Musical Game Idea

| tags: blind, enabling technology, ideas

It's spring break and 50 days until Maze Day! I'm thinking of a new musical game but I need help with the music. My hidden agenda is getting samples of the sounds children make when they are imitating music instruments. I'll use the samples as a training set for a system to allow spoken input of music but I need a fun activity to motivate kids to give me the samples.

In this game concept, children will play individually wearing headphones and speaking into a high-quality microphone. We will feed microphone signal into the headphones along with the computer audio so they can hear themselves. Each child will complete multiple rounds depending on their interest and skill. In each round, the child will hear a simple musical phrase one or more times. Then they will imitate what they heard by speaking or singing the music along with the computer. They might say “la la” or “do re mi” for piano notes, or “ratatat boom” for drums; whatever they use will be fine.

We will record the sounds they make and assign points by the accuracy of their timing and possibly their pitch. After several rounds, we'll automatically combine their recordings into a performance in which they hear themselves sing multiple parts. I think they'll love this and will want to record yet more phrases. The most interested and talented children might be invited to create their own riffs to overlay the multiple parts.

Later in the day, perhaps at lunch time, we could play the full virtual choir singing an entire piece. If we really go crazy we could include an animated display of the children singing their parts. I think it might be particularly effective to start with one small child doing a simple melody and gradually adding more children and parts.

I fantasize that I can handle the recording, time alignment, pitch matching, and multitrack playback but I really need help with the music.

We need a polyphonic round with many simple phrases that combine into a performance that is greater than the sum of its parts. Ideally the phrases could go together in multiple ways. More than Row Row Row but not too hard. Any ideas?