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Is It Just a Sound or Is It Musical?

Songbirds in the trees of Cuzco, Peru = musical! Vacuum = musical?!

For the 18 years I taught junior high General Music, discussion about what constitutes musical sound ended up being a contest between songbirds in the forest and that BIRD that wakes you up 47 minutes before you actually have to get up in the morning. My toddler son found the vacuum cleaner soothing; I found that sound to happily mean “clean!”. My students did not agree that a vacuum was musical because most dreaded that sound and that chore. Whether you prefer the oboe over the flute or the synthesizer to the theremin, we all know that sound being musical can be more of a personal opinion rather than a fact.

As we conducted studies with the Beta version of Hyperscore 5, students consistently expressed a desire for more sound choices. The Beta version had ten melodic choices featuring band and orchestral instruments and eight percussion choices. Requests included mainly electronic musical sounds but there were also sound effects wishes. So, take a guess at what CTO Peter Torpey is working on now?

Peter has been combing the internet for musical sounds, timbres and appropriate visual representations for the large library he hopes to put into place in the final version. June would love to have real songbirds and I’d love to have ocean waves and rain drops–one student was hoping for a car engine revving! Based on the robust sound library in the first commercial version of Hyperscore, Peter’s sound library will be complete, fantastic and visually appealing. We all can’t wait to hear and see it–no pressure, Peter!!

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