Piano Practice Software Progress

Jacques Mattheij:

First an apology. I started this project because during the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic business was down to a fraction of what it was before then, and I had a lot of time on my hand. But that has changed now and there is a lot of work in my ‘day job’, so I don’t have a whole lot of time to work on the piano software (or to play piano, for that matter). Even so I try to play at least an hour every day, just to unwind from the work, and while doing that I make notes of the things that I think should be improved.

So slowly but steadily there have been a number of subtle but important changes to the way the software works. The first thing that I noticed is that when importing certain midi tracks into PianoJacq it would sometimes really mess up the splitting of the notes across the hands if this had not already been done in the track itself. This is highly irritating because the score then looks terrible and you can’t really play the piece from it. That’s solved now so if you had issues importing certain files then maybe try again.

Then, it was asked, multiple times to label the scores with the names of the notes. This is a trivial thing to do, but what I really wanted is not that trivial: to label the score also with the names of the chords. I spent a day or two on WikiPedia getting the names and offsets of all the chords that I could find and turned them into a huge table with a little bit of software that could then, given a set of notes tell you which chord that is. Lots of help from pilot users there to point out errors in the tables, special mention to Ludwig Weinzierls who helped track down a particularly nasty case of a misidentified chord. The speed slider was another oft repeated request, I made the range ‘down’ a lot lower, you can now go to 1/5th of real time speed to help you to practice really hard passages, and I added some visual feedback to help determine how fast the slider has been set.