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    Online music appreciation course (the germ of a music wiki?)

    edited September 2014 in New and Noteworthy

    First of all I'd like to say I feel a bit uncomfortable talking about my own website (in the "New and Noteworthy" category at that). If it's something unwelcome on this forum, I will remove the thread. Having said that, I've not made a penny out of it so far, and it doesn't look like I ever will.

    My website aims to explain musical forms in an accessible way - a kind of online music appreciation course, but one that concentrates on forms.


    Initially I just wanted to create a decent source of information about musical forms, but with the situation worldwide getting worse each time I check the news, I've decided to do my best to see if music can change the world. The problem is that I'm not sure how much of that is clear to someone without appropriate ear-training. Maybe some additional introductory exercises would be a good idea. I'm not a professional so the only idea I've come up with is this: the two melodies below have one different note (each note represented by one square); the user has to click on the square that corresponds to the different note.

    two melodies

    There could also be exercises that ask the user if the second melody has been transposed upwards or downwards, if it has speeded up or slowed down or if the instrument has changed or not. Another good idea to explain what development is all about is to compare Lutoslawski's paraphrase of Paganini's Caprice with the original - or the consecutive variations in any theme and variations.

    Another application I've come up with for the squares I use in my visualisations is to compare two or more performances of the same piece (with some kind of user discussion, perhaps). Quite a lot of things I'll certainly never be able to do by myself - all of which could help bring people closer to the wonderful intricacies of serious music. I tried showing my website on Khan Academy's forum, but they've got their own series of videos on musical forms and it seems to have gone unnoticed.

    Thank you for your time!

    Pawel Wysocki


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    • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
    • Dear Professor Yorgason,

      Thank you for your very kind words! Yes, I developed the scripts (a function constantly checks the current playback time against an array of times that correspond to the sections of a piece). By the way, the visualisations don't always have to be simple. In the visualisation below I've included three layers of sectional division (if that's the correct term). I haven't published it because I don't have any information about the video's copyrights, and the blue "x" section confuses me completely (if the analysis is at all correct).



    • Ironically, the whole idea of Music Planet started with a concept I haven't manage to develop at all (except for that demonstrative image below). I thought there could be an encyclopedia of composers that would concentrate on their output, rather than their biography:

      I'd group composer's music into some core output (in the case of Shostakovich that'd probably be his symphonies and quartets) and other works, possibly grouped in their own way (a real website would have a lot more space available for it). Each piece could have more information available if you mouse over the corresponding square, or a link to a separate page. It could have a link to a performance of it as well - there's practically everything available on spotify now. (my website has got a collection of over 300 free and legal videos, too)

      For comparing a few performance of the same piece, we could create something similar to what can be seen in the image below (I'm not sure how a piece should be divided for that purpose). Just like on the website, the rectangles are clickable in order to compare the same fragments of a piece:

      The last idea I have is to combine the interactive visualisations with some introductory videos, like on the page below (since text alone might seem a bit dry, especially in comparison with what Philharmonia Orchestra has produced):


      The last page isn't publicly available and you have to know the exact address to see it. But it's this combination that in my opion is the best vehicle for getting people around the world more deeply interested in classical music.