Speaking of Unique Genres…

In my last blog I introduced a piece that Vidpat wrote. “Underground Dream” showed that Hyperscore could be used as a tool to write Deep House music. Well, of course, if you are a creative person and you have a powerful tool, you are going to dig in and find out what it can do and shape it to be what you need it to be.

Ralph is doing that! We met Ralph at the Texas Music Educator’s Conference where he was working at a national music booth. He came over 3 times to tell us how much he’d enjoyed using the original version of Hyperscore to write microtonal music. CTO Peter couldn’t comprehend how he could even make Hyperscore do that!

Ralph graduated with a Music Theory degree and his personal interest was not the traditional styles I’m used to. I made sure to listen to his music and some examples of microtonal music and discovered that it aligned with some of the new styles I’m liking on YouTube right now like Lofi and Deep House and Reggaeton. Some of his pieces reminded me of the Arabian and Middle Eastern music I found last week. Aren’t we so lucky to have YouTube to widen our perspectives?

“In the Aftermath of a Catastrophic Event” by Ralph Jarzombek

Looking forward to hearing Ralph’s final Hyperscore piece he is tweaking as we prepare to share it through our blog and social media. From basic children’s music to Deep House to Microtonal, Hyperscore can do it all!


Can You Write “Deep House” Music with Hyperscore?

“Since its emergence in 1980s Chicago, house music has spawned many popular subgenres, one of which is deep house music. Deep house tracks combine the pulsing four-on-the-floor signature beat of traditional house music with harmonies and basslines inspired by jazz and funk. Compared to standard house music, deep house is also more likely to feature vocals.” March 25, 2022.

I’ve been reading a book that I was meant to read right now: “Electronic Music School” by Will Kuhn and Ethan Hein (Oxford: ISBN 978-0-19-007664-1 available on Amazon). In Chapter 8 they talk about teaching songwriting and go in-depth on drum tracks. Chapter 9 is about “Outside-the-Box Projects” and details the newer genres of music that students listen to today. I issued a challenge to a Hyperscore user to create a Deep House piece using an example I found on YouTube. You answer the question: “can you write Deep House music with Hyperscore?”. My anwer is a deep YES!!


Songs Heard ‘Round the World

Have you ever wondered what a student in another country would write with the composition software you’ve used in your own classroom in America? I’m not surprised you haven’t, but I HAVE!! Caroll’s students sent pieces from Canada and Odysseas sent a class composition from Greece. Frederico has now joined the ranks with a huge folder of electronic music files for me to go through–thank you for the music from Portugal, Frederico and students, and I can’t wait to get started listening to everything!


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!!


The Happiest Music Teacher in the World!

What a delight to meet so many wonderful people at the at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference 2022 in San Antonio. It’s been almost a week since June and I met Jonathan Ochoa and we are still talking about him! He stopped over to say “hi” and inquire about Hyperscore. Before the conference was over, we’d sat down with him three times to answer questions, write down all of his great ideas and get him set up to start using Hyperscore with an after-school club this week. Not surprising that he wanted to practice using it with students before introducing it in his music room.

Jonathan’s reaction so reminded me of myself piloting the original Hyperscore around 2007. I knew instantly it was what I had needed in my classroom to allow my students to become composers. Before our last moments together, Jonathan agreed we could quote his exclamation, “This is the missing link for composition–for ALL MUSIC!”

June and I agreed Jonathan was so fun and enthusiastic! We expect that the San Angelo Independent School District, and all of his students, also know what a gem he is!


Texas Music Educators Association Conference 2022–the Debut of our Web-based Version!

I am at Day 2 of the TMEA with Executive Director June Kinoshita. Undoubtedly, we are having a blast introducing Hyperscore to piano teachers, band directors, music educators and a very excited 5 year-old! We are also meeting people who remember it from the early days when it was first created. They are thrilled to see it back again as a web-based product! One fan said it is the only graphic interface that he’s found that can adapt to his microtonal composition interests. It is a pleasure to share the creative work of Mary Farbood, Egon Pasztor, Kevin Jennings and Tod Machover from the program itself to Tod’s City Symphonies. Wish us luck as we move into the 21st Century!

