A Sense of Music

A Sense of MusicA Sense of Music is an experimental video game, or more accurately, an interactive music visualizer. It intensifies your immersion by expanding the music with a visual and motoric component.

Load any mp3-file from your personal collection and start jamming on your keyboard to adapt the music visualization to your perception of the rhythm. The game does not restrict the keyboard input to specific keys, nor does it impose a pattern of beats. A Sense of Music is about your personal interpretation of the music.

The experience reaches its full potential after several plays. Discover the visualization, master the controls, and (most importantly) accept the lack of goals and judgment (easier for some than for others). It is only after these stages that you can experience this game as it’s intended: not as a goal-oriented game, but as an unrestrictive musical experience.

The experimental part of A Sense of Music is that it tries to challenge the boundaries of video games as a medium. Is it possible for a game to be fun without containing challenge or story? Would it still feel like a game?

The game is currently under revision. The old version can be downloaded here (requires DirectX 10 graphics hardware, XNA and .NET).

4 thoughts on “A Sense of Music”

  1. Although I am intrigued by the basic idea, in practice this doesn’t really work for me. I know there is a complex algorithm going on to analyse the music and create matching patterns, but while playing I hardly notice any relationship between the visuals and the music. I tried both fast music and slow instrumental music, and I also tried both quick hammering and slowly keeping buttons pressed, but in all cases the patterns could just as well have been generated completely randomly, instead of based on the music, for all that I noticed. Random good-looking patterns is a nice idea in itself, but for that to be interesting I would want to see more patterns (different per group of keys?) or something like that.

    Maybe this is an interesting idea: since you have so much data about the music itself, you could apply a post process to the hill pattern based on some parameter in the music. Maybe at moments when there is a lot of noise (during a cymbal in the drums, for example), the hills could become very sharp and steep. Just a thought.

    1. Thank you for your detailed opinion! I’ve heard similar comments before that its not clear that the visuals are based on the music, and that a more clear and varied influence on the visualization is desired. Your comment made it more clear to me. (By the way, the visuals are not random at all. They actually correspond directly to the activated frequencies in the music. But I guess that’s not a natural way for a human to perceive music.)

      I will continue to ponder over possible improvements!

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