Improvisation in Upbeat Bird – Musical Gaming

June 13th, 2014

Click here to learn a little about how pitches in Upbeat Bird are selected. In short, the game uses an improvisation algorithm through limited random selections. The limits for the bass are determined using the notes that came before and after. The limitations for the bird sounds are generated using the direction of the bass line.

improvisation-in-upbeat-bird

This perfect upbeat probably yielded a leap (pun intended).

What is most compelling about the music is that the bird sounds are completely based on user input. A sound occurs whenever the player taps to jump. Then the pitch is based on a combination of what the bass is about to do, and on when the player jumps. If the player succeeds in performing a perfect upbeat, the bird’s melodic line leaps. The line will also leap if it has to change direction due to range limitation. Otherwise the melodic motion goes only by step.

So then, rapid tapping will usually result in stepwise motion. Since rapid stepwise motion is more desirable to listen to than rapid leaps, the result is good melodic content during dense clusters of notes. Accurate upbeats, on the other hand, yield leaps. Since this requires slower rhythm, it makes sense that these notes would be where leaps occur. This keeps the line interesting during sparse passages of improvisation.

Small Steps Toward Good Improvisation

These rules have exciting possibilities both inside and outside of Upbeat Bird. It yields a form of guided improvisation. While eliminating pitch selection, it gives total control of rhythm to the player. This will lead to other games and tools to guide people efficiently towards logical improvisation.


Ear Training Game – It's Really That Easy

June 11th, 2014

Why the Ear Train-A-Tizer Is My Favorite Ear Training Game.

The problem with ear training games is that they’re just not gamey enough. Throughout my first two years or so at Cornerstone, I enjoyed using an ear training game for my basic musical development. But it just seemed too academic. More like homework and less like the game it seemed like it was trying to be. It also wasn’t free…

ear-training-game

My favorite ear training game to date.

Music Interactive’s first attempt at making an ear training game was the Ear Train-A-Tizer. I like it because it gets straight to the point of what an ear training game should be. It has a score, levels, time limits, and teaches the user how select the correct answers. It gets progressively harder and even has bonus levels! But It lacks graphics and hand to eye coordination. It’s fun, but it could be more fun. It needs lasers and jumping. Something sweet.

But for now, it’s what we’ve got and it’s great! Here at Music Interactive our goal is to make your musical abilities develop as quickly and effortlessly as possible. The Ear Train-A-Tizer is a great way to help you learn how to identify sounds. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the best ear training game out there to date. It’s currently only browser based and works best in Google Chrome…But it’s also free!


Ear Training Game – It’s Really That Easy

June 11th, 2014

Why the Ear Train-A-Tizer Is My Favorite Ear Training Game.

The problem with ear training games is that they’re just not gamey enough. Throughout my first two years or so at Cornerstone, I enjoyed using an ear training game for my basic musical development. But it just seemed too academic. More like homework and less like the game it seemed like it was trying to be. It also wasn’t free…

ear-training-game

My favorite ear training game to date.

Music Interactive’s first attempt at making an ear training game was the Ear Train-A-Tizer. I like it because it gets straight to the point of what an ear training game should be. It has a score, levels, time limits, and teaches the user how select the correct answers. It gets progressively harder and even has bonus levels! But It lacks graphics and hand to eye coordination. It’s fun, but it could be more fun. It needs lasers and jumping. Something sweet.

But for now, it’s what we’ve got and it’s great! Here at Music Interactive our goal is to make your musical abilities develop as quickly and effortlessly as possible. The Ear Train-A-Tizer is a great way to help you learn how to identify sounds. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the best ear training game out there to date. It’s currently only browser based and works best in Google Chrome…But it’s also free!


Manipulate Time – Develop Musical Superpowers!

June 3rd, 2014

Sound happens within time. So making music means you have to manipulate time. It’s not good enough to have your notes happen at any moment that’s convenient. They have to happen exactly when you intend them to. This is a skill that you have to develop. Commanding time to the extent that it is relevant to music is extremely difficult. It may as well be a superpower!

