More Pianoply videos

rob brown

rjbrown at gmail

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Here are some videos showing Pianoply, including the early stages of development when I was just experimenting and seeing how my daughter reacted. These go back a while, to early 2016 (when she had just turned two). Most show my daughter, but some have her roller skating buddies and one includes shows adults having fun with it.

Very early experiments

Here I'm just experimenting with doing a crude horizontal pianoroll in colors. Stella liked the way she pushed a button and the color showed up onscreen. She also liked looking at the melody visualized this way (watch her singing to it at 35 seconds in). It was instantly more interesting than any other piano app to her, even when it was not much more than a quick hack.

The sounds are pretty grating, I was trying to synthesize sounds in WebAudio but it isn't easy to make them sound natural.

Lightsaber song

As a long time Star Wars fan, this makes me happy in so many ways. At the time Pianoply's graphics looked a bit more little lightsabers than they do now, and Stella would sing along with a song calling out the colors of the lightsabers.

She has always been facinated by the graphics and colors.

She gets it!

At this point Pianoply was actually working. She's been looking at colors and notes for a long while now, and totally gets the concept. First she sings the color names, and by the next day she is able to play them on piano (at half speed). Really cool to see how it connected for her little brain.

Getting better at playing

Here she's much better at playing. I haven't pushed her to learn, and she probably spends 20 times as much time watching and listening to Pianoply while in "autoplay" mode than she does actually playing, but she does enjoy playing and totally thinks of music in these terms.

More typical Pianoply use

Stella loves to have music videos with Pianoply graphics and Pianoply sounds playing while she does other things, whether dancing or swinging or skating or skateboarding. Music videos without "the colors" on them are far less interesting to her. Christmas lights, tie dye and flower power skateboard complete the look.

She also watches at least half a dozen of these Pianoply videos after storybook time and before going to sleep at night. We make time for it because I think it's beneficial to her brain. And she loves it and considers it a very important part of our bond.

Skate night with Pianoply

When I bring Pianoply to the weekly roller skate night at the local recreation center, it always draws a crowd of fascinated kids. It's hard to keep them from fighting over the piano, and to make sure that I don't pull too many kids away from roller skating.

Ahh, the pre-Coronavirus days.

More playing

More of the same. She's actually better on the black notes than the white notes. Go figure.


She's still not using anything resembling proper fingering, but her hands are still small for a full size piano. We're working on that.

What is more significant is the way she is internalizing music by associating it with colors and the Pianoply way of representing piano geometry.

And not just kids....

Here it is at an Inventor event at Node in San Francisco. None of the other inventions got nearly as much attention, and it was a huge hit.

Going a bit meta

Aside from loving to use her swing and trapeze to Pianoply, she especially enjoys when I put her inside Pianoply itself. She intently watched as I put this together.

(note to self: stop overusing the word "meta")