Abstract Sam Duffy 28 Nov 2016

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Steve Reich’s Clapping Music App - using a mobile game based application to learn about music engagement and rhythm complexity

Dr Samantha Duffy, Queen Mary University London

Steve Reich’s Clapping Music App is a mobile digital application including a game, exclusive videos, recordings and other content related to the music of Steve Reich and the genre Minimalism, which is free to download from the iTunes Store for Apple devices running iOS 8 and above. The App was developed through an interdisciplinary collaboration between The London Sinfonietta, a world-leading orchestra in the field of new music, Touchpress, developers of apps for Apple iOS devices and the Music Cognition Lab at Queen Mary University of London. There have been over 100,000 downloads worldwide since the launch on 9th July 2015 and the App maintains strong community engagement through social media and extensive media coverage in the press, online and on national radio (BBC Radio 3 and 4):

   “Maddeningly addictive” The New York Times, M. Cooper 2015
   “brilliant – and infuriatingly addictive” The Guardian, T. Service 2015

It was important that the App was a compelling game in it’s own right however the project also had ambitious research aims: to examine whether a game based smartphone app could be used to engage people in a new music genre, and to use a ‘big data’ approach to investigate how we perceive musical rhythmic complexity through the patterns played in the game. Over 45 million rows of gameplay data have been collected and analysed from over 100,000 players worldwide alongside over 6,000 demographic surveys. The App and additional content has also been used to develop an interactive workshop that has been delivered to over 200 children in schools across Greater London. See the Clapping Music App research hub for a blog and research updates: http://cogsci.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/clappingmusicresearch/Home.html.

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