Have trouble keeping a beat? An app might be able to help.
Steve Reich’s Clapping Music is an educational app based on “Clapping Music,” a 1972 composition written by Reich that consists only of the sounds two people can make by smacking their hands together. The app is part of a research project based at Queen Mary University in the UK investigating whether people can learn musical skills through games.
In the composition “Clapping Music,” one person claps out a rhythm, and the second person later follows suit, shifting the beat ever-so-slightly so that the second person eventually is clapping in unison with the first. The app turns the act of clapping into tapping a phone screen, but the basic rhythm skills necessary are still in play.
Even for professional musicians, “Clapping Music” can be challenging—Steve Reich himself has said that performing the piece makes him nervous every time he plays it. And the game is no different. Playing on the easiest mode possible, I got a score of 0 several times, and the game regularly cut me off after just a few seconds. Then again, I’m not exactly the most rhythmic human around. Which makes me the perfect candidate for a rhythm learning app.
Download it here.