I love Hooktheory, and have been using the site to pretty much daily since, but there are a few issues that make it pretty much unusable for really learning the theory of songs. I realize the entire hook method or whatever you guys call it is in its (relatively) early stages and all under development, but here are a few things that would really help.
1. Display of whole song - I’ve posted about this before, but it’s really the biggest impediment. You can only view about 8 bars at a time. Great… I suppose, if you want to learn only the chorus. Most people, I imagine, probably want to learn the whole song though. We need a way to view it all at once.
2. Multiple octave support on bassline. This one confuses me to no end sometimes when trying to read theorytabs and play songs from them. You can’t tell at all if the chord in the bassline is moving up or down. For instance, a I-IV-VII progression… does that mean I then UP to IV then UP to VII? or maybe I down to IV in the lower octave, then up to VII? Who knows.
For an example, see Snow by the Chili Peppers. The VII chord in the 4th measure is actually the VII just below the initial I. so it goes… I up to VI down to III down to VII. The contour, aka which direction in pitch we move is important. The interval change is a vector unit, not a scalar, as it is treated in hooktheory. The direction matters…
3. Multiple instruments beyond simply melody and bass chord. (In another thread on this board you mentioned you guys are already working on a solution to this. Great news.
4. Unable to zoom out, like in excel or word / Terrible use of screen real estate in the tab reader. Seriously, try looking at the site on a 27" monitor, The navigation on the right that takes you to other songs is enormous, like 1/3 the screen. And I can’t even resize it in the browser, since it’s coded with flash. It’s all so huge and unwisely laid out you can only see about 8 bars of the song. My 27" screen (not to mention projector) is enormous. I like to think we can display more than 8 measures worth of musical information on it.
5. Rhythm is actually harder to read in Hooktheory than normal sheet music… Sometimes it is very difficult to tell if a note is a 1/8 or 1/16 or even 1/4 note. I realize this is indicated by the length of the note in the graph, obviously, but when you have a whole bunch of notes of varying lengths smashed together in one phrase it is far harder to subconsciously process than actual sheet music that indicates the rhythm (note length) by actually varying the physical shape of the note itself on the page. Having that information concisely and accurately related by the note shape also constantly reinforces the notion that the notes length is a sub (or more accurately, directly interacts with) the over rhythm/tempo of the song. (In the same way note pitch interacts directly with the overall song key.)
There are a lot of ways to solve this problem in hooktheory, but I think the easiest is simply to have the left border of the note (which after all indicates the starting point in time of the note change to various types of lines to show note duration. That way you could keep the width of the note showing scheme and also give a little more visual distinction between the notes. Win win.