Summer fun

We took a breather for a few months. Our meetup had a series of great Winter/Spring events and deserved the summer off.

But lets have a little late summer fun yeah? If you’d like to present at our next event, please send links to Seth via the meetup group with to your working products and we’ll go from there.

Writing down song arrangements


When I just started playing the guitar and began learning my favorite songs from the internet, I was often surprised that what I played sounded like rough versions of what I heard on the records. I found my answer while taking a course in music theory in college. It was all about chord voicings and sometimes about the quality of chords. Carefully chosen voicings could completely transform a song. Sometimes it was because the baseline was smoother. Other times it was because the top notes formed a nice complimenting melody. Occasionally, even the place in the fretboard mattered — a voicing with the exact same notes but played in the middle of the fretboard sounded nicer than one using open strings.

I became very curious about chord voicings. Looking through books and searching online for the right voicing was very time consuming, and even with all that time spent, I often couldn’t find what I wanted. That’s when I decided to write a program that would find the voicings for me. It was a difficult challenge, but at the end, I had an app that gave me the exact voicings that I wanted (ChordMate). And if couldn’t find a precise match, I knew that I didn’t miss anything and just had to find the right compromise.

Then I faced another problem. I’d make a beautiful arrangement, and then I’d forget it in a couple weeks. I turned to tablature, but that required me to spell out every detail, which was very tedious and unnecessary — everything that I wanted to capture besides the chord voicings could be done with a simple recording. So I made another app to help me write down my arrangements without going through extra steps with tablature (Songs). I’ve combined Songs and ChordMate into one app (Songs Pro).

To raise awareness about Songs Pro, my company is giving away 5 promo codes to Music Techsters. We hope you’ll find our app useful and tell your friends and fellow songwriters!

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The codes above are valid until June 5th. They can be redeemed by only one person – so please post a comment when you use a code successfully.

Payin’ it forward

The rules were simple, send us your Soundcloud or Github link and we’ll hook you up with a free ticket. Here’s who won:

1. &
6. &

If you missed it, hope you’ll still attend:


NYU MusEDLab Summer Music Technology & Experience Design Intensive

Designing Technologies and Experiences for Music Making, Learning and Engagement
Technological Trends in Music Education: MPAME-GE 2035 – 3 credits

3-week Intensive!
June 15th to July 2nd – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday
Class: 3-5pm
Open Lab: 5-7pm

In this course students will work individually and in teams in the design of music technologies and/or experiences for music making, learning and engagement. The course will begin with an introduction to emerging trends in music technology and education, especially related to web- and mobile-based musical experiences and principles of making music with new media. Innovations in and applications of music production, musical interaction, technology design, musical experience design, user-centered design & engagement, scaffolded learning, musical metadata, pedagogies of play and making, and music entrepreneurship will also be explored.
Students will identify an audience of end users (e.g., students, fans, friends, adults, community members, professional musicians, etc.) with whom they will collaborate in the design of their technology and/or experience. Students will participate in an iterative design process with their chosen audience, moving at least twice through a prototyping, implementation, and revision cycle of their music technology and/or experience design.
At the end of the intensive, students will present their projects to the class and to an external panel of educators, technology developers, music industry professionals, and funding partners. This panel will provide feedback on each project. Small seed-funding grants may be available to selected students and/or teams to work toward potentially licensing, commercializing or distributing their projects with community and industry partners.
A small number of community spots will be opened for NYC-area high school students and school and community educators. Please contact for more information.

About the Instructor
Dr. S. Alex Ruthmann is Associate Professor of Music Education and Music Technology at NYU Steinhardt where he teaches courses at the intersection of music, education and technology and leads the NYU Music Experience Design Lab (MusEDLab), which researches and develops technologies and experiences in collaboration with community and industry partners.
Since joining the faculty at NYU Steinhardt, Ruthmann has co-developed the Play With Your Music MOOC in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and P2PU. He works collaboratively with students and faculty researchers in the NYU Music and Audio Research Lab on applying basic research in music information retrieval to educational experiences.
He is Past President of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, Co-Editor of the International Journal of Education & the Arts, Associate Editor of the Journal of Music, Technology, and Education, and serves on the advisory board of the British Journal of Music Education. Dr.Ruthmann has been awarded multiple National Science Foundation grants funding research and commercialization activity at the intersection of STEM and the Arts, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Boston-based Music and Youth Initiative and NYC-based Young Composers & Improvisors Workshop.

About the MusEDLab
We research, design and incubate new technologies and experiences for music making, learning and engagement together with industry and community partners.
We design new musical interfaces, interactions, and experiences that promote musical expression, and remove barriers to learning and teaching.
We support NYU students and educators in developing skills as musicians, educators, designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, and scholars.

Artificial Intelligence and Music

Algorithmic Art and Visual Musical-Composition Meetup
When: Thur April 9th, 6:30pm

What are the legal ramifications of artificial intelligence programs creating content?. If you have a quantitative or data science background and you are interested in artificial intelligence creating music, or if you are a VC firm, intellectual property lawyer, musician or a professional in a related field, this group covers bleeding edge machine learning code applied to creative fields. Learn about startups and coders creating content that is passing “musical turing tests” using a new type of data science that could be the foundation of new music recommendation engines or even new B2C “algorithmic music streaming services”

More info:

A Song A Day Review

“Celebrating the world in small, manageable daily chunks.”

In a world increasingly saturated by algorithm-driven music recommendation engines, A Song A Day offers a refreshingly human approach to music discovery. Founded by Shannon Byrne (@ShannnonB), a music enthusiast as passionate about sharing her discoveries as she is about the music itself, the business is made up of a volunteer community of music curators who email subscribers a personalized song every weekday based on users’ individual preferences.

A Song A Day has been growing organically from Shannon’s knack for uncovering new buzz-worthy material. She had long been known among her friends as the go-to for fresh music and luckily for them (and now for us) Shannon likes to share and so she set out to build a platform to post her finds for everyone to hear. Demand for her service became almost instantly apparent – after the website went up, all it took was a single tweet and music fans flocked to – several hundred subscribers in the first hour. In fact, demand was so strong that it was becoming overwhelming for her to handle alone. Thankfully friends came along and offered to help her out with research and recommendations and the group ultimately grew into A Song A Day’s current curator community.

For me, the system works. Like 90% of New Yorkers, I don’t have the bandwidth to seek out new music as much as I would like so I rely on music discovery aids and find special value in A Song A Day’s offering compared to that of others. I do regularly use Pandora and Songza and feel those platforms are effective, but I find they lack the same level of intimacy and community connectedness that A Song A Day brings with one simple tune picked especially for me. Now Shannon does admit that a more automated system is in the works (which is necessary for the business to scale) but at the same time, she completely appreciates the special relationship A Song A Day and its curators have with users – it’s this interaction that differentiates A Song A Day from other related services. All in all, A Song A Day offers an encouraging perspective on the future of peer-to-peer music discovery which it approaches with a healthy balance between personal human experience and technological efficiency.

Watch the demo here:

blog post by Ryan Ziemba