Practica Musica 4.5 (Windows/Macintosh)
- This award-winning music training software has over 80 theory and ear training activities, focusing on rhythm tapping, interval recognition, chord spelling and more
- Vocalis voice input technology allowing users to sing or play instrumental input into activities, using any USB microphone
- All-new notation tools allow students to write not only melodies, but also chorales and other polyphonic compositions
- Built-in MIDI capabilities mean no more third-party software to deal with -- just plug in an instrument or keyboard and get started
- Greater control over the range of generated melodies -- users can even define chords with a root that is not actually present
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Practica Musica 4.5 is a complete music education package for music theory and ear training! New dialog windows trace the entire history of music for the new student Compatible with Mac OS X
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This software allows up to five students to keep track of their progress. One can choose any lesson to start and may switch among different lessons. The software remembers prior progress and picks up where one left off.
For each exercise, points are awarded for correct responses and deducted for incorrect responses. The exercises become harder with higher scores and easier again as the score drops down because of wrong answers. This progressive instruction is very nice.
I found the accompanying book to be very helpful, as I had no prior theory training.
However, the software has limitations:
The biggest problem is that it requires the user to strictly follow the lesson format. You only get one shot at playing intervals, for example. I like to learn by repeating the item several times before advancing to the next, to reinforce the sound and the relationship with the name. Trying to repeat the last item results in a wrong answer on the next item.
This strict approach also limits exploration and frustrates kids. My kids, ages 10 and 8, don't really like the program and rarely spontaneously use it. My kids really like to learn other stuff on the computer. I would recommend this for kids over the age of 14.
Finally, the lack of keyboard or even MIDI-mediated commands neccessitate constantly moving one's hands from the MIDI keyboard to the mouse, moving the pointer to the right icon and clicking. The mouse should not be necessary to work this program that keyboard oriented.
I did contact tech support for one problem. I sent an email on Sunday afternoon and got a response about an hour later! I thought this was great.
Practica Musica aims at helping you to understand music theory AND provides elements of ear training as well.
This program has been around for many, many years, and amazingly, it has no competition in this two pronged approach (as far as I am aware). There are other programs out there that teach music theory and still others that aim at helping you develop your musical "ear", but if you want to cover both bases with one app., this is it.
And Practica Musica will definitely help you in these areas, provided you work with it on a consistent basis.
The down side to this program is that irregardless of claiming a 'new look' with version 6, the sterile interface has changed very little over the years. This is immediately evident when you compare it to EarMaster (a program that focuses solely on ear training). EarMaster's interface is heads and shoulders above Practica Musica - much more intuitive.
The sound options/MIDI implementation in Practica Musica also pretty much hasn't changed - EarMaster is more flexible and clear cut in this regard.
As far as I can tell, there is still no demo version of Practica Musica, so if money is tight you will want to do your own research before buying.
Bottom line - Objective and content are certainly 5+ star, but Ars Nova needs to move into the 21st century.
Classic piece of software by a company that obviously focuses more on getting deals with schools that writing a quality program.
Also, the top reviewer is obviously a paid review...
I found the software easy to use and I'm not a techie. I haven't tried any of the other music theory software, but my friend uses it to teach music fundamentals at a CC and she told me that it's the best out there. I can believe it.