We’re not talking about just staying together. We’re not even talking about changing from an A to a B on the 3rd 16th note of beat 4. We need to manipulate time to the extent that we can make a noise one hundredth of a second before or after another event. This is beyond the capabilities of normal human reaction time. It requires such a deep understanding and mastery over time that you can use the duration of an event the just happened to predict when another event is going to happen. Then you can place your own sound one hundredth of a second sooner to account for the time it took for the other sound to get to you.

manipulate-time

Learn to manipulate time using Upbeat Bird.

We recently released a game that produces in a person the ability to manipulate time to the 20th of a second or less. Upbeat bird doesn’t just develop the skill of accurately playing upbeats. It teaches you how to hit every part of the beat and deeply understand what a part of a second is. You can make the bird soar to the top, gradually drift to the bottom, or float indefinitely in the same spot on the screen by tapping at the correct time. A bass line produces downbeats that the player has to use as a reference. The further away in time from a bass hit, the higher the bird jumps. In this game, we have connected an entertaining visual gaming element with aural cognition to enable people to quickly master and manipulate time.

A skill that is useful to everyone.

Don’t think for a second that this skill is reserved for musicians and is only useful in the performing arts. This is a skill that helps a person master their physical world and perform any job better. If it has anything to do with doing the right thing at the right time, Upbeat Bird will help you to do it better.

I work at a coffee shop where I sometimes have to produce one drink every 30 seconds to a minute (usually with assistance from other amazing workers). Timing is key, and understanding the intricacy of time and manipulating time helps me both work faster by myself and more efficiently with other people.

Learning to manipulate time will make you more productive in many aspects of your life. And now you can learn to do it using a fun game on your phone!


Timing – Upbeat Bird Teaches Accuracy

June 1st, 2014

This is a guest post by Zach Burnham.

Upbeat Bird teaches you to be better at upbeats and musical timing in a unique way. The game is simple – you need to tap the screen to make the bird fly through obstacles and see how far you can go. There are also bass notes playing a downbeat (so crank up that volume!), and drum hits play in between downbeats on the perfect upbeats and 16th upbeats. When you tap the screen, the bird flies higher if you are far from the downbeat, which means closer to the perfect upbeat. It looks like this: the bird jumps high if you tap right in the middle of two downbeats (the perfect upbeat), but only jumps a little bit if you tap right after the beat plays or right before the beat plays (the 16th upbeats). You use this to control the bird, with two goals: jump on the perfect upbeats and 16th upbeats, and fly as far as you possibly can.timing-upbeat-bird-teaches-accuracy

But wait! If you tap on every possible upbeat perfectly in Upbeat Bird, you’ll be on your way to a great score but will definitely fly into a wall! The challenge is to know where those upbeats are and to use them to your advantage and get through those posts. This aspect of Upbeat Bird teaches you to think ahead, analyze the physical and musical landscape, and perform accordingly. When playing, you will undoubtedly tap on a few wrong beats. That’s okay! Just as with playing music, when you miss a beat you have to keep playing and have better timing on the next one. That is an important skill that Upbeat Bird will help you with – I know it is helping me!

Remember this: you can use a wrong beat to your advantage. Playing exactly with the downbeat in Upbeat Bird will make the bird stop where it is at and start falling. So, if you need to stop the bird in mid-air, by all means play on the downbeat! As the bird flies and the beats per minute increase, it gets harder. Give it your best shot. Even if you tap and you are nowhere near a perfect upbeat but you get through the posts, keep going! It’s better to be wrong than to crash.

Upbeat Bird teaches you to develop your timing skills surprisingly well. Start playing! You’ll see yourself improving drastically as you learn to time the upbeats better. After that, you’ll continue to improve consistently as you keep at it.

I (Zach) play guitar, and playing Upbeat Bird has helped me with timing. Now I feel comfortable practicing guitar along with a metronome. I can understand the rhythm of what I am playing and visualize the upbeats like never before. Thanks, Upbeat Bird!

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