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Posts about work (old posts, page 3)


The sixth public test of MEWER (MEWsician's Exercises for Rhythms) is online. This one has two difficulty levels, warns users if they didn't indicate the correct number of notes, and has misc bug fixes. Try it here: MEWER 0.6.

MEWER has also been added as a Google Code project; you can get the source code or add Issues (bugs or planned features) at


The fifth public test of MEWER is online. It introduces the Javascript version: this doesn't include any microphone support, but it will let people who have problems with flash play. It also includes various other improvements, such as random metronome speeds and aligning to the first clap (if desired). Try it here: MEWER 0.5.

Next up:

  • Fix any bugs reported in this version.
  • Calibrate the grading.
  • Let users choose which level to do next. Maybe with a full graphical tree view. Or maybe just as a "warp to level X" thing.
  • Release source code and add it to Google Code. This will also let me add Issues (ie bugs or feature requests) to a tracker, as opposed to looking through my old blog posts to see what I was supposed to be doing next. :)
  • Figure out what the name stands for.


The fourth public test of MEWER is online. It contains levels 0-9 and the player can only advance levels after passing exercises. This is the first real "game" version of MEWER. Try it here: MEWER 0.4.

The 0.4 test is dedicated to the string quintet I played with on Monday night. They were missing a first violinist, so I joined them and we sight-read some Mozart and Beethoven quintets. I had a blast -- we had some ensemble problems, so I started sight-reading from the score (first time I've done that! -- previously I'd only played chamber music from scores when I already knew my part) and yelling out corrections as we went along. That evening was the perfect example of the kind of musician I wanted to be when I started learning viola 5 or 6 six years ago. I can jump in and play any part in string chamber music, and if anybody has trouble, I can grab their instrument and give them a mini-lesson.

Sure, there are many great chamber music coaches that are fantastic, regardless of their original instrument(s). But I've heard "well, I'm not a cellist, but what if you tried..." or "I only play violin, but you could try this on your viola..." too many times. My special niche is that I do know how to play the instruments, and I have played that type of role. Few violinists really understand what it's like to play cello in a quartet, and few cellists really understand the violinsts' point of view.

Ok, I must admit that I still occasionally fake stuff as first violin, even in Mozart. And I won't even attempt to sight-read Shostakovich quartets. So I should really wait another year or two before proclaiming myself the specialist in general string quartet playing. But I'm still on a high from the quintets. :)

Anyway, back to MEWER. It's still missing a few features that I plan on adding. Near-future:

  • Not crash when you complete level 9. (so far, only members of the Percival family have gotten that far. :)
  • Let users choose between "align to first clap" and "use best alignment" (currently it only does the latter).
  • Nicer status messages
  • Calibrate the grading. Right now I've leaned on the side of leniency (in calculating the percentage), and set the "pass" rate to 70%. I might increase the difficulty and then reduce the passing grade to 50%.
  • Let users choose which level to do next. Maybe you want to do triplets after sixteenth notes instead of rests. Or maybe you think you should practice dotted quarters and half notes before doing sixteen notes.
  • Figure out what the name stands for. :) Musician's E*** Workshop for Evaluating Rhythms? Hmm... Excellent, Exciting? Or maybe Musicians and Extras (ie singers, or maybe even dancers) Worskshop for Evaluating Rhythm? I'm sure that my brother would approve of the latter one, but I'm not as stuck-up about string players as he is. At least, not in public. :)

Not possible in flash (but these features are present in MEAWS):

  • Audible metronome. Flash audio has unpredictable latency, so it's worse than useless as a metronome.
  • Play back audio. This is IMO one of the most important parts of MEAWS -- if you think MEAWS has given you a poor score, you can listen to your clapping to verify how poorly you did. I mean, we all think that we always have great rhythm, but often when you listen to a recording of what you actually did, you discover that you weren't as hot as you thought. Unfortunately this cannot be done in flash. At least, not without setting up a $5000 "flash media server". :(