Rhythmist™ resembles the activity called "Rhythm Reading" in Musica Touch™ for the iPad® and Practica Musica® for desktop computers. But this time it's on your phone, and it's basically a game. The melodies are randomly generated, including chord accompaniment, but they come in order and are the same for every player. If you reach a score of, say, 10, you have completed the same 10 examples as everyone else. If you want to, you can even match your scores against other players in the Game Center - that's why the Rhythmist icon looks like dueling eighthnotes.Rhythmist is available for download to your iPhone® at the AppStore.

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Purpose: Have fun and develop your ability to read rhythms.

Difficulty: Three levels of difficulty: simple rhythms without ties or rests, rhythms that include ties, and rhythms that might include 16th notes and rests.

How it works:

This is an exercise in reading rhythm, but to make it more interesting you'll be seeing and hearing real tunes, with chordal harmony, all invented by Rhythmist. Each example appears as a melody, but all you have to do is play its rhythm on the two "piano keys" provided - Rhythmist will supply the correct pitches automatically and will play the chord accompaniment as well.

(If you're interested in sight reading where you have to get the pitches too, there are activities in Practica Musica and even in Musica Touch for that purpose.)

The "keyboard" in Rhythmist is just two piano keys, on which you can tap any rhythm using two fingers. If you want to, you can tap with just one finger, but using two fingers and alternating the keys makes it much easier to tap complicated rhythms, and to hold notes for their full value. Take a look:

You can try each melody as many times as necessary. When you get it right, you can advance to the next example using the right pointing arrow by the melody counter (only visible when you've achieved your gold star for that melody).

The Hear button at the top of the screen will let you hear any melody before attempting to tap it. When you're ready to attempt playing it yourself, touch the "Play this rhythm!" button and you'll hear the metronome begin. You can begin tapping any time you like once the metronome is started. Listen carefully to the metronome as you play so that you don't get ahead or behind the beat.

The two-finger "pinch" gesture can be used to shrink or expand the music; the two-finger touch can scroll music left or right, and if you touch with one finger just to the left of the staff or the line of chords you can also drag them up or down if you want.

Checking for errors

Horizontal bars appear below the staff when you finish playing that can help you understand any errors. The blue bars represent the starting time and length of each note as written. Below the line of blue bars you'll see green or red ones that depict your own performance: green if they are close enough to the original to be marked correct, and red if they're 'off' in some way - either starting at the wrong time, or too short, or too long.

Here's an explanation of the icons:

1. Change clef. Melodies will be created as appropriate for the chosen clef.

2. Change tempo. When you're first presented with a melody a tempo slider (shown above) will be easily accessible on the left of the screen. You may wish to change the tempo to make it either slower, for very complex syncopated rhythms, or faster, for very simple rhythms. When you change the tempo or the metronome volume the metronome will tick a few times to let you hear it.

Touch the metronome icon to bring up the tempo options window.

• Divided ticks. By default, the metronome is set to sound a "divided beat." One sound marks the main beat divisions while a second sound marks the subdivisions within the beat. If you'd rather not hear a subdivided beat, turn off "Use divided ticks." For an explanation of how subdividing the beat will help you read rhythms check out in Chapter 3 of our free multimedia textbook, Exploring Theory with Practica Musica (available for download at the iBooks store).

• Turn on "show beat markers" to see where the beats are in each measure. Seeing where the beats are will help you learn to count.

3. Change difficulty level. There are three levels to choose from.
Level 1: simple rhythms without ties or rests
Level 2: rhythms that include ties
Level 3: rhythms that include 16th notes and rests

4. Options menu. Here you can change the volume of the chord accompaniment or the melody. It also lets you choose whether to use Game Center or not.

5. The crossed-eighth-notes Rhythmist icon brings up your scoreboard. The scoreboard shows all your current achievements for the current level. If you're using the free version it also has a button you can press to purchase 999,000 more melodies (actually a lot more than that, but 999,000 is a nice number). That purchase also will unlock the Share feature so that you can email a music file (readable by any copy of MusicaTouch for the iPad, or our desktop Songworks or Practica Musica software), printable pdf, or midi file of the currently displayed example melody.

6. The share button lets you email a melody, either as a music file that can be opened in Musica Touch for iPad or Ars Nova's desktop Songworks, or as a printable PDF file, or as a MIDI file that can be played on any computer.

7. The up/down arrow can be used to raise the keys for playing. The keys will raise automatically whenever you touch "Play this rhythm!"

Game Center

Feeling pretty good about your score? If you turn on Game Center in the Options Menu you can compete with your friends over milestones. Who can finish 200 melodies? Who can get 10 in a row correct on the first try? Even if you master levels 1 and 2 you'll find that level 3 is not easy.


• If you get mixed up or lost, look to wherever the blue arrow above the staff is pointing. The blue arrow points to the note you're currently on - the following note is ready to play.

• Since the touch screen is very sensitive you'll want to use a careful playing technique. Lift your fingers high as you play, to avoid accidentally touching an unintended note - the screen will catch the slightest touch, deliberate or not. Be sure to treat the tap pad keys like a normal piano otherwise - that is, keep your finger on a note as long as you want it to keep sounding (in other words, don't peck at the keys.) Be aware that it is the touch of your fingertip that registers with the screen - your fingernail will not work! Try to touch the near the center of each key; hitting two notes at once will have the same effect as playing two notes quickly.

Rhythmist™ © 2015 Ars Nova Software. This page may be freely copied.