Preparing for Quarters

Preparing for Quarters

After the semester’s fourth week, project teams at the ETC go through a process called, quarter walk-arounds and sit-downs. The faculty will stop by our project on Monday to get a brief overview of the work done thus far, and on Friday professors will spend a bit more time giving us feedback.

For quarters, we are preparing the following:

A piano demonstration: This includes using the HoloLens at the digital piano. Guests will be shown a 3D hand animation to demonstrate a basic triad (do-mi-sol), followed by a musical score with notes that correlate to piano keyboard overlays. We will demonstrate the overlays by having the guest follow along and play out a recognizable song.

Over the course of the demo, we will toggle back and forth between large piano key overlays and small ones, as well as go through a few choices of overlay styles—orbs, pyramids, larger triangle indicators, fingering indicators, etc.

An AR demonstration outside the piano environment: The guest will be situated in the center of a spiral, at the base of which is a musical note. When the user gazes at the note, the pitch sounds and a new note appears to its right, along the spiral. The guest repeats the gaze causing the new adjacent notes to react until the last note is sounded. This last note is situated directly above the original starting pitch, and the system shows the relationship between the two…an octave.

A summary of technological development: Lesson builder; musical score manager; MIDI communication over bluetooth; AR projection mapping, placement, anchoring


We were quite fortunate to have special guests visit our project recently.

Formerly a CMU ETC faculty and currently the executive director of Rhythmix Cultural Works, Tina Blaine stopped by amidst a busy schedule giving sound design workshops at the school. Ms. Blaine has great experience working at the intersection of music and technology (see Jam-O-Drum) and has worked with wireless transmission of MIDI data—her expertise is both relevant and valuable to us. As well as other topics, she helped us brainstorm and explore ways to work with the limitations of HoloLens’ FOV.

Visiting scholar, Anthony Daniels, is in Pittsburgh and working with ETC students and projects. Speaking personally, Mr. Daniels has truly been a significant influence on my graduate education here. I value his unique perspective, his kindness and his vast experience in the entertainment technology industry. But Mr. Daniels also has a profound understanding of music and, especially, composition. In addition to being a world-class actor, I believe he’s a musician at heart.

Mr. Daniels was generous with his time and playtested our pre-quarters demo. I’m glad we were able to take in his feedback and build upon the prototype before the review with him and the rest of the faculty.

Finally, a team from Riot Games was here on Thursday. Their perspective, being from a game company, brought up important questions for our team to discuss regarding engagement and “gamification.” They were very cool in understanding the early stages of our prototype development and provided valuable feedback.

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