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Gifts from Becky’s Classroom

Becky Ogilvie set a great example for her students by composing right alongside them as they explored Hyperscore. We will be sharing the student’s work with Parent/Guardian permission. First, let’s enjoy Becky’s offering. She called it “Teacher Model”. We’ll call it “Joy”!

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A Man of Many Talents

In the video posted above, Peter wrote Hyperscore motifs for members of the early Harmony Line staff and paired them, using Perl, with the Avatar images drawn by Facemelter. The first image is M.I.T. student designer Mary Farbood, followed by Bhob Rainey, Facemelter, Richard Resnick, Garry Griffin, Sunny Chang and Henry Kaufman (who all had adorable Avatar names that shall remain unpublished unless I’m given permission to blog them here!). Peter calls this work “a combination of visual art and music in that the music was inspired both by the people and their avatar personae, which were inspired from the people as well”.

Early interests in Music Technology

Peter Torpey, New Harmony Line’s Chief Technology Officer, has been involved with Hyperscore since WAY BACK. Peter grew up interested in choir, the violin and a recorder group. In the mid 90’s, he dabbled with composition, looking especially for a technology program to compose with. In 2003, Peter met some of the students who were working on Hyperscore at a conference. He became a dedicated user of H-Lounge (an online Hyperscore Community) and was well-known to Harmony Line due to the “…over 100 bug reports I submitted”. Not surprisingly, he was invited to do Beta testing for Harmony Line from 2006-2007. He “liked the way Hyperscore thought about the process of composition” and how it used the rules of western harmony.

Media Experience Artist

Tod Machover, Professor of Music and Media, met Peter in 2007 and encouraged him to apply for Machover’s Opera of the Future Group through the M.I.T. Media Lab. Peter received his Doctorate from M.I.T. and now works as an “independent contractor providing services that span the possibilities of integrating technologies into live performance and artistic experience”.  PLEASE check out his amazing work using this link: https://web.media.mit.edu/~patorpey/

Web-based Hyperscore 5

In his spare time over the last 10 years, Peter has been re-writing Hyperscore to be web-based. His goal is to create a stable web platform that evolves and won’t become obsolete as code changes. Starting in December of 2021, he began working on the back end of the web-based version with the future vendor and most looks forward to changing the instrument sets as he sorts through various sound sources. June Kinoshita, Executive Director, and I are constantly amazed at the vision and resources Peter provides for a product we all love. Thank you for sharing your time and talents, C.T.O. Torpey!

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From the Vaults: Hyperscore on Scientific American Frontiers 2003

We are so lucky to have Chief Technology Officer Peter Torpey on the hunt for archived videos, files and articles on the history of Hyperscore. Peter discovered a video of M.I.T. Media Lab student designers Egon Pasztor and Mary Farbood sharing an early version of Hyperscore on Scientific American Frontiers with host Alan Alda in 2003. Mr. Alda seems absolutely delighted with the presentation on the technology. We also hope you’ll be delighted by the joy in this video–thanks Peter!

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Our Favorite Holiday Gift!

Becky Ogilvie, an Iowa City Schools elementary music teacher, gave us the best Christmas and New Year’s gift–a joy-filled video of her talking about her experience of sharing Hyperscore with her in-person and online 5th and 6th grade students! Four of her students chose to share their pieces with Parent/Guardian permission and we will be debuting these pieces over the next couple of weeks. A big THANK YOU to Becky for being a Beta pilot tester, to all of her students for completing the pilot and for those students who were willing to share their work!

Rebecca Ogilvie–Iowa City elementary music teacher and Hyperscore fan
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Hyperscore origins

Take a peek “behind the curtain” at the history of Hyperscore by visiting the Resources page on our website under “Hyperscore: In-depth“. With New Harmony Line’s upcoming launch of Hyperscore as a web-based, user-friendly composition tool, we think it is important to acknowledge the students who wrote the program, Morwaread “Mary” Farbood and Egon Pasztor, who were in the Opera of the Future Group at M.I.T. Media Lab, and Kevin Jennings, a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin. Please enjoy a look back at 2004 when the original Hyperscore creators were profiled in this IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications article.

Here they write: “The fundamental idea of Hyperscore is that anyone can perform two key creative activities without musical training: compose short melodies and describe the large-scale shape of a piece. Providing graphical means to engage in these two activities forms the basis for Hyperscore’s functionality.” This powerful insight by the original creators explains why Hyperscore has enduring appeal and remains unique to this day among music technologies for education.

Currently, Egon is Founding Engineer of Relyance AI. Mary is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of Music Technology at NYU. Kevin is Global Director Talent Development at Study Group, an international education provider.

IEEE is the not-for-profit Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers with the mission of “advancing technology for humanity”.

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Group 3 Beta testers are LAUNCHED!

New Harmony Line announces that Group 3 has started the Beta test model of Hyperscore. Our group includes teachers in Iowa, Canada and Portugal. Our first high school Adaptive Music class is learning to use Hyperscore. I am thrilled to visit them this afternoon as I was their teacher last year before I retired!

Hyperscore Beta testing will continue into the winter and spring. Please let me know if you have any interest in a free subscription with materials and support! Contact me as Director of Education at: cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org.

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Meet the team: Sep Kamvar

Board member Sep Kamvar is a computer scientist, artist, and entrepreneur.  He has been a professor at MIT and Stanford, and a co-founder of Wildflower Schools (a network of Montessori microschools), Mosaic Building Group (an AI-based residential construction company), and Celo (a mobile-based global payments platform for cryptocurrencies).  Sep’s main contributions to computer science have been at the intersection of computer science and mathematics, particularly in the fields of numerical linear algebra, peer-to-peer networks, and information retrieval. 

