Evaluating LED-based interface for Lumanote composition creation tool

Granger, James and Aviles, Mateo and Kirby, Joshua and Griffin, Austin and Yoon, Johnny and Lara-Garduno, Raniero A. and Hammond, Tracy

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Composing music typically requires years of music theory experience and knowledge that includes but is not limited to chord progression, melody composition theory, and an understanding of whole-step/half-step passing tones among others. For that reason, certain songwriters such as singers may find a necessity to hire experienced pianists to help compose their music. In order to facilitate the process for beginner and aspiring musicians, we have developed Lumanote, a music composition tool that aids songwriters by presenting real-time suggestions on appropriate melody notes and chord progression. While a preliminary evaluation yielded favorable results for beginners, many commented on the difficulty of having to map the note suggestions displayed on the on-screen interface to the physical keyboard they were playing on. This paper presents the resulting solution: an LED-based feedback system that is designed to be directly attached to any standard MIDI keyboard. This peripheral aims to help map note suggestions directly to the physical keys of a musical keyboard. A study consisting of 22 individuals was conducted to compare the effectiveness of the new LED-based system with the existing computer interface, finding that the vast majority of users preferred the LED system. Three experienced musicians also judged and ranked the compositions, noting significant improvement in song quality when using either system, and citing comparable quality between compositions that used either interface.