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Synthesia - Guitar Hero for piano!


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This program is great. $14 for learning mode is a steal too.

I think it would be awesome to try to put together a collection of MIDI versions of OCR piano tunes for use with this program. I bet a lot of people would buy this program just to learn some Reuben Kee or klutz.

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.

I agree. There are more than enough so-called "guitarists" who think they're hot shit because they can pound out all three chords of some Green Day song. We don't need the same thing for pianists.

However, for someone like me who has a little bit of theory knowledge and CAN read sheet music (but doesn't like to), this is a great practice tool. It's not the end-all for piano learning programs, but it's a good suppliment to lessons and a great place to start.

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  • 3 months later...
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Synthesia 0.6.5 has been out for a few days now:

What's new in 0.6.5 (Learning Pack feature = L):

- (L) Note and key labels (C, C#, D or Do, Re, Mi).

- (L) Resizeable sheet music display.

- 120+ new songs included from G Major Music Theory.

- Faster startup and gameplay.

- The usual assortment of bug fixes and improvements.

On October 1:st the price will increase from $14 to $16.

There's also a Feature voting section (http://synthesiagame.com/features.aspx) where users registered on the Synthesia formus can vote for the features they would like to see next. The longer one is a forum member, the more stars one can spend voting.

anyone who picks up an instrument to learn a specific song is not doing it for the right reason.
There are more than enough so-called "guitarists" who think they're hot shit because they can pound out all three chords of some Green Day song. We don't need the same thing for pianists.

So why should anyone start playing a instrument, then? Because their parents want to? I thought that people play instruments because they enjoy it, but you sound like "everyone who can' play like Beethoven shouldn't play at all"?!? You need to start somewhere, right? For some people starting to play with Synthesia may be more fun than starting to take piano lessons. But of course there are things that you can't (yet) learn from Synthesia such as correct fingerings.

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So why should anyone start playing a instrument, then? Because their parents want to? I thought that people play instruments because they enjoy it, but you sound like "everyone who can' play like Beethoven shouldn't play at all"?!? You need to start somewhere, right? For some people starting to play with Synthesia may be more fun than starting to take piano lessons. But of course there are things that you can't (yet) learn from Synthesia such as correct fingerings.

I wasn't trying to say that people shouldn't learn or that you have to be awesome to be allowed to play at all. I'm just saying people should recognize where their skill level lies. Frankly, I'm not particularly awesome on either piano or guitar, but I'm at least somewhat competent. In my experience, most people who claim they can play the guitar pretty well have very little skill whatsoever, and yet they go around trying to serenade all the ladies with their music anyway. They think they are good or at least okay, because most other guitar players around them suck just as bad or worse. The bar is just set way too low.

Imagine if you paid someone to come to your bar and entertain people with your music. You'd expect them to be good, right? I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty pissed if they came in and all they could do was play "chopsticks" and a Premier version of "Fur Elise". This is pretty much what goes on with most guitar players, IMO. Nothing wrong with not being very good... everyone's gotta learn somehow. The problem is when you start showing off, and really don't have anything to show off.

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guitar tab is already hard enough to read.. this is even mo ridiculous. and even if u get good at it.. u still can't read real sheet music, u could only read piano tab

The point is not to be good at reading falling notes and thus immediately be able to play songs that you have never seen/heard before.

The point is to use sheet music or falling notes - whichever suits you best - as an aid and learn the song by heart so that you ultimately don't need any falling notes / sheet music.

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  • 10 months later...

A new version of Synthesia has been released - it only took a year :-/

Many of the new features have been available for quite some time in the development version that can be downloaded from the forum.

(LP = Learning Pack feature. The learning pack costs $16 for a while but the price will increase to $18 soon)

- New Song Library with audio previews and sorting by difficulty and rating.

- More than 20 new songs and over 100 songs updated to split the left/right hand parts.

- (LP) Scoring for practice mode -- now you can follow your progress.

- (LP) Sheet music display improvements including rests and a fixed-width option.

- (LP) An option to require all notes in a chord be pressed at the same time in practice mode.

- Keyboard setup screen to help diagnose connection problems.

- Lots of menus re-worked to make navigation easier and more intuitive.

- New "View in Synthesia" right-click shortcut: a quick MIDI viewer.

