Accessibility April 6, 2020
Pune developer Sandeep Ranade’s app Naadsadhana will make classical music accessible to visually impaired people
Sandeep Ranade, a Pune-based software engineer and Hindustani classical singer has designed an app called NaadSadhana that will make Indian classical music accessible to visually impaired people. This is the first such app that enables people to train themselves in classical music and Sandeep plans to launch the accessible version in a few weeks’ time.
Imagine an app that helps you train yourself in classical music. Naadsadhana, designed by Pune software engineer Sandeep Ranade does that and also helps the singer hit the right notes while singing. It even has a smart swaramandal (auto harp) that is a critical instrument in classical music.
When Mumbai lawyer Amar Jain heard about Naadsadhana immediately reached out to Sandeep, urging him to make it accessible to visually impaired people. A music lover, Amar, who has a visual impairment, is a trained classical singer with a degree from the Bhatkande Musical Institute in Lucknow.
First app to make classical music accessible to visually impaired
“Indian classical music, be it Carnatic or Hindustani, has always been inaccessible to print disabled people”, point out Amar. “When you sing unless you have a teacher to correct you, you don’t know whether you are going the right way. What makes Naadsadhana so unique and special is that the app uses artificial intelligence to assess how you are singing and plays along. It sounds natural and there is no other app like this”.
Sandeep, who is a Hindustani classical vocalist, composer and educator, was receptive to the idea of making Naadsadhana accessible.
Through Naadsadhana I want to create a gurukul for the digital age. Under the traditional gurukul system, students would be with the guru for hours and this meant their notes were corrected consistently. This led to a robust learning system. That system is disappearing quickly. I have always wanted to focus on accessibility and Amar made me realise this is an urgent need. – Sandeep Ranade, Developer, Naadsadhana app
How Naadsadhana app works
Naadsadhana analyses vocal frequencies and AI-based algorithms to provide feedback in realtime. There is also an AI-powered tabla player that automatically adjusts the way the instrument is played. The app is available on iOS as Android does not support some of the features. The tabla feature has been praised by well-known classical musicians like Durga Jasraj and Pandit Niladri Kumar. “I plan to add other features like recording instruments in multi-channels”, adds Sandeep, who has a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and has worked in companies like Google and Microsoft.
The updated accessible version of Naadsadhana will be ready in two weeks’ time and Sandeep’s commitment to making it accessible has impressed Amar. “This shows his commitment to do the right thing”, says Amar, who plans to go live onstage with the app. If Sandeep as the sole developer could show the heart and the initiative to make it accessible, there is nothing to stop big companies with all the resources they have to do the same”.
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