Finding a Voice: Research Apps

Using apps to bring music-perception research outside the lab.

As part of an AHRC-funded initiative encouraging adult nonsingers to sing (more, and better), Dr Karen Wise of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (UK) and Professor Andrea Halpern of Bucknell University (USA) recruited me to design and develop a pair of apps for the project’s research strand.\n\nThe first (‘experimental’) app is designed to guide participants through imagining musical imagery, but without actually singing or otherwise physically producing sound. The second (‘control’) app is designed to present a similar cognitive task (a pattern-finding puzzle) but with no musical component. The study aims to determine whether this auditory imaging exercise improves singing accuracy.\n\nThe apps are written purely in Swift and feature extensive unit testing, to ensure accuracy of the gathered data. The apps were installed on participants’ iPads via Enterprise Distribution, and the generated data reported and collated with Firebase.\n\nApp code is open-source on Github\n\nPhoto credit: Paul Cochrane