Music Hero Instructions

Operation

If the game is in a zipped folder, unzip it. To run, double-click on music.jar.

Play

Click on Play to play an existing song. A new window will open. Select a new song to play by double-clicking a file, or by single-clicking a file and pressing "Open." To return to the previous screen, press "Cancel." You can set the tempo using the slider on the left. Each song has its own tempo, but you can make it faster or slower to meet your preferences. On the right, you can choose what instrument you're playing the song on. If your instrument isn't listed, or you are a horn player who enjoys transposing, you can choose the key your instrument is in instead. You can choose whether you play in Treble clef or Bass clef, although currently there's no mechanism for switching midsong. If you want to transpose your song up or down, you can do that on the lower right. Do this if a song is too high or too low for your range. Once you're ready, press "Continue" at the bottom of the page, which appears once you have selected a valid song, and the game will start. You will hear the first note of the song being played on your speakers; this is so musicians, particularly singers, have a reference pitch. Play the notes when they reach the black clef on the left. The note you're currently singing or playing is shown to the left of the clef. Points are awarded for accuracy. For scoring to work, you must have a microphone attached to your computer. Playing multiple correct notes in a row gives a combo bonus multiplier to your score. To pause or unpause the game, click the window, press the spacebar, or press p. To speed or slow the tempo in the game, press the up and down arrows.

Change Settings

This page allows you to change some of the settings. Of these, background noise, the level of ambient noise, is the most important. This allows the game to distinguish a note from a rest. Press "Sample Noise" to sample the current background noise level. You should do this every time you play the game in a new environment. Make sure you don't make extra noise during the sampling! Changing the default instrument lets you choose the instrument automatically selected when a song is played (of course, you can still choose a different one). Screen height stores the default height of the window on startup, and screen width stores its width. Pixels per beat is how many pixels wide each beat is, with 60 as the default. This can be decreased if performance becomes an issue. Pitch reference length represents the length of the first note tone off which singers can base their pitch, in milliseconds. The min/max rest and note lengths are the number of beats necessary for a note or rest to be translated in the song converter. Any note or rest longer than the max lengths will be cut off, and any note or rest shorter than the min length will be ignored.

Convert Your Music

This converter guides you through the process of creating your own song to play from a midi, mp3, wav, au, or aiff file. Once complete, a new file will be made in the scores folder containing your song. You will now see the file after you press "Play" on the main screen. If you can possibly find a midi version of the song you want to play, I highly recommend using that. The analysis is simple and accurate, and you can usually pick which instrument's part you want to play. Here are some good sites for finding midi files for classical pieces and for modern music, or try your search engine of choice. Analysis of non-midi files is much more complicated and much less accurate, so I highly recommend sticking with midi. After the waveform analysis, you'll be asked if you want to transpose the part up or down. While you can always do it later every time you play the song, it's simpler to do it now.

Composition

If you cannot find a midi of the song you want to play, you can still write it yourself. Open up a text document in your favorite text editor like notepad, and save your file in the "scores" folder. The first thing you write is the beats per minute, the tempo of the song. Follow this with a space. Next, put your first noteb, with the note followed by the octave, like A4, Bb3, or G#2. For a rest, use the underscore character, like _, and of course you don't need an octave. To specify the length of the note or rest, add a space, and then write the length as a whole number, like 1, 2, or 3, or a fraction, like 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4. Add notes and lengths as you like. If you want to change the BPM midway through the song, write the new BPM before the note where you want it to change. Below is an example of Ode to Joy, with some slowing near the end:
96 B4 1 B4 1 C5 1 D5 1 D5 1 C5 1 B4 1 A4 1 G4 1 G4 1 A4 1 B4 1 B4 3/2 A4 1/2 A4 3/2 _ 1/2 B4 1 B4 1 C5 1 D5 1 D5 1 C5 1 B4 1 A4 1 G4 1 G4 1 A4 1 B4 1 80 A4 3/2 G4 1/2 50 G4 2

Once you're done, save the file and it's ready to play!