Monday, August 3, 2009

Music: The Next Generation

Scientific American Frontiers on PBS is one of my favorite television shows. Recently I caught an episode that featured innovations in music. Children played "Beat Bugs" which are electronic bug-like instruments designed so that people with no formal musical training can pick them up and just play. I was especially excited about a music composition program called Hyperscore that transfers pictures or visual patterns into sound. At the time the show originally aired it was an open-source program. It's still around, but now you have to pay for it.

My search for Hyperscore led me to MIT's Media Lab website. Two research groups there caught my eye: Music, Mind, and Machine and Opera of the Future. There are several projects that look fascinating: MIT scientists are developing tests to identify early Alzheimer's using music, the creation of a "hyperbow" to analyze bow technique of violinists, and a program that completely visualizes the main aspects of music are just a few that caught my eye.

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