Music theory question type

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.7. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Music theory question type.

Overview

This question type is designed for music theory instruction and supports several exercises for music theory instruction.

Exercises supported:

  • Note writing: The respondent is asked to enter a given note on the staff.
  • Note identification: The response is asked to identify a give note.
  • Keyboard Input: The respondent is asked to select a given key on the piano keyboard.
  • Key signature writing: The respondent is asked to enter a given key signature.
  • Key signature identification: The respondent is asked to identify a given major or minor key signature.
  • Interval writing: The respondent is asked to enter a given interval above or below a given note.
  • Interval identification: The respondent is asked to identify the quality and size of a given interval.
  • Scale writing: The respondent is asked to enter a given scale.
  • Scale identification: The respondent is asked to identify a given scale.
  • Chord quality writing: Given a chord root and quality (e.g. 'G major', 'D minor'), the respondent is asked to enter corresponding chord on the staff.
  • Chord quality identification: The respondent is asked to identify the quality of a given chord (e.g. 'major', 'minor', etc.).
  • Harmonic function writing: The respondent is asked to enter a given harmonic function in a given key (e.g. 'IV in D minor').
  • Harmonic function identification: The respondent is asked to identify the harmonic function of a given chord in a given key.


Installation

Download

Download from the Moodle plugins database==

Requirements

  1. PHP 5: the plug-in was coded with version 5.5.3. It hasn't been tested with earlier versions of PHP.
  2. Javascript is used for the graphical user interface, but the question type is fully functional without it, with the exception of the note writing, note identification and keyboard input exercises.

How to install:

  • Copy the 'musictheory' folder into the following folder:
moodle/question/type
  • Load the "Notifications" page on the Moodle home page - this will create the database tables used by the question type.

Mode of use

When Javascript is enabled, answers are entered and displayed in an HTML5 graphical user interface, using two separate Javascript components (Music Theory GUI and Keyboard Input) packaged as YUI modules. All the exercises above are fully functional without Javascript, except for 1) Note writing, 2) Note identification and 3) Keyboard Input.

Each of the exercises above (except for #3, Keyboard Input) can also be configured so that a specific question is randomly generated upon starting an activity. The randomization can be based on a set of parameters configured when the question is created or edited. For example, it is possible to configure an interval writing question so that it asks for a perfect fifth above a randomly chosen given note. This randomization process, configured during question creation, alleviates the need to create very large question banks, and can be particularly useful for interval and chord/harmonic function questions, given that the number of possible questions for these exercises is very large.

I made a choice to create a framework where the correctness of a given question is automatically computed, without having to enter individual answers during question creation. A framework for adding various grading strategies for each exercise is also in place, and is currently used for the scale writing exercise (currently allowing either an "all-or-nothing" grading strategy, or a "partial grade" approach where each correct note is given partial credit).

History of the plugin

This plugin was developed with the hope of creating a music question type that would support a wide range of music theory exercises, using a single graphical user interface that is flexible enough to support such exercises. It is hoped that it will facilitate further development and Moodle server maintenance.

Maintainer: Eric Brisson

LICENSE

This plugin is released under the GNU GPL License, v3 or later. It also includes three separate utilities:

1) Music Theory GUI (musictheory/yui/src/musictheoryui/js/MusThGUI): An HTML5 component for displaying or interacting with music theory examples and exercises. It was created by Eric Brisson and its source code is available under the MIT License.

1) Keyboard Input (musictheory/yui/src/musictheorykeyboardui/js/KeyboardInput): An HTML5 component for displaying or interacting with a piano keyboard. It was created by Eric Brisson and its source code is available under the MIT License.

3) Music Theory PHP Library (musictheory/lib/MusicTheory): A PHP library which may be useful for any application dealing with music theoretical concepts. It was created by Eric Brisson and its source code is available under the MIT License.

Thanks

Special thanks to Jay Huber for his very significant contributions to the existing standalone Moodle music question types (Music Key Signature, Music Interval and Music Scale), and for inspiring me to develop this new question type.

Many thanks to Ken Graetz, Scott Schradle and colleagues in Winona State University's TLT and IT departments for their support of my Moodle development efforts through the maintenance of our institution's Moodle server.