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School of Music professor creates educational video game

First Screen in "Theory Game: The Curse of the Lost Rules."

West Virginia University’s Matthew Heap created a video game to help his students learn music theory.

Heap, assistant professor of composition and theory in WVU’s School of Music, designed and built “Theory Game: The Curse of the Lost Rules." The game, available in the Apple App Store, is made up of mini-games that help reinforce theory skills.

"There are two levels - one aimed at fundamentals and the 

Scene in "Theory Game: The Curse of the Lost Rules."

other at theory levels two and three,” Heap said. “Within each of these big levels are six mini-games. In the fundamentals level, these deal with key signatures, note names, scales, triads and intervals. In level two, there are games to help with secondary dominants/leading tones, pivot chords, mixture chords and augmented sixth chords.” 

The game keeps learning fun, with a variety of puzzles and story-telling built in.

A game in "Theory Game: The Curse of the Lost Rules"

“The mini games themselves range from puzzle games – something akin to Word Cookie – to 2D platformers to 3D racing games,” Heap said. “It's all tied together by a somewhat silly story about Bach being kidnapped. After finishing all the levels, students have the opportunity to fight the final boss."

Heap plans to incorporate the game into his lesson plans for his Written Theory One course.