Guitar players want to improve their skills or simply enjoy playing along with tracks, but they need to know what chords to play.

Riffstation is software that automatically detects the guitar chords on music tracks and displays them. By isolating and, if needed, slowing down the chords using Riffstation, the user can learn to play along with the track.

The technology behind Riffstation has its origins in Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT’s) Audio Research Group. Dan Barry and Dr Mikel Gainza founded the group after they met each other at DIT. Sony licensed technology from the DIT group for their Playstation Singstar game in order to remove the vocal recording directly from digital tracks and render them usable for karaoke.

In 2010 the DIT group spun out a company, Sonic Ladder Ltd, which in 2012 launched Riffstation, a digital application that allows users to import audio and learn basic guitar chords for any song using a suite of

interactive tools.

Its automatic chord recognition had a wide appeal for the guitar community and Riffstation has now been developed for web and mobile platforms. In 2015, guitar giant Fender acquired Sonic Ladder.

DIT Hothouse has supported the DIT researchers behind Sonic Ladder and Riffstation at every step of commercialising the research. When Sony expressed an interest in the technology DIT Hothouse worked on the licensing agreement and has continued to support the Sonic Ladder team as they developed and commercialised Riffstation.

“As researchers and musicians ourselves, we have always wanted the music world to benefit from our research and Tom Flanagan and DIT Hothouse have been our biggest supporters on that. Growing up we had posters of our favourite rock stars on the wall and Fender was the guitar. I bought my first Fender when I was 15 years old. So working with Fender now has an element of childhood dreams come true.” Dan Barry, Vice President, Research and Development at Fender Digital and CEO/Co-Founder of Riffstation."