I Learnt The Tetris Theme Using A VR Headset, Calibrated To A Real Piano


You may bear in mind just a few months in the past, Digital Piano launched on SideQuest, utilizing the Oculus Quest’s hand monitoring.  Whereas it was fascinating, it was additionally very buggy and wouldn’t line up with a bodily piano in any respect. Nevertheless, a special app with the same presence, VRtuos, is now obtainable on SideQuest, which lets you sync up a digital piano with an actual piano and be taught piano items inside VR.

VRtuos additionally makes use of hand monitoring, however in contrast to Digital Piano, no sound is made whenever you press a key in VR. The entire level of VRtuos is to sync up and calibrate your in-VR piano to match up with a bodily piano. In idea, this lets you play on an actual piano whereas the VR app teaches you a bit in a synthesia-style show that sees notes fall down onto the keys. The hand monitoring provides you a obscure, however undoubtedly not excellent, indication of the place your fingers are on the keys as you play.

Upon beginning up VRtuos, you’ll be prompted to calibrate your bodily piano with the app, which additionally permits for a variety of various keyboard sizes. As soon as calibrated, the keys on the bodily piano ought to (principally) match up with the digital keys. You’ll be able to then choose a music for the app to run by way of, with a variable pace so you can begin sluggish and work your means up. You’ll be able to load any MIDI file onto the app.

As a take a look at, I attempted to be taught the Tetris theme music utilizing VRtuos. Regardless of enjoying piano for a few years, I had by no means learnt the Tetris theme, so I used to be stepping into blind — or stepping into with a VR headset on, I ought to say. After about 30 minutes, slowly bumping up the pace, I used to be in a position to play the piece simply.

Regardless of some main shortcomings, I used to be shocked at how nicely the software labored and the way simple it was to be taught a easy piece with it. It must be famous that whereas I might efficiently be taught Tetris, something extra advanced or with extra large jumps between keys can be nearly unattainable. The app is basically good, however not nice. That being mentioned, it’s principally let down by parts which are out of its management — if the reliability and pace of the Quest’s controller-free hand monitoring was improved with much less lag and delay (though it’s already very slight), I can think about the app changing into more and more helpful because of improved accuracy. Likewise, the calibration works principally nicely, however the keys nonetheless don’t at all times line up completely. Which means studying large jumps between keys and complicated runs with VRtuos is unrealistic for now.

Another musical options might undoubtedly be added as nicely, resembling an non-compulsory metronome that retains you on the proper tempo — with no suggestions within the app itself, it may be exhausting to not pace up or decelerate. Likewise, it might be nice to have the ability to set notes to show as both sharps or flats — the default for the time being is sharps, which implies items in sure keys like Ab or Gm will look a bit humorous, displaying sharps for notes that must be flats. The keys themselves might additionally mild up as they’re meant to be pressed and launched, which the developer has said is being labored on. Likewise, the developer can be engaged on permitting the app for use completely nearly, with sound, due to this fact not requiring a bodily piano.

Nevertheless, regardless of its shortcomings, VRtuos is extremely cool and galvanizing. Very like a variety of the hand monitoring apps we’ve seen to date, even when it’s not excellent, it’s nonetheless a glimpse right into a future the place the expertise improves and instruments like this turn into extremely helpful and dependable. It’s thrilling and feels considerably forward of its time.

Having performed piano for nearly 20 years, I received’t be switching over to VRtuos as my foremost methodology of studying items simply but. Nevertheless, if enhancements have been made, I can undoubtedly see it changing into helpful sooner or later, particularly for many who are simply starting to play.

VRtuos is out there on the Oculus Quest through sideloading by way of SideQuest. To examine sideloading and SideQuest, take a look at our information right here.