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


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

A TORONTO SYMPHONY Launches “Media Scores” Web App!!

Try it now!

Welcome to A Toronto Symphony – and welcome back to all of you who have been collaborating with us since we launched the project in mid-June. Starting then, we have been asking, “What does Toronto sound like?”, and you have sent us amazing sounds, harmonies and melodies that represent the city to you. We have also engaged in various activities to shape these sounds together to create a symphony for, by, and about Toronto, for premiere by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on March 9, 2013.

Now we are entering the home stretch of completing A Toronto Symphony.  Very exciting indeed, and also a moment when I really need your help. The  TSO and I have just launched a brand new web app – called Media Scores, now available on toronto.media.mit.edu/scores – that will make it easy for you to collaborate in the final stages (now through early January) of shaping the composition. It would be wonderful if you’d give it a try and also pass the word along to family and friends.

Media Scores – designed especially for this project by our team at the MIT Media Lab – will allow you to help complete the Finale section (“Toronto Dances”) of the piece, contribute to the accompaniment “texture” of the work’s virtuosic “City Soaring” movement, and experiment with other sections of the composition to build your own unique blend and personalized musical narrative.

Anyone can participate with most flash-enabled web browsers, using Media Score’s intuitive and fun-to-use interface. No previous skill required, just an open mind, a sense of play, and inquisitive ears. Shape what Toronto sounds like today and visit toronto.media.mit.edu/scores. This piece is shaping up to be even more exciting and surprising than I expected, and your participation over the coming month will truly make it “sing.”

Look forward to “hearing” you soon! So let’s get started…..


Tod Machover, Composer/Collaborator – A Toronto Symphony


Read our first blog post and learn more about A Toronto Symphony here.

Find news stories and press coverage of A Toronto Symphony here.


In the Midst of the Building Process


As Tod and the group discuss the direction of the Toronto project, a question of focus arises on how to encourage user input and creation. With the last month of the year fast approaching, the Toronto group plans to launch a system for members of the Toronto community to take an active role in music design, a system to explore the ways we can incorporate all the forms of music and sound generated over the past months in Toronto. This challenge has proved to be a landmark hurdle in this process because the Toronto group’s vision relies on an unprecedented degree of subject involvement and experimentation. We can’t wait to reveal the games and projects we’re creating for you early this December. Your interest and your imaginations will become the building blocks of a beautiful symphony.



Culture Days – photos

Tod was in Toronto on September 29 to lead a workshop with members of the Toronto Youth Orchestra, as part of Culture Days festivities. Here are some photos of Tod directing the talented young instrumentalists through a collaborative exploration of “sounds of Toronto.” Video and audio coming soon!

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.