eConcerto: The Vision
It all started when I discovered some of Mozart's piano concerti in MIDI format; I took a liking to No. 20 (K466) and started learning the first two movements. One thing struck me, which I hadn't previously encountered when playing solo piano works: there are several passages played by the orchestra only, while the soloist waits.
When practising on your own, you don't get such feedback for the progression of the piece, nor any counterpoint between instruments. Just silence - unless you use some recording to play along to. Although one could edit MIDI files to silence/remove the Piano track and maybe reduce tempo, this can be cumbersome - yet still restrict the soloist to playing at a constant tempo regardless of proficiency or artistic intent (e.g. rubato).
This is where the concept of eConcerto arose. The idea is to create a virtual ensemble that automatically follows a musician's performance.
The main goals of this application are to:
- Display sheet music for the piece being performed;
- Track the live performance and automatically advance the sheet music, thus avoiding manual swiping / page turning;
- Provide synchronised accompaniment to the live performance, taking variable tempi (e.g. rubato) into account;
- Facilitate solo rehearsal of ensemble pieces, especially with counterpoint between multiple instruments.
This takes the form of an Android app for tablets (10" and larger), due to the form factor that lends itself to use on a music stand with a good degree of legibility for the notation.
Other considerations include battery life and hardware connectivity (USB, MIDI via USB).