A Musical Guessing Game?

I don’t know about you, but if I tune into the radio randomly as a piece of classical music is playing, I then like to test myself and see if I can guess the composer of the piece before the announcer returns to give away the crucial information. I’ll maybe even try guessing the name of the piece, if I’m feeling particularly confident. Once or twice, I’ve even gone for a guess as to who the conductor or soloist might be: those ones usually don’t pan out so well, but I’m pretty good with composers and not so bad at the piece-names.

Anyway: I’ve been using Giocoso since June 2021 (and AMP for six months before that) to play all my classical music and thus have built up a ‘listening history’ of some 6000+ recordings in just over 9 months, as you can see from the bottom of my ‘all time graphs’ listening history page. And since Giocoso says I’ve listened to all those pieces of music, I ought to be able to recognise them when I hear selections from them again, right?

So, I’ve thrown together a musical guessing game -called Giocoso-Quiz– which will take your Giocoso listening history and randomly grab a selection of recordings from it. Having picked a recording, it will randomly grab a 30-second slice of music from it, somewhere, and play it to you. You have for as long as it plays to say who the composer of the piece is. If you want to guess the piece itself or its principal artist, you can do that too.

The game isn’t meant to be taken seriously (which is just as well, because it turns out I’m not very good at it!), but is really intended to get you to focus on your listening, so that you hear what makes one composer’s music distinct -and distinctive- from another’s, over time and with lots of practice!

I haven’t written a full manual for the game, but there’s a page dedicated to explaining how to install and run it here.

The short version is that you can choose to be asked any number of questions; and can ask for music extracts to be from 20 to 200 seconds long, but the default is 10 questions featuring 30-second music excerpts. You can also ask for clues to each recording -given in the form of the first two letters of a composer’s first or last name (precisely which name is hinted at is a matter of chance). It looks very much like Giocoso itself -meaning, it’s a text-based game that’s run in a terminal session. Here’s an example of me running it for a couple of questions (with clues!), using the command giocoso-quiz ––dbname=main ––clues:

Notice that you don’t type anything into the program once it’s running. You simply listen to each music sample and call out the answer to yourself (or your friends, if any are present!) and award yourself marks (honestly!) depending on how well your answer matches the one that’s eventually displayed when the audio finally runs out. You press [Enter] to then move on to the next question when you’re ready.

I’ve found it frustrating and entertaining in equal measure, but my standards might be a lot lower than yours! But give it a spin and see how well you really know your own music collection!

Please Also Note: On a completely separate matter, but I’ve encountered another bug with CAO handling the combining of files whose ALBUM tag name has square brackets in it. The bug meant the cuesheet that describes the lengths of each track ‘inside’ the cao’d FLAC file would be produced -but then not be embedded in the finall all-in-one FLAC. I encountered the error when trying to catalogue something called ‘String Quartet [1925]‘: the square brackets stopped the embedding of the cuesheet successfully. That has now been fixed. It’s quite a serious bug, so update as soon as you can, with the command

cao ––checkver

…which should prompt you for your sudo password and install the updated software automatically thereafter.

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