-10 4:13 pm
by Nicholas
Kasper wrote:But I suppose the boss decides :roll:
Who is that?! I'll run him out of here! :D

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-24-10 11:08 am
by TonE
Regarding the web management of submitted songs and song playing results you might also check http://audio-surf.com for how such websites could be done, I mean the presentation of high score lists and more, but I am sure you know this even better, as a game developer. I did not play computer games for 20 years maybe, so I do not know the newest technology there and what is available as "standard" on gaming sites.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 06-24-10 1:07 pm
by Nicholas
I hadn't actually seen that stuff before. There are some good ideas there. Thanks.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-06-10 5:36 am
by TonE
Nicholas, check those video here: http://www.smartmusic.com/Default.aspx You might like a lot of ideas for the web features of Synthesia in future.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-06-10 11:50 am
by Nicholas
That's a really impressive package.

It's sort of (already) what the final end-goal for the school/studio version of the Learning Pack was going to be. And theirs is made by the Finale folks. That's kind of intimidating.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-15-10 4:47 pm
by TonE
Kasper wrote:4. Synthesia plays the first note, the player has to find the note on the piano, if he hits it, synthesia goes on and plays the second note, if the player hits that note, synthesia goes on and plays the third note, etc.. (this also good to train your ears)
Nicholas, for this we would need a new playing mode I think, we could call it "Blind You Play Mode", for each wrong note it would play the "question note" or the original note again, until we find the correct one, then continuing with the next note. That would be equal to Practice Mode.YouPlay, but disabling the falling notes display, also repeating the "question note" after each wrong note. This is a very important mode I believe, as many wanna-be musicians (like myself, hehe) seem not to be able to listen careful enough.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-15-10 5:43 pm
by TonE
Nicholas wrote:I should probably add those command-line things. I even like the idea of a --loops=3 kind of construct that will only loop a certain number of times. Though, I'm not sure how useful that would be.
--loops=3 to repeat the selected loop segment 3 times, then closing Synthesia, then giving a score for that section would be very useful. But "giving a score for that section" is still missing in the code I think.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-15-10 6:12 pm
by Nicholas
I envisioned it would loop 3 times and then continue with the rest of the song.

Though, if you call your loop from song-beginning to song-end, the behavior is effectively the same. If you're using some tool to cut-up your MIDI files for practice, you could do things that way and the "copy score to clipboard" thing would give you the score for your final loop.

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-16-10 1:51 am
by Nicholas
TonE wrote:... we could call it "Blind You Play Mode", for each wrong note it would play the "question note" or the original note again
I like this and it seems like having to respond to an audio cue would teach your ear to discern notes very quickly.

It does seem like it could get troublesome with chords or multiple tracks playing notes at the same time. Do you require that they hit everything correctly at the same time and if they miss anything, all notes at that time period are played again? Do you limit them to only one You Play track at a time in this mode?

Re: Extended practice mode

Posted: 07-16-10 2:36 am
by TonE
Nicholas wrote:I envisioned it would loop 3 times and then continue with the rest of the song.
Yes, but only if we are above some threshold score.
Though, if you call your loop from song-beginning to song-end, the behavior is effectively the same. If you're using some tool to cut-up your MIDI files for practice, you could do things that way and the "copy score to clipboard" thing would give you the score for your final loop.
Yes, I know, but this would mean I am not using any looping and bookmarks feature of Synthesia. Only looping scores are missing there. Looping and bookmarks and loop scoring features together would effectively save me all file splittings. In my case I could probably live with this, but I would only wonder why just stopping 1 mm before a feature set gets bombastic. 1mm distance will make the difference to Kaspers TRAINING MODE availability or not. Then each song/composition/midi with fixed markers in it can get its own game where you have to play through. Each loop segment would be a "game round" and threshold score would decide of your success in that round. Wonderboy, SuperMario, Giana Sisters... are not all these games working like this? Synthesia can also get one of those, where you can do even piano practicing at the same time.
It does seem like it could get troublesome with chords or multiple tracks playing notes at the same time. Do you require that they hit everything correctly at the same time and if they miss anything, all notes at that time period are played again? Do you limit them to only one You Play track at a time in this mode?
For simplicity you can set the max limit for Blind You Play tracks to 1. For chords or multiple notes, maybe just requiring all those notes in any order, also not requiring synchronous hitting, the added value for ear training would be still there I believe, and not being that difficult at such "chord locations" within a song. Of course all already hit notes should be removed from the next "chord replaying". For example if we have an a minor chord, with the notes a c e, and you hit c the first time, the next replaying should play only a e. So it is kind of enough to hear one of many notes correctly to make the "replaying package" notewise smaller and smaller.