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Synthesia - Guitar Hero for piano!


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Hi!

I just got a tip this morning about a program called Synthesia (http://www.synthesiagame.com) that I think is a great concept!

It is a kind of Guitar Hero clone, but for piano. You need to have a MIDI synth to use it, but if you have one, this app has the potential to be useful – something you can't say about Guitar Hero with its mere five buttons!

If you aren't used to playing music from notes but need to see what keys you should press, this application seems to be a perfect way to learn to play any music that you have on a MIDI file! You can alter the speed of the playback to make it easier to practice a certain part. Synthesia comes with 10 piano arrangements of game music classics.

What I miss is a practice mode where you could easily rewind the music to practice a certain part over and over again. Also some different difficulty levels would be good to have, some of the arrangements require you to play too many notes at the same time. But the app is still only at version 0.6.0, so who knows what will happen in the future!

It is available for

- Mac OS 10.4+ (Universal Binary)

- Windows 2000/XP

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Wow, I'm tired of people not knowing music game history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboardmania

Keyboardmania for life

Also Guitar Freaks for life

Yes this does sound awesome though, more of a StepMania for Keyboardmania

Synthesia seems more like an educational game rather than an arcade game. But yeah Japan did it all first yet Konami are being dicks by not giving those games proper release and support. Bastards.

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  • 3 months later...
Synthesia 0.6.2 has been released a few days ago. Among the new features there's a rewind/fast forward function which makes it much more easy to be able to learn to play the songs. High-score lists is another new function.
way to revive old threads

Yes, a GOOD way to revive old threads. He's giving some new information that is only a few days old. He could have made a new thread, but why not use this one?

Sorry if I'm overreacting... well, I don't have a keyboard, so I'll be leaving this thread now =p

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Uh... maybe I don't get what's so great about this, it's like trying to read sheet music from a piano roll rotated 90 degrees.

Guitar Hero or Keyboard Mania are games that won't teach you to play for real (the two octaves used in Keyboard Mania is not enough). I see Synthesia mainly as a educational tool that helps people to learn play music on a real piano, with the game aspect more like a bonus. Not everyone knows how to read sheet music, and for those the piano roll view in Synthesia makes it easier to learn to play the songs since they can see exactly what keys to press and for how long, and you can also choose to let the computer to play the song so that you know how it's supposed to sound. Due to the new Fast Forward/Rewind features I've learned to play Wind Scene from Chrono Trigger and Lost Woods from Zelda in a few days. I would never have had the patience to do that by trying to read sheet music from a printed sheet.

For those who still want sheet music there's actually a simple sheet music view planned for the next version that will continue to evolve to a more complete one. Synthesia might become a good training tool for learning to read sheet music as well!

and trying to read it waaay to fast :(

I might misunderstand you, but it's possible to adjust the song speed in Synthesia from 0% (the song is frozen in time so you can easily check what keys you are supposed to play next) to 400 % by pressing the up/down arrow keys. The "native" 100% speed is often more than enough, though.

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I know it's supposed to be easier, but honestly it's not, IMO. I've been playing the piano for over 13 years. I tried the "Zelda" and "Tetris" arrangements and could barely hit a single note. I can sight read sheet music of that difficulty easily. It's really just not intuitive - it would take less time to simply learn how to read sheet music properly than to get used to such an awkward system that isn't used anywhere else.

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I really just want a Keyboardmania game that doesn't use a 90 degree piano roll. Seriously ... I played Keyboardmania at the arcade, and THIS GUY (me) that has a degree in the frickin piano is hitting keys out of time and boinking wrong notes like a 4 year old. Give me a game where they throw sheet music up on the screen, and make it tough ... and finally I can get every geek boi I want at the arcade with my reading skillz.

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I wouldn't take zirc and blad's posts too seriously, us pianists are obligated to bash games like this. ;)

I think it'd be cool to have a full-featured guitar sim along these lines...I know a lot of Guitar Hero players would be eager to "upgrade."

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I know it's supposed to be easier, but honestly it's not, IMO. I've been playing the piano for over 13 years.

Of course the piano roll view is not easier to read for you if you have 13 years of experience reading sheet music :-) In your case the game will most probably not be of any help as a learning tool. You are able to read the sheet music and immediately know what keys you are supposed to press.

I tried the "Zelda" and "Tetris" arrangements and could barely hit a single note.

It sounds that you are trying to use the piano roll view in the same way as sheet music in the sense that you expect to be able to read it and play it correctly almost at the first try. If that's the case I agree that it's nearly impossible - multitudes of notes fall down so fast that there's no time to interpret how to play them.

The key is to use the piano roll view as a way to help memorizing the song by visually seeing, hearing and trying to remember what keys to press. After you have learned the song by heart you barely need to look at the falling bars any more.

1. Start with learning, say, the right hand. First listen through the song so you know the melody. Then play it at a slower speed and try to play along with the computer. If you make a mistake, rewind the song and switch to a even slower speed. You might even need to set the speed to 0% and use the rewind/fast forward to better be able to see what keys to press in particularly tricky parts. After a while you get confident enough to switch the right hand to "you play" mode while still letting the computer play the left hand and possibly incrasing the speed.

2. Repeat the above step for the left hand.

3. Try to play both hands at the same time. Use a very slow speed at first. Since there's not yet a metronome in the current version of the game, it's easier to let the computer play at least one of the tracks so that you get some kind of feel for the tempo of the song.

I really just want a Keyboardmania game that doesn't use a 90 degree piano roll.

As I said, the Synthesia will get a simple sheet music view in the next version that's going to be released in december. The developer usually puts up developer versions available for download from the forums (https://www.synthesiagame.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=9), so if the sheet music display happens to be implemented early we might be able to test it much earlier than december. Out of curiousity, are there some fundamental differences between Synthesia and Keyboard Mania except that the latter has a limited amount of better-sounding songs being an arcade game?

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  • 8 months later...

Synthesia 0.6.4 has been released!

Main new features:

- sheet music display (not perfect yet)

- a "wait-for-me" mode that stops the song until you play the correct note - a great way to learn to play a tricky song!

There is a catch, however: these features requires you to buy a key for $14 to unlock the so-called Learning Pack, but the good news is that the key will work for all future versions of Synthesia. There are four demo songs included that let you try out these features without paying. If you're interested in buying the game, now is a good time since the price will increase as more features are added. See a list of planned features at http://www.synthesiagame.com/learningPack.aspx. The "gamelike" features of Synthesia will always be free.

Needless to say, I've already bought a learning pack key. $14 is a bargain compared to, say, Home Concert Xtreme (http://www.timewarptech.com/Pages/Products/HCX/HCX.html) for $99!

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Holy crap!!!

Now I just need a godam USB to MIDI Cord so I can hook the damn thing up.

I have a concern, though. It would be impossible, or at least unbearably ridiculous for any song with two or mare tracks, ie any MIDI that is not straight piano. I stand corrected, I just saw the video on the site. This will be less of a game and more of a workout machine for me.

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The key is to use the piano roll view as a way to help memorizing the song by visually seeing, hearing and trying to remember what keys to press. After you have learned the song by heart you barely need to look at the falling bars any more.

I think this is where the key disagreement is falling. I haven't played it, but from what I know of this game, it simply meant to teach you how to play a given song. But anyone who picks up an instrument to learn a specific song is not doing it for the right reason. It doesn't sound like the piano roll system would abstract well to the extent where it could conceivably be used as a sheet music replacement. But for the purpose of nailing down specific notes and time durations for a specific piece, it should work fine.

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