Sight-reading complex musical notation takes years of training, hundreds or thousands of hours of practice, sitting in front of the piano, a metronome drilling its infernal clicks into your brain. Eventually you'll gain the ability to read and perform just about any piece of music that's set in front of you, without ever having seen it before. It does not come easily, and it is not a natural skill; you have to keep practicing to retain it. Each month you don't practice takes two months to earn back the power you've squandered. It is a human achievement, a way in which we force our brains and fingers and feet and eyes to perform a task we are not born able to do.
I was classically trained in piano for about twelve years, and this stupid little gadget has immediately negated all of my hard work.
The Gocen, created by a team at the Tokyo Metropolitan University, is a scanner which can read hand-written sheet music, interpret it, and play back in real time as you wave the scanner over each bar. It can even read words like "piano" and "guitar" to distinguish between instruments, or interpret which key the piece is in, and it decides volume based on the size of the note. Here's the little goblin in action:
I hereby pledge to destroy it. I will seize it from the Tokyo Metropolitan University lab and place it under my sustain pedal and I will play a Chopin Mazurka and stomp the sustain pedal at the beginning of every single bar until the Gocen is smashed into a thousand pieces. I will do this for every little six-year-old kid, his feet swinging beneath the piano bench because he is too tiny to reach the floor, straining to play "Ode to Joy," willing his fingers to be in the right places at the right times. I will win this fight for the humans.
alright so maybe popsci is hiring Luddites these days...
Computers and programming in past posted PoPSCi article have automated the writers. It had to be an eventuality to replace the sheet music readers. Soon computers, robots and automation will replace humans completely and they only need for humans will be to serve the machines. ;)
Ha ha funny. However, this sort of thing is the wave of the future, but how do we deal with it? What human skills that we spend years learning will become obsolete in the future?
This specific little gadget will probably not render the skill of music sight reading obsolete any more than playing a MIDI file on your computer renders your piano obsolete. It is still just a machine playing the notes, and (good) human musicians will (at least for the foreseeable future) be able to provide a more entertaining performance.
If you really want to help all those poor kids forced to master the complexities of playing the piano, then it is time to rise up in revolt against the tyranny of standard music notation. Why we have not come up with a better system for writing down notes after hundreds of years is appalling.
I kind of empathize with the author. A complicated task that a machine does effortlessly is simply annoying. As I am a piano player, this device will make me wish I'd spent more time developing the left side of my brain, where my robotic thinking originates from.
If you are a music person...this is a no brainer...it has already done to a certain degree by other software on the market........In fact as an educator this could be a god send...
However, the copyright implications are tremendous...in fact can it read a full score???? hand written notation. That I doubt...The grail would be to play an audio file....have COMPLETE notation capability and be able to manipulate it like midi to create a performance that is different then anyone else without having to play it in or step input in
forgive my grammar...Im a Music teacher not a English teacher Jim
Haha Humans, we are inventing our own successors, and will turn into them.
@zerox012 Woo i always wanted to try mind uploading! i want to be a toaster!
If it's any consolation, the gadget is missing one critical ingredient which you so perfectly demonstrated - the emotional content. :-)
It's actually missing something much more fundamental: the rhythm! It only reads the pitches (the examples shown actually have no note tails drawn so have no defined rhythm).
If you feed it properly written music, with rhythms, it will presumably only be able to read the pitch.
Still impressive - but no match for a human yet.
Music is an expression of human emotion and only receive with emotion by humans. This program is just a tool in helping its development. I like it! ;)
This is kind of neat. I have used a music scanning program back under Win98 that used a desktop scanner to read music. The free version was pretty good but the paid version had so much more versatility. This reads handwritten music which is even better. My late mother was a music teacher, played for church, choir practice, anything in the way of music our home town needed up until her passing last fall from an aneurism. Over 60 years of sharing her talent. She wrote alot of arrangements that were performed but never recorded. It was be really nice to use this to revive her music.
It should read the music from pdf, xps, or image files. Also, until it has the ability to fully read musical notation, it's junk. Note size and scanning speed should not determine how the music sounds.