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Piano From Above

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a problem or question not answered on this page, please contact me

  1. What are the system requirements for Piano From Above?
  2. Where's the best place to find MIDI files?
  3. How should I connect my computer to my keyboard?
  4. I want to try hooking Piano From Above up to a projector. Any advice?
  5. Doesn't this already exist as Synthesia?

What are the system requirements for Piano From Above?

It's Windows only for now: XP and higher. As long as your computer was built after 2003, it'll probably run fine.

I may or may not do a Mac and/or iPad release.

Where's the best place to find MIDI files?

For classical pieces, the best place I've found so far is the Classical Piano Midi Page at http://www.piano-midi.de by Bernd Krueger. He has produced a wide range of very high quality sequencings. Almost all of the advanced pieces that come with Piano From Above come from this site.

For beginner and intermediate pieces, try http://www.GMajorMusicTheory.org.

For popular music, your best bet is Google, though it might take some effort to find a high quality transposition. When searching, look for sequencings (as opposed to live recordings).

Another good source for public domain pieces is the Mutopia Project at http://www.mutopiaproject.org. Quality can vary though, since the focus is on sheet music. Several of the pieces that come with Piano From Above come from here.

How should I connect my computer to my keyboard?

For keyboards with a USB output, use that after installing drivers from the manufacturer.

If you don't have a USB output on your keyboard, use the E-MU Xmidi 1x1 - MIDI adapter after installing drivers from E-MU's website. Note that some keyboard manufacturers reverse the "MIDI In" and "MIDI Out" labels on their keyboards so that they read from the perspective of computer. Try switching them if it doesn't work at first.

I want to try hooking Piano From Above up to a projector. Any advice?

Make sure you have tall enough ceilings for the projector you want to buy. You can figure this out using the projector's throw ratio. The lower the better. Be careful though, a lot of pico projector manufacturers don't make the throw ratio easy to find and some give you diagonal/distance instead of horizontal/distance.

The projector I use is 3M's MPro120. It has the lowest throw ratio I could find and is extremely cheap as far as pico projectors go. The main drawback is that it's very dim at only 12 lumens.

I haven't tried it, but 3M just came out with the MP160 which runs at 30 lumens, but is much more expensive.

A far as setup goes, that's up to you. For mine I have the projector attached to the mini-tripod that came with it attached to the arm of a desk lamp attached to a floor lamp. All the connections are made with duct tape and rubber bands... I am not a hardware guy.

Doesn't this already exist as Synthesia?

Yes and no.

Piano From Above attempts to improve upon the concept by allowing for greater configurability, a better user interface, and a better learning mode. For example, with Synthesia, the screen size is fixed, the controls are at the bottom, you can't hide the keyboard, and you can't change the background color. This makes an overhead pico projector near impossible to set up. As far as UI goes, with Piano From Above all the configuration is centralized so you're up and running immediately, whereas with Synthesia you have to go through 4 screens to get to any music!

For the record, I hadn't heard of Synthesia until I was halfway done with version 1! The original idea came from here.

© 2010 Brian Pantano
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