May 31, 2004

Patent Awarded for a Virtual Orchestra [11:22 am]

Will this be a perforance? A mechanical reproduction? Something new? An update on the player piano — A Virtual Music Machine

The system’s hardware uses “what basically looks like a normal musical keyboard,” he said, “but is really more like a computer keyboard with different functions for different keys.” The orchestral parts are recorded into the equipment during preparations for a production, and during the live performance, the absent instruments are reproduced in a way that blends them into the tempo and dynamic of the real performers.

The virtual orchestra system divides a performance into two parts, he explained, those that never change, and those could vary.

“What we try to do is determine those aspects of a musical performance that are fixed and not changing,” he said, like the musical notes in a song. “We give those to the computer system.

“However, in a live performance, the singers sing differently every night,” he said. “Ideally, everything that is considered musical or the expressive aspect of the performance, we keep for the performer. One of the most important areas of performance is tempo flexibility, how you speed up and slow down.”

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