Try it out at https://pianosu.netlify.app/


βœ‰οΈMar 15th Launch🧺pianosu Dev NotesπŸš‰osu! Analysis @February 24, 2021⛸️Eric Jang chat @March 22, 2021πŸŒ’Geoff @March 25, 2021🧻Quan @April 5, 2021🧨Angie @April 6, 2021πŸ›£οΈDev notes @April 11, 2021🌑️Barak @April 22, 2021🎹Peter's notes🌟Producing with Ableton🌟Producing with FL StudioπŸ‘“Peter's Web-Based DAW Explorations🎺Pianosu: InstrumentsπŸ§ͺWeb DAW exploration: Bandlab🎧Web DAW exploration: SoundationπŸ†Peter / Austin @May 7, 2021

Pitch: A web-based virtual instrument AND rhythm game

People can spend hundreds of hours playing rhythm games. Let's turn that into something that creates music too!

  • Teach people how to play music, directly from the browser
  • As you get better, you start competing for fun!
  • Compose songs in-app, and publish for others to play
    • Upload a Youtube URL to get a background track
    • Export to piano sheet music as well
    • Import from staff notation
  • Easily share and upload recordings, integrate with Youtube/Twitch
  • Playable on mobile too?
  • Play collaboratively with friends, like being in a band???
    • Also: self collab, harmonize/layering


1. Virtual Piano

Pretty cool way of playing piano online, on a QWERTY keyboard.

Demo: https://virtualpiano.net/?song-post-14714

Nice Features

  • Purely online, no install needed
  • Really easy to get started
  • Ties into existing muscle memory (QWERTY typing)
  • Crowdsourced? sheet music
  • Ability to record songs
  • Some gamified features (leaderboard, ranking)


  • Doesn't show how to play the tempo!
    • Maybe because they couldn't solve the latency problem online?
  • Music seems to be locked to quarter-notes
  • Tutorial for new players
  • Keyboard shortcuts for restarting
    • Also: going one bar back
  • Easier/harder versions of the same song (like Osu)
  • Collaborative playing
  • Mobile playing

2. osu and osu!mania

The most popular rhythm game in the world, with various game modes including the keyboard-based osu!mania.

Demo: Playing this osu!mania map just feels like playing piano:

Nice features

  • Killer execution, the game just feels fun
    • Super low latency
    • Great VFX and SFX
  • Great community around the game
    • Community creates beatmaps, but also reviews songs, uploads themes, fanart
  • Excellent gamified features (obviously)
    • Scores that correlate to how well you played
    • Replays recorded automatically
    • Leaderboard (mostly you compete against yourself)
    • Social chat


  • Just a rhythm game, not an instrument
    • "Games" need to be difficult, but instruments should be easy
    • "Games" don't produce anything long-term
  • Scoring is more about keeping up combo than playing well
    • Might be better in osu!mania
  • Not that fun to watch streams because the streamer can't talk while playing
    • Not sure how to solve. Maybe would be fun to watch mapping
  • Mobile play (for now)
  • Audience skews young, J-pop
  • Steep learning curve

3. Friday Night Funkin

Web-based DDR clone with a great story and teaching mechanism.


Nice features

  • Plays through the song once so you know what to expect. Nice for newbies!
    • Osu instead uses repeated playthroughs/existing music/sight reading
  • Great resonance: You're repeating it back because it's a RAP BATTLE
    • Also, you get to take breaks (improvement over osu)
    • Also, the song feels collaborative, like singing in rounds
  • Great visuals: Pretty, retro, but also a lot of skins
  • Great audio: This one is maybe needed for rhythm games
  • Great feedback
    • It feels like each avatar is actually singing the notes
    • Combos, Sick/Good/Bad instant feedback
  • Easy/Normal/Hard difficulty and progress through 3 stages


  • Awkward ergonomics
  • Slow initial load (cuz Haxe, I guess)
  • No level editor or beatmap submission β‡’ no user generated content


Risk #1: Unlike most web apps, music is highly sensitive to latency, so scoring accurately may be hard

  • Especially worse with eg bluetooth latency,

Alternative: Instead of building on web, use osu's open source C# framework

  • Pros: Super powerful, lots of latency problems solved, leverage osu community
  • Cons: Have to learn C# and a new framework, not web-native, less creative control

MVP to derisk #1: Reimplement an online piano-like keyboard with a scrolling song (maybe just copy Virtual Piano to see how hard it'd be)

Risk #2: The fun parts of a rhythm game may not map well to creating music with a virtual instrument?

MVP to derisk #2: Hm, just try building it and see?

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