“Clapping Music” app enables researchers to study how people learn rhythm

Posted on: July 22, 2015

“Steve Reich is back in the news because—of all things—a computer game,” writes Russell Smith in Monday’s (7/20) Globe and Mail (Canada). “Actually it’s not a computer game, it’s a music learning app. Or a scientific study. It is all of the above…. It’s called Steve Reich’s Clapping Music … and it’s free.… It plays a famous piece of experimental music composed by Reich in 1972. This piece is performed by two people clapping their hands…. It requires intense concentration and co-ordination. It is easy to screw up. The idea is to get you to tap the screen in time with the claps.… It is a concentration game [and] it teaches you how to perform this piece…. But there are deeper motives for its design. It is part of a research project at Queen Mary University of London that’s studying how people learn music, particularly rhythm. The app will gather, anonymously, the game-play data to see how players progress through the game. Users will also be asked to fill in short questionnaires about their musical listening habits. Some will be selected to participate in longer surveys. The idea is to someday ascertain if gaming can enhance people’s appreciation of the arts.”

Posted July 22, 2015