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5 note ratingReview of Alfred's Theory Games




e received a very pleasant surprise in reviewing both the Alfred's Theory Games software packages, Levels 1A, 1B, 2 (in one package) and Levels 3, 4, 5 (another package). Although we have lots of bones of contention with the Alfred Basic Piano Method, the theory games software was fantastic. These software packages are designed to go with the Alfred Basic Piano Library, but those of us who do not use the Alfred Basic Piano Library in their private teaching can still use this software successfully and watch as our students have a great time reinforcing what we've taught them about music theory. Parents will also find that their children will enjoy having their knowledge of musical theory reinforced in such an entertaining way.



Alfred's Theory Games packageAlfred's Theory Games does not present tutorial information. It does offer extremely well-devised games ranging from identifying specific notes on the keyboard to distinguishing v7 chords to solving rhythmical challenges. These games are a wonderful supplement to any beginning piano method. The graphics for all the games are very well designed, not the sometimes clunky or archaic graphics that today's often jaded kids find unacceptable. A MIDI compatible keyboard is not needed in order to play the games.

The games include:

Name That Key: (Levels 1A, 1B, 2) An adorable ladybug appears on different keys of the keyboard on the screen. The user can either click on the buttons near the bottom of the screen to select the name of the key that the ladybug is sitting on; or, if available, use the MIDI keyboard.

Cross the Road: (Levels 1A, 1B, 2 and Levels 3,4,5) the object of the game is to help the frog cross the road safely, avoiding becoming "road pizza" by collision with oncoming traffic. This game stresses correct knowledge of musical terms and symbols. The definition of the term appears at the bottom of the screen, the user then chooses the best name or definition from the list by clicking on it with the mouse. A correct answer will move the frog safely across the street; an incorrect answer will leave him standing still, but will advance the oncoming traffic and Mr. Frog's date with destiny.

Melodic Intervals: (Levels 1A, 1B, 2) our dear ladybug appears again. This time she has brought a friend who we have to move up or down the staff to make the correct intervals. The intervals are described in a box near the bottom right hand side of the screen. The student simply clicks on the arrow buttons on the right side of the screen to move the ladybug up or down to complete the interval. If the user thinks they have found the correct interval, they press the 'click to enter" button. If correctly identified, the interval will be played, if not correctly identified the user can try, try again until it is done correctly.

Note/Chord Name Race: (Levels 1A, 1B, 2 and Levels 3,4,5) Students start your engines! The object of this game is to make the student's race car (the red one) cross the finish line before the computer's race car (the yellow one). Notes or chords appear randomly on the staff in the middle of the screen. The student can either use their MIDI or click on the buttons near the bottom of the screen to select the correct note or chord. A correct answer will move the student's car closer to the finish line, an incorrect answer will move the computer's car closer to the finish line. And the computer gives itself huge advantages when it gets the correct answer.

Counting Game: (Levels 1A, 1B, 2 and Levels 3,4,5) The screen will display a rhythm in the center of the screen, however, this rhythm is missing notes and/or rests. The student clicks on the buttons near the bottom of the screen to select the one note or rest that will complete the specific measure. The time signatures change from level to level, and for some measures there is no ONE correct answer.

Scale Game: (Levels 3,4,5) The student can use their MIDI or mouse to play this game. The student must answer questions displayed about the specific scale on the screen. For example, while a C Major scale is being displayed, the screen will ask the student to identify the third note of the first tetra chord. The student can either play the correct note on their MIDI, or click on the correct button near the bottom of the screen.

Carnival Fun: (Levels 3,4,5) The object of this game is to knock down the clown heads by correctly identifying the harmonic intervals displayed on the screen. The student just clicks on of the buttons near the bottom of the screen to identify the interval. If done correctly, a clown target will get knocked off the board. If done incorrectly, a clown target will remain up.

Invaders : (Levels 3,4,5) The object of this fun game is to protect the city against the invading UFO's. This is a scale game. A question mark will appear below the notes of the scale which is displayed on the screen. The student uses the buttons near the bottom of the screen to choose the correct finger numbers for each note in the scale. If the student does it correctly, the UFO will stay away from the city; if done incorrectly, the UFO will move closer to the city. Again, the computer will give itself some big advantage if the user gets a wrong note.

For the teacher wanting to use these games in their studio computer lab, there is a very well organized Student Record file. These files contain the names of the students, their personal passwords (which is so cool for the kids to have) and their scores. The student records can keep up to 50 students listed, along with their password and scores.

We recommend Alfred's Theory Games to students, parents and teachers alike. Please remember that the student and/or teacher does not have to be using the Alfred Basic Piano Library to successfully use these programs. They can easily enhance any good beginning piano method available, so long as the theory is actually taught by other software or the teacher. Bravo to Rob Wren for writing some fantastic software. We love it!!!!

Alfred's Theory Games Software, Levels 1A, 1B &2 and Levels 3, 4, &5, $49.95 each, Version 1.5 Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., P.O. Box 10003, Van Nuys, CA 91410-0003. WWW: Alfred Publishing. Minimum System Requirements: Windows: Windows software requires an IBM compatible 386 DX (or better) computer with Microsoft Windows 3.1, 4 MB RAM, 6 MB hard-drive space, VGA (or better) monitor, a Windows-compatible sound card or MIDI interface, and a mouse. Mac: Macintosh software requires a Mac Classic (or better) with System 7.0 to System 7.5, a color monitor and a mouse. MIDI sound source is optional
Page created: 1/5/97
Last updated: 01/30/15
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