Features of LenMus Phonascus

Phonascus, from Latin "the teacher of music", is a music education software that you can use to practice your music reading skills, improve your aural recognition abilities, or just learn the fundamental principles of music theory and language. And it includes an score editor, so that you can write your own scores.

LenMus is useful for aural training

Musical dictation is difficult for students. It is practically impossible to do aural training to recognize intervals, chords, scales and tonality without a teacher who plays exercises on piano. LenMus Phonascus is always there to help you. And you don't need to have a piano at home! The following exercises are included:

  • Comparison of intervals.
  • Identification of intervals.
  • Identification of notes.
  • Identification of chords.
  • Identification of scales.
  • Identification of cadences.
  • Identification of tonality.

And the exercises are fully customizable, to allow you to trim the exercise to your study level or to focus on those points in which you are having difficulties. For instance, if you have trouble to distinguish between sixths and sevenths intervals, you can configure the intervals identification exercise to use only these two intervals.

LenMus is useful to practise music theory concepts

LenMus Phonascus allows you to practice specific skills and exercises. The different activities can be customized to meet your needs. Phonascus allows you to work at your own pace, providing interactive feedback until mastery of each concept is achieved. Phonascus includes exercises on:

  • Identifying and building key signatures.
  • Building and spelling intervals.
  • Identifying scales.
  • Identifying chords.
  • Identifying cadences.
  • Music reading: scores composed by the program. Never repeated.
  • Clefs reading

These exercises are also fully customizable, to allow you to focus on those points in which you are having difficulties or to trim the exercise to your study level.

LenMus includes an score editor (only in 4.x series)

The score editor in 4.2 was not yet finished and have some bugs. The included features are operational, and allows to create simple scores, even with several instruments and voices. Nevertheless, the editor is in a preliminary state (beta status) and it is mainly useful deal with simple scores with one voice per staff. Many voices per staff are also supported but facilities to automate layouting task and taking automated decisions, such as automatic voice assignment, automatically setting up stem direction in notes to avoid collisions between stems, and other facilities, are not fully operational and in some cases produce poor results. Also, at current development stage, it is not possible to deal with:

  • lyric lines
  • slurs
  • dynamics, articulations and other symbols
  • cue/grace notes
  • rehearsal marks, coda, segno and related symbols
  • nested tuples
  • figures: lines, boxes, circles, other

The 5.x versions do not yet include the score editor, as it is being rewriten to solve the problems found with the 4.2 version editor.

LenMus supports your language

Software tools should be usable by people in their own native language, so I have done my best to support yours. See available translations. Translating the program is very easy and no programming knowledge is needed. You are welcome to translate it and I will include your translation in the next release. Please see instructions.

LenMus includes interactive books on music

LenMus is not just a collection of exercises. I have developed an architecture for integration between scores, interactive exercises and written text book material. The idea is to allow teachers to write music books so that all exercises are fully integrated into the text. Scores in the text are not just images or pictures but fully interactive operational music scores that you can hear, in whole or in part, by selecting one or more measures.

  • All available exercises can be also embedded in the text of the eBooks, and its customisation is predefined.
  • eBooks are written in XML, with DocBook syntax.
  • LenMus includes a score editor (version 4.2) and will include tools to write eBooks (version 5).

LenMus is free

LenMus is an open project committed to the principles of free education, free access to information, and free software. It has no commercial purpose. So LenMus Phonascus is licensed under the GNU General Public License, meaning you can use it for free and that you have the right to access the source code and modify it if you like.

  • Open source project with GNU GPL license.
  • Using LenMus costs you nothing and you have no obligations.
  • No time is wasted on registration codes, copy protection, advertisements or other overhead.
  • You can access the source code and modify it, if you like.

LenMus is cross-platform

LenMus is a cross-platform project developed in C++. The Windows and Linux versions are available. The code is nearly ready to be compiled and built for Mac OS X. But I do not have a Mac to do the porting. If you would like to contribute by preparing and testing this build you are welcome. Please contact me.

  • Programmed in C++ with wxWidgets.
  • No special hardware requirements. Any not too old PC with a soundcard is adequate.

LenMus has other interesting features

  • Use it in your classroom

    • An option to do exercises in teams is included: two answer counters are displayed and each new problem is assigned to a different team.
  • The Leitner learning methodology is included in some exercises.

    • In other programs exercises were not based on any particular learning methodology. Questions are selected just at random and no student performance data was saved. LenMus Phonascus includes support in some exercises for a spaced repetition learning technique, also known as Leitner method or flashcards method. A database to save user data about exercises and answers has already been added and I have started to modify exercises to include four working modes: 'learning', 'practising', 'exam' and 'quiz'

      • In 'learning' mode the program analyses your answers and schedule questions to systematically covering all the subject and to focus on those questions that are troubling you. This mode is the most systematic one and asked questions are adapted your learning needs, to minimize your study time and optimise your learning rate. Your performance data is saved and the next time you return again to the exercise, the program takes care of asking questions to ensure an optimal learning path. The result is, ideally, a reduction in the amount of time needed to study a subject and the assurance that the subject has been systematically reviewed. This mode is based on the 'spaced repetition' or 'Leitner method'.
      • In 'practising' mode the program uses your performance data, saved in learning mode, to choose questions. It selects questions at random but giving more probability to those that are troubling you. Your performance data in this mode is not saved. This mode is useful when you have finished your daily assignment and you would like to practise more.
      • In 'exam' mode, neither your saved performance data not your answers to previous questions are taken into account to formulate the next question. At any moment, all possible questions have the same probability of being asked. This mode is useful for testing your knowledge before taking an examination, but is less useful for learning.
      • The 'quiz' mode is similar to the 'exam' mode but two answer counters are displayed and questions are accounted in both counters: one in first counter and the next one in the second counter. This mode is useful to work in pairs or in teams at classroom.

Last updated: 2012/11/29