Downloads advent calendar: get Synthesia free today

A Guitar Hero-style piano game that hits all the right notes


The holidays are an expensive time, so we’re bringing you a special treat: a full, free, fun Windows program to download every day until Christmas.

Peek behind our advent calendar's eighth door to find Synthesia – a brilliant little app that works much like Guitar Hero, but for the piano. It's fully customizable, and can be either a fun game or a real training tool.

Select a song and Synthesia will highlight each key you need to hit in order to play it. You can play using your ordinary PC keyboard, or attach a MIDI keyboard if you're interested in learning to play properly (or you have one gathering dust in the garage).

Play it again

Synthesia lets you play with one hand or both, and there are specific options for practicing the melody (with the song pausing until you hit the right note), the rhythm (with the song moving on at a constant speed), or a full recital (one playthrough at full speed). At the end of each attempt you're awarded points for your performance.

The free edition of Synthesia comes with a set of songs of varying difficulty levels – enough to keep you busy throughout the festive season – and you can buy a key to unlock more if mastering the piano is your new year's resolution.

Download here: Synthesia

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Cat is TechRadar's downloads editor. She's been a tech journalist for six years on magazines including PC Plus, Official Windows, PC Format and Windows: Help & Advice (with a brief stint in PR for the nuclear industry in between). If you have a question about software, drop her a line!