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Rob Whelan

Hi there!

I'm Rob Whelan, the chief developer of
the eMusicTheory website and software.

About eMusicTheory

It started as "Java Music Theory", a few drills online for the Hamilton College music department back in 1997. Now, eMusicTheory (launched as an independent site in 2003) is used every day by thousands of teachers and students all over the world.

The online drills and interactive theory concepts are free to anyone who wants to hone their new skills.

Teachers who want to design customized assignments for their students and track scores and their students' progress can subscribe for a low fee — about 25 cents/month per student.

For anyone who wants to use the drills offline, use MIDI instruments to give answers and save their drill settings, I built the eMusicTheory Standalone software. You can get your copy for 12 bucks.

That's about it! Development continues.

About me

I studied music (and of course music theory) and computer science in college, then launched a career as a software engineer. I've worked on some big projects with lots of developers (even won a Beacon Award from IBM once!). eMusicTheory is a spare-time project that grew gradually to become my main job for a few years.

Currently it's hovering in "stable maintenance mode" while I'm the CTO at a fiery little startup based in Cambridge, UK called Patients Know Best — we give healthcare organizations a secure way to let their patients see their records, and share them as they see fit with other professionals, carers or family. I haven't abandoned eMusicTheory, though — my current plan is to let browser technology catch up a bit (because right now Java applets are out of vogue and hard to support... but current browsers can't yet do what I need to rewrite the drills), then hire a developer and/or take a bit of time off of my other work and start re-writing.

I go through life with my wife (novelist Preeta Samarasan), our lovely daughters Rumika (born in 2009) and Juniali (2012), and Bella the dog. We've lived in a few different parts of the USA, and now we're in a former post office in central France, where we're sort of centrally located to our immediate family members, who live in New York, Portland and Boston in the US, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Geel in Belgium....

Fortunately, I work entirely online, so all I need is an internet connection! eMusicTheory is also still an American venture, regardless of where I am in the world.

For those curious about my musical interests: my focus in college was voice performance (bass) and composition, plus a bit of classical guitar and electronic music. I also played viola for about 7 years through junior high and high school, though those skills are pretty rusty now! Nowadays, music is still a huge part of my everyday life — I always have a guitar nearby, I write little songs for my daughters by the dozen, and when we travel I often come home with a new instrument (oud, sitar, didgeridoo) — but I'm not currently performing or recording. Current favorite genre: Django Reinhardt-style jazz, and (season-permitting) singing Xmas carols in minor keys.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to get in touch.