Playing along Music XML files

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DerElephant
Posts: 2

Post by DerElephant »

Hey there,

I recently bought Synthesia as I started playing piano after having played keyboard long time ago. I thought, Synthesia would make it easier for me to get started. Unfortunately, it did not. But why?

Well, I play from sheet music, but have difficulties reading the bass clef. I only use Synthesia to show me the music sheet.The idea was that I could see immediately whether I was playing the right or wrong notes. Ideally, Synthesia shows me what I have played and what I should have played instead. However:
- Sheet rendering is adventurous with custom files. Nothing else to say. Will be fixed with Synthesia 11 and Music XML files. It is difficult to make sheets out of midi files, I'm fine with that. But currently, the rendering is very special.
- When playing the wrong notes: The visualization in the sheet often overlaps other symbols. I miss out sharps or flats as I can't see them anymore. I'd rather suggest a textual view: You played a C3, but you need a C#3. Else Synthesia shows the note it requests and the note I'm playing at the same point, overlaying the sharp/flat and I'm sitting there wondering what I should have played. I know, Synthesia displays the keys it wants me to play, but this is not the way I intend to learn piano.
- I often forget to play sharps/flats. Therefore, it would be a very useful feature for me, if the music sheet could show a # or b in front of each affected note instead of only at the beginning of each line. Playalongpiano.com allowed that and this feature helped me a lot. I hope I won't need this feature a lot in the future, but for now it would help.
- When playing piano, often speed is a matter of interpretation for the player. Currently, in my opinion, Synthesia is too focussed on that. When learning the melody of both hands, I tend to push the speed setting to the maximum so that I never have to wait for Synthesia to 'allow me' to continue playing. Maybe this is a feature which could be deactivated.

I know, Synthesia was intended to be used differently. I think it does a great job on playing without sheet music. It brings a lot of people to the piano. Feel free to keep the focus on that! Maybe there are other applications that could fit my needs, I'm open for suggestions. Already paid for Synthesia, so don't be afraid to lose money :D I still feel like Synthesia with all of its features to manage a library is perfectly capable of fulfilling my needs. It just needs a proper sheet rendering engine which, as far as I know, could be borrowed from an open source project?

Looking forward to Synthesia 11 with the better sheet rendering engine!

Kinds regards
Ele
Nicholas
Posts: 13137

Post by Nicholas »

DerElephant wrote: 03-01-23 2:44 pmI'd rather suggest a textual view: You played a C3, but you need a C#3.
This is an interesting idea that I think I like.
DerElephant wrote: 03-01-23 2:44 pmI often forget to play sharps/flats. Therefore, it would be a very useful feature for me, if the music sheet could show a # or b in front of each affected note instead of only at the beginning of each line.
Hmm, this one is a little more contentious for me. I'm afraid the sheet music purists out there would excoriate Synthesia even more if we made this concession. I would offer that part of learning to read sheet music is keeping the key signature in your head and doing the translation to sharps/flats in real-time. Once you start softening enough of those parts, it's not really sheet music anymore and the falling note display offers exactly what you're asking for.
DerElephant wrote: 03-01-23 2:44 pmCurrently, in my opinion, Synthesia is too focused on [speed].
I agree. This is where score following would make a big difference. I'd like to add the feature someday where Synthesia will keep up with your playing speed automatically.

DerElephant wrote: 03-01-23 2:44 pmIt just needs a proper sheet rendering engine which, as far as I know, could be borrowed from an open source project?
This is exactly the plan. Once I wrap-up quite a bit of extra work that Google has imposed on me (due to new Android "security" features), the plan is to get LenMus's Lomse sheet music rendering engine integrated into Synthesia. It uses (rather coincidentally) the exact same list of dependencies that Synthesia already contains and has lovely MusicXML rendering support.
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jimhenry
Posts: 1900

Post by jimhenry »

Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pmI would offer that part of learning to read sheet music is keeping the key signature in your head and doing the translation to sharps/flats in real-time.
I am not a music teacher or even a very good pianist. My belief is the key signatures are just a shorthand for saying what scale the music is based on. I don't think you should try to read and remember what notes are altered by the key signature and then try to translate F to F# on the fly. Rather I would suggest you see one sharp and recognize that this is in the key of G. Practice your scales so that you just automatically know that G is your root note and the 7 "natural" notes are G A B C D E F#. All the exceptions to that will be marked with an accidental at least once per measure.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/
DerElephant
Posts: 2

Post by DerElephant »

Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pm This is an interesting idea that I think I like.
:)
Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pm Hmm, this one is a little more contentious for me. I'm afraid the sheet music purists out there would excoriate Synthesia even more if we made this concession.
True, true. I've seen many people on the internet who almost hate Synthesia. It definitely has its drawbacks, but so does the 'classic' way learning how to play the piano. The good thing is: Nobody is forced to use Synthesia. People learn differently and there are many offers people can use (1000 different video courses, Synthesia, a teacher).
Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pm I would offer that part of learning to read sheet music is keeping the key signature in your head and doing the translation to sharps/flats in real-time.
jimhenry wrote: 03-09-23 11:27 am I am not a music teacher or even a very good pianist. My belief is the key signatures are just a shorthand for saying what scale the music is based on. I don't think you should try to read and remember what notes are altered by the key signature and then try to translate F to F# on the fly. Rather I would suggest you see one sharp and recognize that this is in the key of G. Practice your scales so that you just automatically know that G is your root note and the 7 "natural" notes are G A B C D E F#. All the exceptions to that will be marked with an accidental at least once per measure.
I like your suggestions. I definitely need to learn more about music theory and part of it must be learning the scales and their key signatures!
Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pmI agree. This is where score following would make a big difference. I'd like to add the feature someday where Synthesia will keep up with your playing speed automatically.
Cool!
Nicholas wrote: 03-08-23 3:49 pm This is exactly the plan. Once I wrap-up quite a bit of extra work that Google has imposed on me (due to new Android "security" features), the plan is to get LenMus's Lomse sheet music rendering engine integrated into Synthesia. It uses (rather coincidentally) the exact same list of dependencies that Synthesia already contains and has lovely MusicXML rendering support.
Absolutely looking forward to it! I'm very sorry you have to waste time on this. Yet I'm glad that you found a good engine which allows you to avoid dependency hell :)
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