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#1832701 - 01/27/12 02:20 AM Has anyone seen this?
Lynsey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 44
Loc: New Jersey

For those who have played Synthesia will probably have a general idea on how it will work, and possibly how helpful it can be to new and experienced players alike.

Basically, there will be a LCD screen (or projector) above your keyboard, load up a midi file and falling notes line up directly with the keys.

What are your thoughts on this for beginners? Do you think it will be helpful?

Personally, I'd love to see something like this, I'm just afraid of it having a hefty price tag.

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#1832933 - 01/27/12 12:06 PM Re: Has anyone seen this? [Re: Lynsey]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4154
My thought about all this 'point to the keys' methods is that it will help you to press the right keys but not to learn about the musical structure. For musical structure you need to see the relation between the notes, which key it is in, which notes are grouped etc.

I'd rather go with the traditional score for that. And I'd start with that right away as interpretation is what music really is about (and not about pressing the keys, how hard that may be)

#1832942 - 01/27/12 12:10 PM Re: Has anyone seen this? [Re: Lynsey]
Nicholas Piegdon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/27/12
Posts: 3
Hi, someone pointed this post out to me, so I figured I'd chime in. (I'm the guy that makes Synthesia.) I'm guessing this was made in response to a recent discussion I started on my own forum the night before this was posted.

I agree that it's a very cool idea. Unfortunately it is something I'd even been considering for a while myself. The problem the patent mentions is a very real one: there is an extra step of translating the positions of the notes on the screen to where they exist in real-life.

To some extent, lighted-key keyboards solve this problem but they are reactionary by nature instead of letting you predict future parts of the song.

Having the notes fall directly toward the keyboard keys is undoubtedly superior. Instead of solving a mapping problem, your brain is just solving the usual inverse-kinematics problem of moving your limbs to the requisite location that it's already so good at.

That said, I'm not sure you're ever going to see it in a real-product. Especially now that the patent application exists! Reading through it, you learn they threw together a quick prototype in Python (to be eligible to file a patent) but I haven't been able to find any evidence of product development since this was filed in 2010.

Worse, the filing attorney office is some life science/medical device outfit, which seems out of place until you look at their list of attorneys and spot one with the same last name as the listed inventor. My guess is that a family member asked for help with a patent after they spotted Synthesia in 2009. Which leads to the fishiest part of the application: that they're using screenshots from Synthesia right on the title page!

Again, it's unfortunate. Patents exist to encourage innovation. In the case of patent trolling like this, all it does is stifle it. This guy is sitting on an idea for twenty years (assuming the application is accepted) that no one else is allowed to use now. And he never has to create or release a product to show for it.

Oh well.

Anyway, I'm happy to follow-up on any questions you might have.

Nicholas (from Synthesia)

#1833059 - 01/27/12 04:55 PM Re: Has anyone seen this? [Re: Lynsey]
CarlosCC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 1775
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
Welcome Nicholas,
I'm sorry, but I agree with wouter79: musical structure is very important and there is, in fact, a diference between "pressing keys" and "playing music".

Nevertheless, I think that Synthesia is a very good piece of code. Congrats for that.

Youtube channel | SoundCloud records

Self-taught since Dec2009
Don't play what's there, play what's not there.

#1833179 - 01/27/12 07:39 PM Re: Has anyone seen this? [Re: Lynsey]
Nicholas Piegdon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/27/12
Posts: 3
No reason to be sorry: I agree with it too.

I pitch Synthesia as a practice tool, mostly. And it has a long way to go even then. Nothing beats a real teacher.


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