Musical Surprises

Sima’s Blog Post #1

Have you ever listened to music from the time of the Renaissance? That’s the type of music you hear in Bubbly Primes. An Elizabethan composer, John Dowland, wrote it in the 16th Century. It’s interesting to think that Dowland lived at the same time as William Shakespeare, in fact, Dowland was only one year older than The Bard!

Alex Bozman arranged and performed one of John Dowland’s compositions, named Semper Dowland Semper Dolens, which is Latin for “Always Dowland, Always Dour (moody and sad).” Alex chose it specifically for Bubbly Primes, and it certainly has a soothing kind of sound.  If you happen to know this kind of music, you might be a bit surprised just because it is not at all like the lively tunes you normally hear in games. But, you might be in for a much bigger surprise, if you listen to it a lot while playing the game. I was!

During the development of Bubbly Primes, I had fun testing the very first versions of the game, and I wondered how it would feel to play when it had sound. I immediately liked the popping, clanking and other noises that were added. Then, when the music was almost ready, I listened to it before it was put into the game. Well, it wasn’t anything like what I’d expected. I thought the music would be a lively little ditty since the game was whimsical and playful. Instead, it sounded gentle, classical and serious. I thought it might lull me to sleep the way a lullaby does. Yes, I realized that the music sounded sort of watery, and made me think of the slowly undulating world of seaweed, bubbles, fish and other critters under the sea, the environment of Bubbly Primes. But still, I absolutely couldn’t imagine how it would fit the game.

Finally, the music was embedded into the game, and I played a round while listening. When it ended, I was more than surprised–I was shocked! While listening to the music, my score had more than tripled! Wow!!!

What’s more, for several weeks, every time I played while listening to this music, my score kept improving. Later I tried listening to some other kinds of music, and I tried turning off the music altogether. You guessed it, my score dropped. Interesting, isn’t it. That set me to thinking about music, learning and math.

Check out my next blog post to hear more about the Bubbly Primes music.

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    […] Of course you can also turn the game’s music off and listen to music of your own. It’s worth experimenting with that. Just start playing some music in your iPhone or iPad’s Music app. Press the Home button without stopping the music, and launch Bubbly Primes. The Music app will keep playing it’s music the whole time. See if there are any differences in your scores depending on whether you are listening to music or not, and what music you listen to while playing. Maybe you’ll have the same surprising result I had. […]

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