Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Colm Delaney 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

I'm a composer, sound designer and audio programmer with a background in classical music and violin. I love film and tv, and work as a freelance composer for visual media.

Project Description

My project aimed to develop a harmoniser audio application for violinists to aid with intonation and creativity during practice and investigate its effectiveness with a usability test. A harmoniser adds extra notes or chords in harmony with what a musician plays, turning a solo singer into a choir or a solo violinist into a quartet. The app was developed using the audio programming frameworks Csound and Cabbage and includes functional harmony rules developed throughout the history of Western music theory. Most harmonisers output chords at random, which may or may not adhere to best practices for writing chord progressions. This harmoniser ensures sequences of chords “flow” by implementing rules revolving around the dominant to tonic harmonic relationship. Users can choose from a major, natural minor or harmonic minor scale, which all offer different emotional tones. There are 3 harmonic modes that offer various chord types including simple triads, open-voiced intervals, and more “jazzy” 7th chords.

Usability Testing

Conducting a usability test would be an important step to completing the project and determining its viability as a practice tool. Since most music learners are underage, the testing process included underage participants from various music schools and organisations in Dublin, which qualified the study as a red-route project under IADT ethics guidelines. A post-test questionnaire was used to gather data about the effectiveness of the app.

The tests demonstrated that users were willing to integrate the app into their practice routines and received predominantly positive feedback.