The Toronto Symphony Orchestra New Creations Festival and the MIT Media Lab present

A Toronto Symphony

Concerto for Composer and City

by Tod Machover and the City of Toronto

Launch #3 – The City Soaring app!

To start off the New Year as musically as possible, we want to share another brand new music app with you. It’s a variant of Media Scores that we introduced last month, and it will allow you to subtly shape the texture, complexity and feel of the “City Soaring” melody from A Toronto Symphony. Designed by MIT Media Lab PhD student Peter Torpey, “City Soaring” has a pretty unusual interface that literally lets you paint the quality of a melody. Grab one of the four “brush” icons in the top right-hand corner of the app window – weight, complexity, texture and intensity – and paint over the line with it. You’ll immediately see the change in color and texture and will hear the changes when you play back the melody from the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen. Use the shift key with the same brushes and you can reduce that same quality. You’ll also notice a set of four curves in the lower half of the screen. Changing the shape of each curve is the same as painting with that quality directly on the line, although the feel is very different: the curves are good for big, overall changes; painting with brushes is better for very delicate and precise changes. Try them both. Continue reading

A guide to the Constellation app (video)

Now I want to show you a brand new app. It’s called Constellation. You’ll be able to experiment with it between now and the beginning of January. It was designed and written by Media Lab graduate student Akito van Troyer. I’ve taken some of the music I’ve composed for A Toronto Symphony, as well as many of the recorded sounds you’ve sent in. Constellation allows us to put those sounds up on the screen and mix them into your own collages, textures and pieces, just by experimenting with moving the mouse and combining these things. I’d love it if you’d go out and try it. Your collages and textures will give me new ideas about how to combine all the musical elements of the piece, and what you do might very well become a part of “A Toronto Symphony”…..which I am composing and collating at this very moment. Continue reading

Check them out: Toronto kids compose!

Hundreds of children from Toronto’s schools responded to our call for original musical compositions about their city. These were composed using Hyperscore, under the skillful mentorship of an extraordinary group of music teachers. We have posted a few here. Give them a listen!

A TORONTO SYMPHONY Launches CONSTELLATION Web App!!

Constellation screen shot

Try it now!

It has been a very exciting week for the A Toronto Symphony project. We launched our Media Scores app and have received dozens of wonderful contributions and comments from many of you. We had a truly wonderful session last week with school kids from around Toronto who shared their exciting Hyperscore compositions created for the project, many of them performed by musicians from the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Today we are delighted to launch a brand new web app that offers a completely different way for you to contribute to the creative process of A Toronto Symphony. CONSTELLATION has been designed especially for A Toronto Symphony by Akito Van Troyer and my team at the MIT Media Lab. Like Media Scores, Constellation lets you take material I have composed for the piece and then Continue reading

Using Hyperscore for “A Toronto Symphony”

Over the summer, a couple dozen Toronto music teachers convened workshops to develop an exciting new music curriculum incorporating Hyperscore, a music composition software that uses a graphical annotation interface enabling anyone to express themselves creatively through music. Here’s Tod Machover explaining how the curriculum is now being taught to several hundred Toronto school kids.

From Tod Machover:

Now that I’ve collected a range of sounds from you all, we’re ready to begin using Hyperscore to create music!

Hyperscore uses lines and color as opposed to typical musical notation to express musical ideas so that people of all ranges of skills and musical training can compose.  Over the past months, we have had the opportunity to work with teachers from the Toronto School District to create curriculum that will encourage students to compose with Hyperscore.  This spans across middle and high school levels, and we’re hoping to connect younger and older students to collaborate on the same pieces.  Younger students can create melodies that older students can combine into compositions and send back to the middle school for reflection and thoughts on improvement.  Eventually, these projects will become part of the Toronto Symphony project.

Don’t worry—if you aren’t a current student, I still want you to be involved.  This is the link to Hyperscore: http://hyperscore.com.  I will be sending out ideas for sections of the final piece or small Hyperscore fragments for you to work on alone and with the other participants of the project so we can reflect together on the best melodies and short compositions for the final piece.  Let’s get started!

Yours, Tod

If you’d like to try your hand at composing with Hyperscore, the company is making the software available to “A Toronto Symphony” participants at a discount. Please email june@harmonylinemusic.com to receive the discount code.

From Glenn Gould to Hip Hop – in photos

Tod Machover was in Toronto this past weekend. On Saturday he gave a presentation and  cello performance at the Glenn Gould Variations symposium at the University of Toronto. Sunday morning found him atop the CN Tower with a group of energetic youngsters from FYI Kids. Here are some photos from Tod’ Facebook. Looking forward to some audio!!

A Toronto Symphony Workshop – Sept. 29

Join Tod Machover on Saturday, September 29th, in the South lobby of Roy Thomson Hall where he’ll be experimenting in creating the sounds of Toronto with musicians from the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. Tod will share his ideas about the beyond-crowd sourced composition and give you a chance to hear the music as it is being created and well before its premiere at the New Creations Festival in March 2013.

This is truly a unique opportunity to create something new that represents what the city of Toronto means to each of us. Details here.

Getting high on music

The CN Tower

This Sunday, September 23, Tod Machover is leading a vocal workshop with a group called FYI Kids at an unusual location – atop the CN Tower! They will take over an event room from 10-Noon. We hear the kids are preparing several a cappella songs to perform. FYI Kids’ founder and President Dwayne Dixon says ”nothing gives me greater joy than to bring the inner-artist out in each child.” What a fantastic partner for A Toronto Symphony!!

The workshop is not open to the general public, but we’ll be posting photos as soon as we get ‘em!!

 

 

The Bicycle Music Festival hops on board!!

We’re delighted to announce that the Toronto Bicycle Music Festival has joined forces with us to create music and recordings for A Toronto Symphony. Scheduled for September 15 this year, the wonderfully quirky festival enlists dozens of musicians and music-lovers to cycle their way from neighborhood to neighborhood, stopping to so bands can perform at various locations. All the electricity is generated by pedal power!! Check out the video:

You can find out more about the festival here. Performers at this year’s festival will include Snowblink, Gentleman Reg, Lemon Bucket Orkestra and Rae Spoon. We hope you can join the fun and help capture some fresh Sounds of Toronto for us!

Sounds of Toronto – Impromptu Music

Toronto Pride Parade

Toronto is renowned for its musical life – a thriving indie scene, classical concerts, musical theater, buskers galore and a cavalcade of street festivals. What impromptu music brightened up your day, or made you stop dead in your tracks and transported you to another place?

Share the music that made an impression on you. Send it via video or audio recording, or describe it in writing using the Comments section. Share your Toronto musical sounds on our Facebook page or SoundcloudDeadline: August 10, 2012 - because we will be incorporating your sounds into an exciting activity that takes place August 11-12 at the ALL CAPS! Island Festival. Contact Rachel McDermott <rachelmc@mit.edu> if you need technical assistance. Thanks!