New CrossSong article accepted to JNMR

February 24, 2017

Yesterday, we learned that our article entitled “The CrossSong Puzzle: Developing a logic puzzle for musical thinking” was accepted by the Journal of New Music Research (JNMR). (Submitted July 2016, revised January 2017.)

We introduced the CrossSong Puzzle in a paper presented at the Sound and Music Computing (SMC) conference in 2015. After winning the best paper award, we were invited to extend our work and submit it to JNMR. Our expanded article presents some new optimizations for the grid search algorithm, and the results of a runtime experiment to assess these; also, we present the results of a detailed usability study of the game.

Full text will come later; for now, here is the abstract:

Details: “The CrossSong Puzzle: Developing a logic puzzle for musical thinking.” By Jordan B. L. Smith, Jun Kato, Satoru Fukayama, Graham Percival, and Masataka Goto. In Journal of New Music Research. 2017.

Abstract: There is considerable interest in music-based games and apps. However, in existing games, music generally serves as an accompaniment or as a reward for progress. We set out to design a game where paying attention to the music would be essential to making deductions and solving the puzzle. The result is the CrossSong Puzzle, a novel type of music-based logic puzzle that integrates musical and logical reasoning.

The game presents a player with a grid of tiles, each representing a mash-up of excerpts from two different songs. The goal is to rearrange the tiles so that each row and column plays a continuous musical excerpt.

To create puzzles, we implemented an algorithm to automatically identify a set of song fragments to fill a grid such that each tile contains an acceptable mash-up. We present several optimizations to speed up the search for high-quality grids. We also discuss the iterative design of the game’s interface and present the results of a user evaluation of the final design. Finally, we present some insights learned from the experience which we believe are important to developing music-based puzzle games that are entertaining, feasible, and that challenge one’s ability to think about music.