- Tons of other improvements, fixes, and optimizations!

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Synthesia development is hastening its pace! Version 0.7.1 has been released! This time it took only 8 months (compared to 1 year last time)! Jokes aside, Nicholas (the developer) is going to try to put down some more time into the project in the coming months to prepare the game for the opportunity/threat coming from Rock Band 3 that will according to rumors will include a keyboard-like instrument.

--- What's new in 0.7.1 ---

- Song Bookmarks: place markers that let you jump right to those tough sections.

- New play screen navigation: click the timeline to jump, the buttons to navigate, or the mouse-wheel while paused to scroll the song.

- Your keyboard's sustain pedal will now hold the duration of notes.

- Sheet music improvement: notes are much smarter about which staff to appear on.

- Improved song library searching: type a song name to jump right there.

- Better error reporting: crash report files help me jump right to the problem.

- Tons of other improvements and bug fixes.

I'll mention one of the "other improvements" that I like: Let's say that you play in practice mode with two tracks - 1 (for right hand) and 2 (for left hand). You are practicing only track 1 (right hand) and have set track 2 to "play automatically". Now, track 1 and 2 have notes that should be played simultaneously. In this new version, when the game pauses and waits for you to play the correct notes on track 1, the notes on track 2 that should be played simultaneously also "waits for you" and are not played until you find and play the correct notes on track 1. Earlier the track 2 notes played as soon as the game went into pause mode, and the song would sound out of sync.

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The accelerated development pace is already beaing fruit! Nicholas will try to release a new version of Synthesia at the end of each month. This is what's new in version 0.7.2:

- (LP) Song looping: Learning Pack users can create loops with one click to keep practicing those tough parts. Statistics are shown in real time detailing how you are improving.

- Synthesia is now aware of smaller keyboards. Set your size on the keyboard screen and Synthesia will play notes outside your reach or move them closer so you can play them yourself.

- Scoring revamp: hold notes for their full duration for maximum points!

- Lots of other improvements and fixes.

The second feature is very helpful if you have small keyboard and try to use it in practice mode with songs that are made for a 88-key keyboard.

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- Synthesia is now aware of smaller keyboards. Set your size on the keyboard screen and Synthesia will play notes outside your reach or move them closer so you can play them yourself.

So the song will automatically jump things inside an octave so that those of us with 61-note keyboards can hit them?

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  • 1 month later...

Two months, two new Synthesia versions!

What's new in 0.7.3:

- Metronome. Control the speed, volume, and style. Works with simple, compound, and even changing time signatures.

- Have fun with instruments. Click a track's instrument icon to change.

- Find songs faster. Search with the new song library filter box.

- Create quick loops between bookmarks using the < and > keys.

- Speed improvements. Gameplay now runs smoother than ever.

What's new in 0.7.4:

- Lighted keyboard support: the next note will light up while stopped in practice mode. Turn it on via the Keyboard Setup screen.

- Improved note labels: new mode, more accurate, and easier to read.

- New configuration tool with windowed mode and resolution picker.

- Improved looping: easier to use, easier to find, better feedback.

- A number of stability and other bug fixes.

My favourites are:

- the metronome makes it much easier to play a song with all tracks set to "you play" - earlier it was much harder to keep the right tempo if everything was quiet.

- the song library filter search box. If you have a large MIDI library, it really helps!

Now I just wish that my digital piano would have lighted keys so I could try that feature out. It's a shame that nothing but some very cheap beginner models have that.

@BardicKnowledge: exactly. All songs are now playable on 61-key keyboards.

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This is great. Thank you sir/mame! I've messed around with it a little bit and I think it will help me a lot.

I'm glad you liked it!

In my opinion Synthesia is all about the practice mode that you get in the learning pack - be sure to check it out! Unfortunately the price for the learning pack just increased from $20 to $25 but the good news is that it won't change again for a while. However, it will eventually increase to something like $30-$40 so you don't have anything to lose if you buy it now as all future upgrades will be included in the price. I still think it's totally worth it - other similar packages cost $100 or more.

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I'd sure like to see Zircon rethink his opinion on this because it now offers music notation viewing. :P

Synthesia has had sheet music for a while, but it's far from perfect yet so I don't know if Zircon would approve it quite yet.

