Best put by Plato, "Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." From the alarm clock pushing us out of bed to grand orchestras playing in synergy, we are surrounded by music. However, learning how to pick up an instrument and making one's own music is no easy task. From watching countless hours of YouTube videos and practicing in your bedroom, it can easily bog down a large chunk of time from an otherwise busy day. On top of that, music is a skill closely interleaved with muscle memory. Spending those long nights practicing an incorrect technique will only pile up added hours down the road where you have to unlearn your mistakes to go down the right path.

What is Virtuoso?

We built Virtuoso as a data-mining hack directly on top of an acoustic guitar to siphon information of user input in real-time. In a nutshell, it tracks and analyzes your finger positions and pressure on the guitar and sends it over to a back-end server. This enables the platform to collect highly valuable data from a live musical performance for all kinds of analysis and provide relevant feedback.

How It Works

We created a basic capacitive sensor to extract user touch and pressure by measuring how long it takes for a piece of conductive material to go from a grounded state to a higher potential when passed through a pull-up resistor. In theory, whenever you touch either a fret or a guitar string(assuming that they are both made out of conductive material), you induce a temporary capacitance. We measure this capacitance to track all tactile input made directly onto the guitar through the arduino board, and send the data over to our back-end django server which analyzes our strokes and rhythms in real time and provides accurate feedback.

Use Cases

Virtuoso is a data-pooling platform - it simply gathers data in real-time from the acoustic guitar. We can use this information in many applications:

Learn how to play - Are you hitting the right notes? Are you pressing hard enough? Too hard, maybe? Is your technique on point, or is it rather sloppy? We can compare your playing habits and finger positions in-between chord transitions with more experienced players to let you know what you're doing differently, and give pointers on possible changes for you to implement.

Write out sheet music - With real-time data of your entire performance, it is very easy to translate the data points into a music sheet.

Master rhythm - Are you mistiming your strums? Should you be transitioning between certain chords faster? With our data, you can pinpoint specific flaws in your playing habits that can steer you towards being a more experienced player.

What's Next

We would really love to follow through with this project - loads of room for improvement, especially on that spaghetti board. Cleaning up the interface is going to be one of the next steps, along with finding an unobtrusive solution to attach it onto the actual guitar.

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