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User-Friendly Music Theory Application for Education and Analysis

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Anita Riddle

Additional Presenters:
Sierra Schmidt (
"Undergraduate students invented, built, and implemented a user-friendly computer and mobile phone tool that accelerates music education and analysis. A key enabler was collaboration among first- and second-year community college students of music and engineering. This is one of two unrelated projects by this undergraduate student research group. While in the classroom, a music student contrived the idea for the tool. The student reached out to engineering students with skills to program logic into a spreadsheet. The tool is used by students with positive reviews. Tonal music comprises the musical keys, scales, and chords used most since the 1600's. Tonal music is complex and highly mathematical. Understanding music theory takes several semesters. Music analysis is time consuming. This user-friendly tool reduces the information that must be looked up in textbooks or committed to memory. SLCC music theory course material provided the data and numerical relationships for each musical key. Researchers input the relationships into mathematical databases and programmed handy look-up tables. Attractive features include: (1) Tonal Music Guide: User types in the musical key; tool provides chords, notes, and typical chord sequences. (2) Diatonic Post-Tonal Music Guide: User types in the name of collection. Tool offers proper ordering of notes in ionian, dorian, phrygian, lydian, mixolydian, aeolian, & locrian modes. (3) Octatonic and Hexatonic Music Guide: User reads notes off the provided charts. (4) Twelve Note Serialism Guide: User applies the tool to create a 12x12 matrix that offers proper note order. Online research generated several music theory applications. However, none were free nor as focused for music theory academic studies nor for music analysis. Link to User-Friendly Music Theory tool: "
University / Institution: Salt Lake Community College
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Other
Faculty Mentor: Nick Safai
Location: Alumni House, HENRIKSEN ROOM (10:00am)