Director of Education, Cecilia Roudabush with Executive Director, June Kinoshita

#BlackMusicMatters: Hip-Hop & Social Justice in Canada

As I was preparing to blog this morning about Hyperscore, I came across a beautiful introduction to a movement in Canada on Facebook. Diving into the link, I discovered a civil organization called “MusiCounts” that is Canada’s music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and The JUNO Awards. Since 1997, MusiCounts makes music education inclusive, sustainable, and accessible for youth across Canada by providing musical instruments, equipment, and resources.

In honor of Black History Month, MusiCounts is featuring an educational series of 4 lessons on Hip-Hop. They focus on Canadian rappers like Maestro Fresh Wes and Rascalz but also mention Haviah Mighty and Choclair. Of course, there is information on Canada’s most famous rapper that is known around the world as DRAKE!

Please take a moment to look at this valuable resource. I wish I was in the classroom having my students write hip-hop beats on Hyperscore 5 while studying the history of this enticing and exciting genre around the world! Every month can be Black History Month when you’re talking about music!


5th Grader Composes “The Anthem”

Today, Becky’s classroom offers the gift of “The Anthem” by one of her 5th grade students. It is a perfect example of the pilot requirements! Watch it on our YouTube channel:

Rhythm, Melody, Harmony and Dynamics Requirements

“The Anthem: includes one or more Rhythm Sketch Windows (yellow and orange), one or more Melody Sketch Windows (light blue and dark blue) and a Harmony Sketch Window that combines all of the previous windows. The dark blue window is sophisticated, including 3- to 4-note chord stacks creating polyphony. Typically, students at this age are not yet able to successfully create polyphony. In the Harmony Sketch Window, we see that the student chose the “Classic” button which would adjust any potential dissonance in the chord stacks. I always called that button the “Mozart” button! To their credit, the chord stacks sounded beautiful together–maybe a piano player with some training with chords?!

It does not appear that the student chose to change the default mezzo forte dynamic setting as the lines are all the same thickness (lines that are thin are soft and lines that are wider are louder)–as the composer they would, of course, have that privilege!

Tone Color and Form Requirements

This student composer did a wonderful job of choosing multiple tone colors in this piece. The melodies both use the piano (see the piano icon in the light and dark blue windows). The yellow and orange rhythms feature bass drum, snare, Tom, triangle and woodblock.

Finally, the visual shows a perfect introduction (light blue) followed by a statement of the A theme

and then a B section (which would technically be A1 because they continued the ostinato in the lower notes) and then an exact repeat of A with no coda (optional).

A+ for “The Anthem”!! Thanks for sharing your work with New Harmony Line!


“Ghost Fog” Debut

Some [students] would share that they did not think their creations had a “place”…this gave me the opportunity to talk with them about what I could hear that they could not hear and perhaps why I was hearing it.” – Rebecca Ogilvie, Iowa City Elementary Music Teacher

For the next 2 weeks, I will be sharing the work of 5th and 6th grade students in Becky Ogilvie’s class. I share “Ghost Fog” first for two reasons: 1) it showcases the “settings” that CTO Peter Torpey created so that students had choice over their workspace visual ; and 2) this is the piece that gave Becky the opportunity to have a discussion with her student who felt their music “had no place”.

Becky saves the day

In one of those wonderful ‘teachable moments’, Becky shared with her unsatisfied student that listening to their piece made her think of black and white scary movies with ‘something’ lurking around the corner. Thankfully, this inspired the student to use a different visual setting called “High Contrast” which changed the workspace to black, the sketch windows to white and the notes to neon colors. The name “Ghost Fog” came from the student thinking of scary movies and the visual that the setting created.

The darker settings remind me of my days in the classroom when students wanted to turn Google Doc paper black and write with white letters! To each his own–with 18 choices in Hyperscore! Finally, let’s enjoy “Ghost Fog” as you picture yourself in the theatre seat with your popcorn almost spilling from the fear of what’s to come…

Here are picture examples of the other settings and the 6 NEW ones just uploaded:

“High Contrast” setting

“Classic” setting

“System Preference” setting

“Dark” setting


“Black Light”





“LCD Screen”

New settings and how to access:

The are 7 are BRAND NEW settings including the visual “Cinema” seen at the top of the article. To update your version to include these new settings and some bug fixes, use the buttons in the upper right corner (“i”–choose “update now” then refresh window) and then settings (gear) to change the visual workspace to ANY of the 19 choices.



“Cotton Candy”



“Toy Symphony”

Enjoy this musical gift from Becky’s classroom and the technology updates from Peter Torpey!


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”!