Getting children to compose music has always been difficult. This is primarily due to the inherent challenge of acquiring sufficient instrumental skill or understanding of notation. With Hyperscore, children can bypass these challenges, expressing their innate musicianship literally in minutes, regardless of their levels of prior music experience.
Hyperscore is built with educators in mind
- Hyperscore facilitates an advanced conversation between the teacher and student about complex compositional concepts, months or years before they would normally be able to conceptualize these issues.
- Hyperscore enables teachers to act as guides and mentors for children as they engage in the process of discovery. Even teachers who are not experts in composing will quickly find they can play a valuable role in helping students discover compositional processes and techniques.
- Children studying various musical styles and techniques can easily put into practice ideas and concepts from other parts of the curriculum in a composing context. Music composed in Hyperscore can form the basis for small or large group performances.
Introductory Video Series
The videos featured on this page serve as a handy introduction and guide to Hyperscore’s many features and functions, and will support educators and students alike to launch into their Hyperscore compositional journeys!
You will find here a brief overview of the workspace format, tools, and sketch windows featured in Hyperscore:
One fun aesthetic feature of Hyperscore to experiment with as you compose is that you can change the look of your workspace using the Theme dropdown menu in the Settings tab:
Everything in Hyperscore can be done via touchscreen or cursor, but Keyboard Shortcuts can be faster for some tasks. Use the info button to view Keyboard Shortcuts. You can download the PDF for a handy reference:
Getting Started with Rhythm
The first step in using your Hyperscore workspace is to create a window – your essential canvas and building block where you can create melody, rhythm, or harmony, depending on the type of window.
Hyperscore features an intuitive grid structure for placing notes and rhythms, and one of its new flexible additions is the ability to work in any time signature. Here’s how:
Before getting into melody and harmony, we’ll start by building rhythm in Hyperscore. Many first-time users enjoy making percussion windows because it’s easy to drop different note values and edit without knowing much about music theory. Even better, almost any percussion pattern is fun to hear!
Of course, you’ll need to know how to play back your windows in order to hear the rhythms (and going forward, the melodies and harmonic textures) you’ve crafted:
As the previous video notes, a color is assigned to each percussion and melody window in the Hyperscore workspace. Don’t worry about this too much for now while you’re composing in a single percussion window – the color assignment will come in handy when starting to work with the Sketch window (which we will dive into shortly)!
As you explore making rhythms in Hyperscore percussion, you may want to speed up or slow down the playback of your compositions. Tempo is incredibly easy to use in Hyperscore with the metronome button that allows you to slide your way from Largo to Prestissimo, and any tempo in between:
If you’d like to start teaching using what you’ve learned so far, here is a module (in powerpoint) that presents how to make a percussion window, choose a workspace theme, understand the note grid, drop notes into the window, add more measures and experiment with note values:
Let’s Make a Melody
If the user has not composed before, some may find that writing a melody is the more challenging aspect of composing. TIP: Starting and ending each sketch window on the center line (Middle C) may help the user to find a combination of notes that sounds more pleasing to them as a beginner. It may help you to understand the melody window grid if you first try something simple like “Hot Cross Buns” and figure out the note placement and duration so that you understand how to manipulate the note grid. Or, you can lay down some random notes, play them and react to what you’re hearing. The fun begins when you understand how to move the pitches where you want them to make the sounds you are looking for. The goal is to create an original melody that helps to tell a personal story. Can you portray a sound (“my cats complaining”) or evoke a mood? Here’s how to get started:
You can also add great variety to the sounds of the notes in your melody windows by selecting what instrument will play the notes in each window:
If you place a note in a percussion or melody window that you later want to delete, users always have the option of either using the undo button, or using the Scissors tool and clicking on the note in question to erase it. The Scissors tool has more advanced uses in the Sketch window as well, which we’ll dive into shortly.
If you’d like to teach using the tools you’ve learned so far, here is a module that presents how to make a melody window, understand the note grid, drop notes into the window, change the note values, add more measures and experiment with note values:
Bringing Together Rhythm and Melody
You may have experienced harmony by singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with staggered beginnings, but harmony can sound even better when multiple rhythm or melody windows are combined together – in Hyperscore, you can do so using the Sketch window:
By the time you start working in a Sketch window, you likely will already have various percussion and melody windows to create multiple motives to choose from when you combine them. To help you keep track of the windows you are working with, you can use the panning and zooming tools:
Now it’s time to dive deeper into how the color assignments that we mentioned earlier work in Hyperscore, and how they can be used to visualize and coordinate melody and rhythm motives as strokes in the Sketch window:
In addition to functioning as an eraser to delete notes in percussion and melody windows, the Scissor tool shines when used in the Sketch window to erase parts of strokes and divide strokes, allowing users to experiment with segments of their melodic and rhythmic motives:
Hyperscore features tools that ensure that users are able to dictate precisely where in musical time they want their notes and strokes to begin in all of their windows. Let’s dive more into alignment principles and how to execute them in Hyperscore:
The Sketch window is not limited to only playing back the notes and rhythms included in your percussion and melody windows. Using dots is a powerful way to introduce novel notes and chords directly into the Sketch window:
One incredible feature of the Sketch Window is the harmony modes buttons. These allow you to dramatically change the sound of your piece by fitting the notes in the piece to the tones of a particular key (“Classical”), to a particular scale (“General”) or to leave the piece exactly as you wrote it (“None”). The program defaults to None so you hear exactly what you are writing as you write it:
An important part of any piece is the contrast of dynamics between lines and sections. Here is how you can implement dynamics in the Sketch window in Hyperscore:
If you’d like to teach the tools of the sketch window, here is a module that presents how to make a sketch window, change your strokes using the scissor tool, alignment, or color, add dots to play specific notes in the instrumentation of the corresponding window, change the harmony mode to different degrees, and flavor your harmony with tempo and dynamics:
Advanced Melody Techniques
Composers with experience may wish to use polyphony in their pieces. Beginners may need to be introduced to polyphony, but it’s often amazing what newbies do that just sounds GOOD to them. The polyphony functionality in Hyperscore can also be a useful tool to construct chords in melody windows:
Recently, one of our long-time users was thrilled to discover that Hyperscore has a feature for composing with tuplets:
Advanced Harmonic Tools
The most unique feature of Hyperscore is the dark blue harmony line running along Middle C in the harmony window. With this line, you can add tension, release and dramatic elements to your composition:
After using the harmony line, you can un-harmonize individual strokes in the harmony window to create solos, or more varied or complex melodies:
Add the polish and shine!
With the introduction of the new Hyperscore application comes a palette of tone colors with many instrument sets that can add incredible variety to your finished piece:
Using the arrow tool, you will be able to highlight and move different sections of your composition in musical time to your liking. This is a tool that is very useful for moving towards more complex and varied compositions. Using the copy and paste feature, you can then create thematic sections that repeat or vary, or create a contrasting section in between, for any type of compositional form:
If you’d like to teach form and tone color using the tools of Hyperscore, here is a module that presents how to change tone colors, how to highlight and move your harmony in time and register, how to copy and paste your harmony, how to add Introductions, Bridges and Codas to your piece, and how to use the harmony line:
Exporting to Midi/Audio
You can use your Hyperscore files in digital audio workstations or standard music notation editors:
After exporting to a standard notation editor, you can make adjustments to make sure the various parts are playable by the assigned instruments. A teacher or more advanced student with experience in orchestration can help less advanced students with this step. This presents a wonderful opportunity for collaboration. For the final step, print it and play it–Hyperscore has it all!