Sep is the author of three books and over 40 technical publications and patents, and his artwork has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Musem in London, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens among others. Sep received his PhD in scientific computing and computational mathematics from Stanford University and an AB in chemistry from Princeton University. 

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Kickstarter Campaign Success!

What an incredible adventure Kickstarter gave the New Harmony Line team and board these past few weeks! First, we were chosen as a #ProjectWeLoveKickstarter for the program’s “brilliant creativity”. We received daily emails on our goal progress, a big motivator. Finally, to read the email announcing that we had met AND exceeded our goal was the ultimate thrill! Thank you to our backers, those who shared the project with friends and family and those who took the time to watch the videos or check out our sites. We hope we’ll be making music with YOU!!

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Meet the team: Cecilia Roudabush

Cecilia taught General and Adaptive Music K-12 in the Iowa City Community School District for 32 years. She has a master’s degree in music education specializing in music therapy and behavior disorders from the University of Iowa. She was honored by the ICCSD District Parent’s Organization in 2012, received the Achievement in Education Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education in 2014 and was the Iowa City Education Association’s Teacher of the Year in 2017. Cecilia piloted Hyperscore in 2003 and passionately taught the program until 2020.

When the nation went into lockdown in March of 2020, Cecilia reached out to New Harmony Line in desperation. Her music students could no longer share computers in their lab and she wanted to know if Hyperscore was available on the Web. The new version of Hyperscore wasn’t ready at the time, but she began to talk regularly with June and Peter. When Cecilia retired from teaching in the spring of 2021, she took on a new role, as Director of Education for New Harmony Line. She connected with educators to beta-test Hyperscore for the Web and is collecting feedback, evaluating students’ reactions, and using their input to add new features to the software and develop teaching materials. With her long experience teaching with Hyperscore in public schools, she is a great guide and collaborator for educators who wish to introduce Hyperscore to their classrooms.

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Kids build a musical bridge with Hyperscore

From our archives. This story about the 2012 “A to A: A World in Harmony” concert in Yerevan, Armenia, is a testament to the power of Hyperscore to foster powerful collaborations.

The opulent Armenian Opera Theater in the heart of Armenia’s capital Yerevan will reverberate with some truly fresh sounds on the evening of February 25, 2012, as two of Armenia’s elite musical ensembles dig into new pieces composed entirely by children from Armenia and the United States. The concert features the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and DOGMA, one of the country’s most popular rock bands. The event is co-sponsored by the LUYS Education Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to celebrate the embassy’s 20th anniversary.

Despite the composers’ youth – they range in age from 8 to 14 – their work is rich and rewarding to hear, thanks to the boost their musical imaginations received from Hyperscore, a music-creation software developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab by a team led by renowned composer Tod Machover. Hyperscore puts unprecedented composing power into the hands of people who long to express themselves musically, regardless of their formal training. More than that, Hyperscore turns out to be an exceptional tool for collaborative creativity. One of the pieces receiving its world premiere at the Yerevan event was jointly composed by children in Boston and Armenia.

Musical composition is usually imagined to spring from the minds of geniuses toiling in splendid isolation. But for the youngsters visiting the Media Lab earlier this month, the composing process was more like a cyber paintball game. Color-coded splashes of melodies and beats popped up on a large flat-screen monitor as a half-dozen students from the Armenian Sisters’ Academy in Lexington, MA, traded ideas over a Skype connection with their counterparts in a classroom 8,700 kilometers away in Yerevan.

Under Machover’s deft direction, the students launched into creating their new piece by humming melodies and tapping out rhythms, which were notated using Hyperscore. The screen quickly filled up with melodic ideas, or ‘motifs’, and a percussion sequence. The kids then started assembling their composition. “Do you want the piece to start with a big explosion, or something quieter?” Machover asked. Something quiet, the kids agreed. A motif was selected and “drawn” onto the digital canvas. A second pensive motif was introduced, and then it was time to bring in some livelier motifs to wake things up.

“How do you tell a story through music? How could we keep this moving, keep it building?” Machover urged. The kids started piling on layers, made a motif swing high and swoop low, tried out various harmonic configurations… and they were out of time. In one hour, they had put together the first minute of their piece. After a few more sessions, they completed a short but complex and fascinating work which they titled “Frenzy of Friendship”, ready to be orchestrated and sent to the Armenian Phil for its world premiere.

“We usually think of music as belonging to a special elite who have unique powers to create it and share it,” Machover says. “Hearing these exciting new pieces by young people renews my conviction that anyone can create original, valuable music given the right tools, environment and encouragement, and that through music we can build friendships, share individual visions, and enhance life’s meaning.”

To Jacqueline Karaaslanian, Executive Director of the LUYS Education Foundation, this is a perfect example of harnessing technology to spur creativity and collaboration. The foundation was established by Armenia’s President Serjh Sargsyan and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan to transform the nation by raising the quality of education and infusing the country’s youth with a “can do” attitude.

“Hyperscore wakes up the genius within children and instills in them a desire to better understand a whole universe of worlds they had not previously imagined or considered,” Karaaslanian explains. “When children know that their elders and professionals will play their music, they are empowered. This process is beyond encouraging words; it validates children as thinkers and creators.” And that, she says, is vital for any nation that expects to thrive in our rapidly changing and interconnected world.