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Beat Zero

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a drummer? Play Beat Zero, and you can make funky beats and learn the basics of programming at the same time. Use the fewest possible lines of code to solve each rhythmic puzzle. Zero (the robot drummer) will play any beat or fill you tell him to. No previous musical or programming training required!
Category Price Seller Device
Education Free Gabriel Turow iPhone, iPad, iPod

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•Master the loops, splices, sequencing, and data structures common to programming and playing the drumset

•Learn new drum beats and programming concepts with 4+ hours of gameplay in Story Mode.

•Perform at the world's greatest venues with your band Funk Machina.

•Explore how easy it is to generate your own grooves and drum fills in Free Play Mode.

•Prepare yourself to learn Scratch or Javascript.

•This game presents a system where you can be very efficient. For example, if you wanted to write a beat with 30 notes total, in this game you can learn a way to write that beat with 3 or 4 lines of code, rather than manually writing out all 30 notes individually.


•For an analogue twist, play a real drumset along with each game level, and learn the beats as you go.

•Watch Zero drum each beat in 3D from any angle

•Modify the tempo of any groove or fill to observe the drumming animations at slower or faster speeds.

•The way it all works, is that the system reads through your code, it outputs one or more notes to the top of the screen, and Zero then reads those notes and plays them in real-time.


For more discussion of the connection between rhythm and programming, please see a short essay I wrote to explain how this game relates at

If you want to read something more academic on this game, you can see my dissertation, Four Dimensional Thinking: Using Rhythm to Network Domains of Knowledge, published through Columbia Teachers College, available for download at

••••• BACKGROUND •••••

My name is Gabe Turow and I have a doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Videogame Design from Columbia University Teachers College. I am also a professional drummer. I live and perform in New York ( Beat Zero, for me, is a synthesis of my interests and passions: an effort to teach programming through drumming, in a way that is not intimidating.

My intention was to continue the many great ongoing efforts to de-mystify programming, and to show how programming shares a variety of thinking with other subjects, like playing the drumset. For my dissertation, I wrote about how the thinking involved in keeping track of very fast percussive rhythms has a lot to do with how you think through rapidly executing programs.

Briefly, the trick is to see them both as rhythmic systems that occur in time and use time strategically. This means it is often helpful to slow down or speed up these systems in order to understand each accented phrase or function. A person can learn to look for common loops and patterns, and how to summarize them elegantly.

Play my game to see how this works... For more Videos see

For this project I was a one-man operation. I programmed, designed, and implemented everything you see here. I played the instruments on the music tracks and recorded myself analogue, and in midi. The models were created in Cinema 4D, the game was programmed in Unity3D. It was more than 2 years of work to put this all together.

But after all that, I really believe this game demonstrates a new way to think about the relationship between music and programming.

I'd love to hear from you so please contact me through my site with any comments or bug reports, and if you enjoy the game, please write a review on iTunes.

Thanks so much and enjoy!

Gabe Turow Ed.M., Ed.D.
Fourth Dimension Games


Great tutorial

A+ learning tool. Learn quite a bit with music/percussion and programming. I would like more user control i.e. Changing what robot looks like or colors, but overall awesomeness in cool gas A++++

Fun game and great educational tool!

I'm a pianist and music educator, and this game really does a good job of explaining rhythmic concepts within the framework of a fun space adventure! I love the idea of playing in a band and working your way up the chain of venues, from "Dan's Basement" (hah!) to the Fillmore to Carnegie Hall and then all the way to the Moon and Deep Space! Great game and really valuable as a music education aid!!

Awesome learning tool

Ever wonder what goes on in the head of a drummer? Or a programmer? This is terrific learning tool that teaches the rudiments of drumming and programming and their relationship--all with humor and unique graphics. Zero is my hero!

Fun, interactive game

Teaches you two things at once: rhythm and code. Highly recommend!

Addicting to learn

The game is fun and incredibly addicting. The music draws you in and you quickly become immersed in the app!

Perfect for beginner programmers

Really innovative approach for learning both drumming and programming. I have some musical knowledge and it allowed me to grasp the harder programming concepts I wasn’t familiar with. Highly recommend for all ages!

A Fantastic Educational (and Fun!) Program

Turow has created a unique gem of an app that teaches humans of all ages about rhythm and programming. He has drummed up a brilliant idea, that you can really bang away on for hours. Five stars.

Fun, educational and groovy!

This is such a great app for teaching kids coding and music. As a coder/teacher, I'm often disappointed when students fail to see the connection between coding and other arts such as music. Beat Zero is a fun way for students to learn how to code through playing the drums...with an awesome robot! Fantastic app!

Relunctant at First but Freaking Amazing...

I am in my 70th year of technological resistance. I consider setting my remote control to be a major triumph. The only coding I ever dealt with was depicted in the movie "Christmas Story" When Ralphy, with the use of his decoder ring, deciphered "Drink Ovaltine". But, even in my ignorance---This looks pretty freaking amazing. (keep in mind i am keeping this at a pg-13 age appropriate review)

Viewing area obstructed

I would love to try this app but a big black box is obstructing the viewing area. It seems pretty cool from what I am able to see.

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