APP early experience

Comments and questions about Absolute Pitch Painter
aril
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Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:33 am
Location: Melrose, Massachusets

APP early experience

Postby aril » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:33 am

Hi all. First, Chris- thanks for your efforts here. The new game is very interesting, and I thought I would give some feedback as someone relatively new to ear training (a few months, as opposed to many years, like others on this forum).

I started with APA and several other ear training programs (everything else I could get my hands on for my iphone, my computer or my car!) back in late January/ early February when I realized, a year into learning the cello, that improving my ear would be critical to real progress on that instrument. My ear was really pretty bad- I always thought of myself as a musical person- I played flute, oboe, bassoon & baritone horn in HS- but I have had very little in the way of actual music theory or ear training.

With APA progress feels really slow, and after several weeks I was still only into the early levels (5 or 6) of C. Slightly better if I sing the target pitch while I play but that feels a bit like cheating. Progress felt so slow it was not motivating me (within the game) to continue.
With APP, progress feels a lot quicker. Day 1: Five scores above 400 to level up? How will I ever break 200? Day 2: 300! 400! Day 3: I "leveled up"! but curiously, my plot of tone differentiation does not look like Chris'. If I am reading the graphs correctly, my ability to discern pitch differences along the frequency range for one tone (the blue one) looks like the inverse of the other tone. Also, curiously, my ears got tingly/ itchy while playing.

I am playing on on 3 different macs in my house- has any one else noticed, while playing at reasonably loud volumes, electronic buzzing sounds/ tones in the background (sounds faintly like club/electronica music from far away)? I hear these sounds on 2 of my machines and loudest on my desktop imac- they are faint but consistent and coincide with pressing the spacebar to hear the egg sounds (ie, they do not happen outside of the game's generation of tones)- weird.

just my early thoughts. Chris, thanks again. Not sure how much I can attribute exclusively to ETC but my cello intonation has markedly improved.

abminor
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 7:55 am

Postby abminor » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:00 am

Hi aril,

I'm playing APP too. Just checked my graphs and I am in the same case than you. The blue category follows more or less the tendency described by chris with the best discrimination being performed cross category, however, for the other category I have the opposite.

Strange.

Maybe my brain is only forming one category right now and is able to sort tones by deciding blue category - not blue category.

However, that does not explain why I score noticeably better around category center of the non blue category.

I remember reading a study about how pitch categories developed by people with AP where different than any other type of category because, if I recall correctly, their pitch discrimination ability was better (or similar ?) inside a category than cross category.

abminor
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 7:55 am

Postby abminor » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:07 am

Re-reading my last post, I realize that forming only one category might not be possible. I mean should be at least two category by definition right ?

aril
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:33 am
Location: Melrose, Massachusets

Postby aril » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:31 am

abminor wrote:Re-reading my last post, I realize that forming only one category might not be possible. I mean should be at least two category by definition right ?


I do believe that is exactly the point: the construction of "this" or "that". But like you, abminor, I am struck that my data indicate that I am somehow 'better' at discerning one tone over the other. At least for now, early on.

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:30 am

It's possible that the difference is that category centers can behave either like "magnets" or like "anchors". The primary consequence of learning a category is that your brain forms a strong image of what the "ideal" category member is-- the prototype-- and that prototype sits, mathematically, at the center of the category. Once your brain has developed a prototype, that prototype can behave either as a magnet or an anchor.

As a magnet, the prototype's essential characteristics can be so clear that everything within a certain distance of it sounds just like it, because you recognize the same characteristics in them. Sounds further from the prototype are easier to tell apart because they do not express these same characteristics as clearly.

As an anchor, the prototype's precise sound can be so clear that anything right next to it is easy to tell apart, because it's obviously not the same as the prototype. Sounds further from the prototype are more difficult to tell apart because it's more difficult to compare them to the prototype.

I don't know if this is in fact what could be happening, but it's a possibility, especially because the papers I've read about magnets n' anchors in musical experience suggest that a musical prototype can start out as a magnet and then, with ongoing experience and practice, gradually turn into an anchor (think of all the AP folk complaining that a tone is slightly mistuned).

The bottom line, though, is that this is completely uncharted territory... literally! Nobody's ever tried a procedure like APP. It happens to be that my results are (and continue to be, as I've now reached Level 3) exactly coincident-- I mean, seriously, exactly coincident-- with what would be expected with developing categorical perception, and that's encouraging, but it remains to be seen how other folks are going to respond to the game. If your results are different from mine, then there must be a reason, and that reason will help us understand AP even better than before.

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:01 pm

Oh... another reason, by the way, is that ascending sounds are fiendishly difficult to hear compared to descending sounds. This is a documented fact of perception and is separate from categorical perception. I've adjusted the statistics-charting screen to reflect this.

I've also changed the level-up game to help minimize the differences between ascending and descending changes.. previously it played tones as A-B or B-A, and now it plays A-B-A or B-A-B. I've now finished the first Level 3 level-up game, and the change doesn't completely eliminate the ascending/descending difference, but it does seem to lessen the effect. The change also shortens the overall time of the level-up game; whereas previously the tones were 1s each with a 1s pause between (total 3s), the tones are now .5s each with a .5s pause between (total 2.5s).

To you folks currently playing, I'll be sure to make the changed version available to you as soon as you level up; if you switched to this new procedure in the middle of a level then the direct comparisons between game sizes (small, medium, large, jumbo) on that level would be meaningless.

aril
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:33 am
Location: Melrose, Massachusets

leveling up stats on APP

Postby aril » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:45 pm

Hi Chris, I just "leveled up" on another machine at home and was curious to look at my graphs. Again, not like yours, and different from my graphs on the first machine. And again, the slopes of the lines were different between the blue & the rainbow egg but not directly inverse this time. I am a bit unclear about the changes you made and if I should get the new game now, before continuing on either of the first 2 machines, but more specifically, should I just start fresh from the beginning on my 3rd machine & see what the graphs look like after using the next iteration of APP? Thanks-

aruffo
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Postby aruffo » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:05 am

I don't think you would need to start over-- with one exception, the differences in this initial flurry of releases are not in the primary gameplay, but in the level-up procedure.

The one difference in the gameplay is that, for levels 2 and above, the Small and Medium games will present only the two new categories (then the Large and Jumbo games will bring back all the others). If you have started in on Level 2 and you find it's presenting you with all three categories, then you should get the latest.

It shouldn't be necessary to start over, because whatever you've already learned should carry through to higher levels. If the level-up procedure is now better at showing you what you've learned, you can just ignore what it shows you on the Level 1 results screen. (And if it looks the same, then we can discuss your subjective experience and find out if the stats aren't a good measure of what's actually happening to your brain!)

watson
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:01 am

Postby watson » Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:10 am

I started with APA and several other ear training programs (everything else I could get my hands on for my iphone, my computer or my car!) back in late January/ early February when I realized, a year into learning the cello, that improving my ear would be critical to real progress on that instrument. My ear was really pretty bad- I always thought of myself as a musical person..??


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