Playing Notes With A Mouse Or Touch-Screen


Since the dawn of written music, there has always been a necessary step in playing written music on a musical instrument.

That step is to translate from the written music note, to the proper key on a music keyboard, string and finger placement on a fret-board, or a combination of keys on a wind of brass instrument.

That step has always been necessary – until the KeyMusician Keyboard was created.

With the KeyMusician Keyboard, you set the key-signature to match the written music, then see the note in the written music, and press (or click) the same place in the grand staff display of the KeyMusician Keyboard, and voila! The same note as in the written music plays. No translation is required.

How easy can it get?

Although this is super-easy to do, it is not the most practical way of playing the KeyMusician Keyboard, because you can only play one note at a time this way, and it requires constant eye-hand coordination (you can't play it by feel, keeping your eyes on the music).

So besides it being cool to show this capability, why would it be useful?

For beginners, it is probably the quickest, easiest way to convince yourself that you can actually play written music.

But for people with severe disabilities, it can unlock the world of playing music!

Software and hardware has been developed, allowing people who can only move their eyes, to control a computer.

With this equipment, the mouse pointer moves to the point on the screen the person is looking at, and they can click (but not hold-down) the left mouse button by blinking their eyes. For more information on this, you can click on the following link: The EagleEyes Project

The KeyMusician Keyboard is designed to work with such software, by implementing the following features:

The above features can also be useful for playing music with a touch screen, as explained in the paragraph below:

Where touch screen support has been intergated into the operating system (as it is with Windows and Mac OS X), you need to be able to play notes using only single-clicks, since keeping a position on the screen pressed (which would normally indicate how long the note is played) is instead used to call-up a context menu, and isn't passed to the application as a held-down mouse button.

Playing Notes Using The Mouse Or Touch-Screen

Normal Mode

To play a note, move the mouse-pointer to the place on the musical staff-lines (in a space between lines, or on a line) where the note of the sheet-music is, and press the left mouse button, holding it down as long as you want the note to sound.

While the button is held-down (playing the current note), you can move the mouse-pointer to where the next note is, and when you let-up and re-press the left mouse button, the new note will sound. This allows you to re-position the mouse-pointer while the current/prior note is still playing.

To play an accidental (a note not in the current key-signature), click on the black key above (or below) the note of the key-signature, in the keyboard diagram to the right of the notes. You could also play the accidental by first playing a chord using the accidental, or by first pressing (and holding) the page-up (or page-down) key, then clicking the note.

Playing accidentals is better described the image in the single-click mode area (below).

In the normal mode, when you let-up on the mouse button, the note stops playing.

When using a touch-screen with an operating system not having touch-screen support integrated into it, you simply press the position of the screen where the note goes, and hold your finger pressed as long as you want the note to sound.

As with the mouse, you can slide your finger up to the next note's position (while keeping your finger pressed, and thereby keeping the current note playing), then lift and press your finger again to play the next note. Usually this isn't needed, since you can quickly move your finger to the position of the new note, and just press it there to play the next note.

To play chords with the mouse (or touch-screen), it's mostly the same as playing chords using the numeric key-pad, except you click (or press) the buttons on the “Num-Keypad - Chord” window instead. The only difference, is when you press or click the “Play” button, it toggles the playing of the chord on, or off.

Because of this, you can click to start the chord playing, then play notes along with it, then click the “Play” button again to stop the chord from playing.

To set up for the next chord while the current chord is playing, click (or press) the buttons specifying the new chord (while the “Play” button is still toggled-on for playing the current chord), then click, and click again (or press, and press again) the “Play” button, and it will then play the next chord.




Single-Click Accessibility Mode

In single-click accessibility mode, a single-click (or touch-screen press) where the note to play needs to be (on the graphics display) starts playing the note. When you press (or single-click) the position of the screen of the next note, the current note stops playing, and the new note starts playing.

To stop a note from playing (without playing a new note), you click in the area of the graphics screen to the left of the short lines. See the picture below:




Playing chords in single-click accessibility mode is the same as in normal mode.

How To Turn-On Single-Click Accessibility Mode

Basically, you right-click on, and edit the desktop-launcher properties, adding a space, followed by -EagleEyes to the “Target” or “Command” part of the desktop-launcher.

Note: The methods for changing it described below won't work for the Java Web-Start (JNLP) version of the application. If you have that version, please install the latest version.

Here are some screen-shots showing you how to modify the desktop launcher on Windows and Linux:


Changing the desktop-launcher properties on Windows XP


Editing the desktop-launcher properties in Windows 8.1


Editing the desktop-launcher properties on Lubuntu Linux

To change it on Mac OS X, you right-click (two-finger click) on the desktop-launcher (or application bundle) of the KeyMusician Keyboard application. From the pop-up menu that appears, choose “Show Package Contents”. Then browse within it, to the “Info.plistfile, and edit that file as follows (keeping the indentation the same as the surrounding lines):

for the Apple-Java version:

Add the line with yellow background to the non-highlighted lines shown below:

<key>Properties</key>

<dict>

<key>DebugLevel</key>

<string>2373</string>

<key>EagleEyes</key>

</dict>

for the Oracle-Java version:

Add the line with yellow background to the non-highlighted lines shown below:

<key>JVMArguments</key>

<array>

<string>-DebugLevel=2373</string>

<string>-EagleEyes</string>

</array>

How Single-Click Accessibility Mode Is Different

When the application is started, the windows are arranged differently on the screen, as shown in the screen-shot below (for a wide-screen):


Notice that the main KeyMusician Keyboard window is maximized in the vertical direction.

The “Wait” check-box of the “Learning Metrics” window is set (to make it wait for you to match the displayed note). Clear this check-box if you aren't learning to play music via the 'match-the-notes' method. Otherwise, when you use the MIDI player, it may appear to hang (go very slow) because it's waiting for you to match a note.




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