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Bruce Dalby

Author and publisher

My path as a software developer is an unusual one. For one thing it didn’t involve any computer programming coursework. Call me an advanced amateur aspiring toward at least the appearance of competence and rigor. No doubt my work wouldn’t measure up to that of a true professional in terms of elegance and brevity of code—not to mention amount of time spent!—but I’m always pleased with the results at the end of each project.


My career has been as a music educator with software development as a creative work avenue: ten years as a high school band director, 27 as a music education professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and seven as a UNM working retiree. Do the math on that sentence and it’s clear I’m not of the typical demographic for coding work, but I find I can still manage the sometimes mind bending processes, and hope to be providing some benefit to my aging brain as a result. Manipulating the math of music undoubtedly doesn’t compare with programming a National Weather Service supercomputer, or bringing an animated digital character to life for Hollywood, but I do the best I can with the modest tasks I set for myself.


My first software project was for my doctoral dissertation in music education, development and administration of a harmonic intonation discrimination program on the pioneering PLATO system at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. While at UNM two of my projects, Audiation Assistant and Tune Assistant, were published by GIA Publications of Chicago. Both have declined in viability over the years due to the sad demise of the wonderful development platform Director. Tonal Assistant is an update and enhancement of the tonal component of Audiation Assistant on a new platform; Rhythm Assistant (in development) is the rhythm update. And the original Tune Assistant still lives on Windows! See the link in the menu.


The original concept for Audiation Assistant–as endorsed by Edwin E. Gordonwas to provide a computer-based platform for practicing tonal and rhythm patterns in the fashion of teaching techniques pioneered by him and currently found in the field of Music Learning Theory (go to for more information). Tonal Assistant includes drills congruent with that approach, but also branches out to facilitate tonal syllable systems other than "moveable-do with la-based minor" (“do-based everything” and fixed-do) and includes a non-harmonic function based exercise type I call tonal sequences.

I hope you find Tonal Assistant beneficial for use in your music learning and teaching. Click the Contact link if you'd like to be notified of the availability of Rhythm Assistant and mobile versions of Tonal Assistant, or if you have other questions, concerns, or suggestions.

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