If Nicholas follows the voting list (https://www.synthesiagame.com/features.aspx) Synthesia will get full-screen sheet music display in the next version, but he has said he will focus on the more game-like features in the next few versions to have something that appeals to all future Rockband 3 users. Also, there are still many "improved sheet music" tasks on the feature list that have almost no votes, but he'll try to pick some of them from time to time anyway.

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Synthesia has had sheet music for a while, but it's far from perfect yet so I don't know if Zircon would approve it quite yet.

If Nicholas follows the voting list (https://www.synthesiagame.com/features.aspx) Synthesia will get full-screen sheet music display in the next version, but he has said he will focus on the more game-like features in the next few versions to have something that appeals to all future Rockband 3 users. Also, there are still many "improved sheet music" tasks on the feature list that have almost no votes, but he'll try to pick some of them from time to time anyway.

Sheet music was added after Zircon made his opinion, though. :P

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  • 2 months later...

Yeeay! Synthesia 0.8.0 is here!

- Online song recital. Scores posted for all to see.

- Named profiles. See your name next to your scores after playing locally or online. Compete against friends.

- Many settings can now be changed during gameplay.

There was also a 0.7.5 release a while ago, but it was quite boring for us "mere mortals" so I didn't bother to make a separate post about it:

- Revamped track settings saves time with copy and paste settings.

- Better song library performance, especially with big collections.

- Several tweaks and improvements to all play modes.

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  • 6 months later...

Synthesia 0.8.1 was released 6:th of June 2011. The major new feature is the fingering support - as any piano player knows, learning the correct fingering for a song makes learning the song much easier!

- Add finger number hints to your songs in a single click.

- Finger hints included for all 100+ built-in songs.

- Simplified track settings let you jump in fast.

- Improved library searching to find your favorite songs quicker.

- Many improvements in MIDI, device, and computer compatibility.

- Tons of tweaks and fixes.

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I was unaware this existed. Being a music games nut I decided to give it a try and I cna see it being a good tool for people who want to learn to play a song and are familiar with the guitar hero/rock band style of games.

It wont teach you to play properly, but if all you want is to learn to play your favorite songs and have fun I guess it works.

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It wont teach you to play properly, but if all you want is to learn to play your favorite songs and have fun I guess it works.

Out of curiosity, what features do you think Synthesia would need to teach someone to play more properly than it currently does? Fingering was quite an important one.

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This is actually a cool program my friend IRL(very good pianist) uses, and when I actually got around to learning piano, it would be one of the things I'd use. EDIT: is OP some sort of spokesperson for the program, though? lol

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is OP some sort of spokesperson for the program, though? lol

Nope, but I agree that that's a reasonable guess when reading my posts in this thread :-)

I was looking for a Mac-compatible Guitar Hero but for piano. I didn't think such an app existed, but then I found Synthesia and was so excited that I had to share the news! It originally featured some video game music tracks, so I thought OCR would be a good place to start. And then I've continued posting in this thread for each update to bump it and hopefully make more people find out about Synthesia!

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  • 5 months later...

Synthesia 0.8.2 is was released the 7:th of November. It's a quite large release. These most important features in my opinion, but there are many more that may be important for you, so check it out!

NEW: Key binding screen (off the Options screen) that will let you bind keys,

mouse clicks, or MIDI input (including notes, controller events, program

changes, and pitch-bend wheel) to any game function. Combine any of those

with the Ctrl key to do even more.

NEW: Many dramatic improvements to the sheet music display. This came at the

expense of the scrolling display mode (page flip is the only display style

now) and the "Space out all sheet music notes uniformly" option, but this

paves the way for the upcoming multi-line sheet display.

NEW: Windowed mode is now available on the Mac.

NEW: Preferred input and output devices will be remembered between sessions. If

a device isn't available one run, it won't be completely forgotten the next

time Synthesia is started and it's available. Boundaries and lighted key

mode are also saved per-device instead of having a single global setting.

CHG: Song library can now handle huge numbers of songs with no slow-down and

no longer has to re-populate when returning from a different screen.

CHG: The "No Input Device" selection has been removed. In the absence of other

devices, the software keyboard is always selected by default.

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