RhythmAce. (software package) (Evaluation)
by Clayton Walnum
Think you're pretty hot with rhythm, eh? Think you absorbed all that tapping and counting they tied to cram into your head back in elementary school? RhythmAce, arhythm tutor designed for students, teachers, and musicians, gives you a chance to prove it. But don't be surprised if you're not as good as you think. RhythmAce truly separates the bebops from the can't-bebops.
Nevertheless, with its long list of options, 12 skill levels, and three drill modes, RhythmAce is appropriate for just about everyone, from novice to professional.
In reading mode, RhythmAce displays a rhythm on the screen using standard musical notation. Your task is to play the rhythm as accurately as possible, by tapping your keyboard, your mouse buttons, or the keys on a MIDI-compatible keyboard. If you can get over 90-percent accuracy on both timing and sustain, you're doing great. In dictation mode, the computer plays a rhythm, and by choosing from a palette of notes and rests, you must reproduce it on the screen. The custom exercises let you create your own rhythm drills.
A menu bar provides access to more options than you can shake a drumstick at. You can set the number of quizzes per drill; the number of measures in each quiz; the notes, rests, and time signatures to include in the drills; and much more. In addition, graphs and reports track your progress on a drill-by-drill basis. The onscreen panel makes it a snap to manipulate the program with your mouse, or you can opt for keyboard control.
By separating rhythm from other musical components such as melody and harmony, RhythmAce lets you refine your timing skills without musical distractions. Because it's fully configurable, the quizzes can be fine-tuned to your experience level or needs, making it possible to focus on virtually any principle of rhythm. With RhythmAce you'll soon be marching to the beat of a different drummer.