The Usability of Music Theory Software: The Analysis of Twelve-Tone Music as a Case Study

  • Tuukka Ilomäki
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4969)


Computer applications are an everyday tool for music analysts, composers, and music theory students. While these applications are a welcome tool to be used in the classrooms and research labs, their effectiveness could be improved by focusing on their usability.

The usability of a user interface can be evaluated and even measured with respect to the goals of its users. In order to demonstrate the evaluation of a user interface, I present an experiment in which the efficiency of user interfaces is assessed in the context of three scenarios or “use cases.”

Based on the experiment, I discuss some basic principles of usability theory, such as affordances, minimization of navigation, error handling, immediate feedback, and data visibility. The evaluation of these principles suggests some new types of music theory applications.


usability music theory twelve-tone rows 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tuukka Ilomäki
    • 1
  1. 1.Sibelius AcademyFinland

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