Melody Reading

Purpose: Develop your ability to sight-read melodies on the keyboard.

Difficulty: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced levels. Rhythmic accuracy is scored mostly for note beginnings; you aren't counted off if a note is not held long enough - that can be hard to get right on the touch keyboard while also getting the correct pitches.

How it works:

This activity combines Rhythm Reading and Pitch Reading. A melody is displayed on the staff and you're asked to play the correct pitches using the correct rhythm. The melodies are invented by the computer, so they are always new and often interesting. To make the exercise more fun these will even include chord accompaniment invented by the computer. You can Save or Share the example if you like it. Once saved you'll be able to open it in the Composition or Lead Sheet activity to make changes.

You can hear any melody before attempting to play it. Use the Play button at the top of the screen to hear each example. When you're ready to play it yourself; touch "Play It!" to start the metronome. The blue dot on the keyboard shows your starting note so that you begin in the correct octave. Once the metronome starts, you can begin playing any time you like; just play in time with the metronome marking the beat.

Playing on the touch keyboard can be challenging even for an experienced keyboard player! You may have to try more difficult examples several times before you get a perfect score. Getting both the pitch and rhythm on the touch screen might be easier if you use two hands - one finger of each hand would be enough. That's not like real piano playing, but real pianos aren't flat! Keep in mind that you can change the speed of the metronome! Don't try to play too fast.

You can try each melody as many times as you like. When you finish, you'll see horizontal bars appear below the staff 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. Any pitch errors will be indicated by a red circle on the note.


Feeling pretty good about your score? This activity gives you a chance to challenge a friend to beat your score for a particular example. When you've finished an example, look for the challenge icon (dueling noteheads) right underneath the Share button on the right side of the screen. Touch the icon to have Musica Touch email your musical challenge to a friend. When your friend opens the challenge with Musica Touch, the program will display the example along with your score and metronome speed. Your friend can choose to accept the challenge and can even challenge you in return by beating your score, or increasing the metronome speed, or both. Note that the challenge icon only appears after you've been scored for a particular example.


• If you get mixed up or lost, jump to wherever the blue arrow above the staff is pointing. The blue arrow points to the next note you're expected to play. If you play a wrong note, continue on to the next note. Touch "Play it!" to try the melody again and correct your mistakes.

• Since the touch screen is very sensitive you'll want to use a certain 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 keyboard like a normal piano otherwise - that is, keep your finger on a note as long as you want it to keep sounding. Be aware that it is the touch of your fingertip that registers with the screen - your fingernail will not work! Play in the center of each key; hitting two notes at once will have the same effect as playing two notes quickly.

• You can turn off the chord sound if desired and you can change the volume and instruments for each voice. Instrument and volume changes are made by touching the blue information buttons at the left of the chords, the staff, and on the keyboard.

Musica Touch™ © 2014 Ars Nova Software. This page may be freely copied.