We’ve seen all kinds of attempts to create collaborative online music studios, but with Shared Piano, Google is doing something a bit different. This is a browser-based virtual piano that can be played by up to 10 people simultaneously, and from anywhere in the world.
The beauty of Shared Piano is its simplicity. Fire it up and you’re presented with an onscreen piano keyboard that can be played by clicking it, using your QWERTY keyboard or plugging in a MIDI keyboard. As well as the basic patch sound there are also drum kit, drum machine, synth, strings, marimba and woodwind sounds.
You can just tinkle away on your own if you wish, but the real fun starts when you send a link off to your friends. They can then play along with you using the same set of sounds, with everyone being able to hear what everyone else is doing.
Shared Piano is free and you don’t need to set up an account or sign in. No names are displayed; instead, different players are represented by animal emojis.
All of which is pretty darn sweet. Obviously, there are limitations - just a few stock sounds and no recording or export options for a start - but this is a really fun and easy way for people to get together remotely and just jam.
It could also have implications for music education. Because notes light up in different colours as they’re played, a student could easily see what their teacher is playing and vice versa. Online duets are possible, too.
Find out more and get started on the Share Piano on the Experiments with Google website.