Music Pedagogy Software

Here at IU, music performance is a kind of religion. Over the last couple of years I have been working with two students, Kyung Ae Lim and Gabi Teodoru, as well as faculty from the Jacobs School of Music, on a pair of software projects designed to teach ideas about different aspects of intonation.

The first project is a software tool designed for instrumentalists. Most of the work for this project has been done by my student Kyung Ae Lim, in collaboration with Allen and Helga Winold, professors emeriti of the Jacobs School. Most instrumentalists make some use of electronic tuners, but these devices have some important limitations, such as only working for relatively slow notes, forcing the user to digest the information as it is generated, and not relating the information in terms of a musical context such as a score. Our project, written by Kyung Ae Lim, seeks to overcome these weaknesses. The project presents the instrumentalist with three different "views," of an excerpt, as indicated in the picture above, in addition to allowing "random access" to the audio. We have been especially pleased that some musicians have told us that the program helped them to hear things they did not originally perceive. A nice example of this is the rising pitch tendency on many notes in the figure below, which keeps the line from achieving a sense of legato.

Download the PC-Based Program.

Here is a paper that was written about this work

The second project is designed for conductors, particularly choral conductors, and was done by Gabi Teodoru, in conjunction with John Poole, emeritus faculty of the JSOM. A conductor needs to be able to identify intonation problems when several instrumentalists or voices are present at once. The TuningTutor presents the user with a sequence of intonation problems, in which various kinds of inaccuracies must be identified and corrected. The program allows for a huge range of difficulty, ranging from simple identification of intonation problems for single notes, up to many-note unusually-voiced chords. Of course, there is no single standard for correctness in intonation, so the program allows a variety of yardsticks to be used, including equal temperament and simple-ratio-type tuning.

Download the program here.