Some Stats & A Couple Questions

Comments and questions about Chordhopper.
etaxier
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Location: NYC

Some Stats & A Couple Questions

Postby etaxier » Wed Jan 24, 2007 3:54 am

I've managed to play chordhopper more regularly than the other games, with only one break over the holidays. It takes forever to load the stats now, and I'm only up to the A-C-E chord.

Here are some stats!
8/26/2006-1/23/2007
264 Games
4,651 meters traveled

TOTAL correct: 98.6% (That must be normal, like my temperature)

Of the five types of errors, 35.1% are chroma-only, 31.4% are height-only, 20% are height+structure, 12.4% are no-match, and 1.1% are structure-only. Speaking from subjective experience, about 1/4 of the total errors were accidental (thinking one thing and pushing another key on the keyboard, etc.). Speed-playing errors make up another smaller proportion. The 'right' errors (guessing, thinking it's X when it's actually Y, etc.) happened almost entirely at beginnings of games, when I made mainly chroma mistakes and a few structure mistakes. I've made fewer and fewer early-game mistakes over time.

I made the most chroma-only errors with the F chords. Starting 9/26/06, chroma-only errors for CFA and FAC (which had the most errors): 60% for CFA and 70% for FAC.

The stats reveal less after late October, though, because there aren't really enough errors (by 10/25/06, the error rate is 0.9%). CFA is still the error champion (chroma-only), followed by FAC (no dominant error type) and GBD (no-match).

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A couple questions:

(1) Will the game ever feature different key centers, if only as an option to test how well it's trained our relative abilities? (Having a random series of chords is mighty helpful harmonic ear training.) An example implementation would be an optional "Bizarro Frog Challenge" that lets you play the last super fly challenge with a different frog color (key center), and one "free" tonic note/chord/APB-melody at the beginning to orient the player. Of course, "bizarro frog challenge" just sounds cool, too.

(2) Are you happy with the shapes for the 7th chords? For me, some of the 7th chords are far too similar to their triad brothers to warrant their completely different visual shapes. BDFG and BDG sound similar and have similar shapes; DFGB and DGB -- same thing; FGBD and GBD -- same thing, though others might disagree (especially if you move the bass down an octave). GBDF is the only "new" shape to my ears. What do you think?

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:26 pm

Will the game ever feature different key centers

I'm not sure what you mean-- I would have thought that the different chromatic values were the key centers?
Are you happy with the shapes for the 7th chords? For me, some of the 7th chords are far too similar to their triad brothers to warrant their completely different visual shapes.

Aurally, yes, they're similar, but it is that similarity which seems (to me) to suggest the need for totally different geometric shapes-- to emphasize the fact that, although similar in sound, they are different harmonic structures.

etaxier
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:57 am
Location: NYC

Postby etaxier » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:56 pm

Sorry--I wrote the questions pretty late at night.

By key centers, I mean more along these lines: the game starts off "in C," with the chord sequence I, IV, V, V7, VI, VII, II, III... Then, it adds the other five chromatic notes. The way it's set up, it's not a problem that we don't see minor versions of a lot of chords (Eb, C, G#, B, etc.) or 7th chord versions of all the later chords (including minor 7ths, diminished, etc.), and so on, because everything there is in the context of C. So an example of a "different key center" would be B, with a VI = G#-B-D# (or Ab-Cb-Db in another key), a II = C#-E-G#, a VII = A#-C#-E, and various 7th chords. Even more to the point would be if it had the same sequence as the game currently does "in C": B...E...F#...F#7...G#.... etc.

As for the shapes thing, I definitely see your point of view. I guess the whole concept of "harmonic structure" is a little vague to me, since it somehow encompasses both the number of units in a chord, including "added" tones, and the inversions, which usually have more of a tonal function than added tones because of the different bass and soprano notes. So in that sense, if a, b, c, and d are chord tones, I guess I typically treat b-c-a and b-c-d-a as structurally similar in a way that I don't with b-c-a and c-a-b, mainly because the bass and soprano are the same and the chord functions are the same and the c note appears in the same place. But in terms of the game, you're probably right to give them different shapes, even if they mainly serve to point out an extra note, because they're still different.

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Thu Jan 25, 2007 1:40 am

in terms of the game, you're probably right to give them different shapes, even if they mainly serve to point out an extra note, because they're still different.

Also, chords of the same root (whatever the inversion) share the same color.

etaxier
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:57 am
Location: NYC

Postby etaxier » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:46 am

New Question! (uh oh...)

In the latest front page update, you say:
"hearing a tone and assigning it a scale degree automatically creates an imagined tonic," which I completely agree with. Strangely enough, the Ron Gorow book Hearing and Writing Music takes that same stance with a series of exercises where you listen to the same tone and treat it in your mind as a different scale degree. It also explains what's so hard about the pitch thing that pops up in the middle of chordhopper. Sometimes I get so confused (wait, a Db AND a D AND a Bb AND an Ab AND an A....) that I lose the "sense of C" that I had before. So my question is, is that what's supposed to happen--is it a memory exercise, to make sure I can still recognize C even after a series of tests where I have to entirely rely on relative pitch?

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:13 pm

The rationale for the pitch-identification thingy in the middle of Chordhopper games is not a very strong one-- the main reason I put it there is just to reinforce the fact that the chords have components, and perhaps to jog recognition of those components.

Are you playing Chordhopper with a "sense of C"? I always listen for the E, F, or G to recognize red, orange, or blue chords (respectively).

etaxier
Posts: 136
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:57 am
Location: NYC

Postby etaxier » Fri Feb 09, 2007 7:02 pm

Hmmm... I'd like to point out something specific I listen for, but I don't think I can.

When I start the game and it plays a C chord, I can recognize it instantly, usually as "low"-- C in the bass, "medium" -- C in the soprano, or "high" -- C with the third in soprano. For that last chord I usually have to pause a second and imagine the soprano descending two steps. [You could say I listen for E, but really I listen for the third of that familiar chord]

When I start the game and it plays a low G or medium F chord, I know it's not the low C chord because it sounds like it's the same range as C but with a different structure (and a strong leading tone at the bottom). With F, I hear the top note as "leading" (descending) to the fifth; in other words I hear the major sixth interval built on C. With G, I hear the leading tone to C.

The same sort of thing goes for all the different chords. Once I've gotten that first difficult one right (even though I usually get it right, I often feel like I'm guessing), I immediately feel oriented "in C," and everything else is easy to recognize as simply That Chord, which has a certain function in the key.


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