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Collaborative Composing

by Cecilia Roudabush Director of Education

Collaborative composing for band, orchestra or choir is something that would seem unfathomable to me if it weren’t for the City Symphonies work of MIT Opera of the Future Professor, Tod Machover. Hopefully, you’ve seen Hyperscore and understand the beauty of its simple design for the individual composer. However, if you are a visionary like Machover, all individuals who lead a musical ensemble would be clamoring to have their musicians compose together with Hyperscore, or as an arrangement of individual’s motives. Following that, the leaders would print the work in traditional notation using the export feature and, finally, perform their work for an adoring audience. What a challenge, and amazing experience, that could be!

If you took piano lessons, band, orchestra and/or choir like I did throughout my school years and into college, it was rare to play contemporary and diverse original works of music. As we learned in a July 2022 NPR online article featuring Dr. Rocque Diaz, Ms. Daria Adams and GSHARP, we should be playing original music from every culture and genre in addition to the Classics. I came across this 2014 Reddit comment thread when searching for a discussion on the benefit of playing the Classics of every genre and era as compared to composing and/or playing original work.

Stick with the Classics? Write original works? Collaboratively Compose?

Under the comment title below, it says “Posted by u/zamboniman06 8 years ago”

“Don’t get me wrong, I like to learn songs whether its tab or someone teaching or my earz (sic), but I get such a thrill creating a tune that it makes me [happy?] more often writing songs than learning songs… if that makes sense. EDIT: discuss.” Astoundingly, this one simple comment from u/zamboniman06 brought a long discussion thread of 135 comments.

To argue the benefit of learning music that’s already been created, JeeBusCrunk wrote, that “Great songwriters like Billy Joel, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder think the Beatles are the most important thing that ever happened to pop music (I tend to agree), and I believe you’re doing a great disservice to yourself as a musician if you don’t truly understand why they feel this way (even if you disagree)”. Anonymous, however, simply stated the opposite point with the simple words, “I don’t really create the songs I write, I hear them”. Sounds like something John, Paul, Ringo, George and Wolfgang would have said! Similarly, many of my students have said that when they use Hyperscore they never really know what they’re going to do until they start composing and like what they’re hearing!

The joy of an original composition

Probably, my favorite Reddit thread commenter was alividlife. This person stated Hyperscore’s philosophy to a T:

“…I’ve noticed in writing my own material, as soon as I take it seriously, and try and write something “awesome”, it’s a struggle of frustration. What has been proving a better way, is to almost be joyful…

It’s just a matter of getting the basic idea.
Verse.
A Hook of some sort.
A chorus.
Then maybe a bridge.

…Keep it simple, and as it becomes refined, work on creating each part as a breathing whole. But ideally stick to the real simple fundamentals of harmony, and simple melody…I think a huge issue with creation in general, all art forms, is that inner-critic…Enjoy yourself, and your audience will appreciate you for it.”

Raise your hand for collaborative composing!

New Harmony Line is looking to emulate the work of Professor Machover with a visionary ensemble leader who is interested in collaborative composing, guiding their musicians to create and perform an original work. Realistically, in today’s work world I wouldn’t know a single ensemble leader who would have time to run the unit then arrange the resulting piece. Thus, we are looking for freelance arrangers as well. Raise your hand if you are the visionary! Raise your hand if you are the arranger of that future collaborative piece! Then contact me, cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org, and we’ll write about your work in the New Harmony Line News blogs to come!

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Phase 1 Begins!

Have you been wondering if Hyperscore is still out there, waiting to allow your students or clients to easily compose music? Elementary and junior high students in Iowa and Kansas will be the first of our Beta testers to begin instruction with the NEW WEB-BASED VERSION of Hyperscore in early September 2021. I am excited to hear what the students think of the program’s tools and what creativity is unleashed! We hope to post student examples and teacher comments as the phases progress. If you are interested in piloting, please contact me (Director of Education) at cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.com. I have a recorded video of the 7.23.21 training and 4 teaching modules that you can personalize or use as is. Let’s make music together!

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Make music with me!

Hello! I am the Director of Education with New Harmony Line. I began this new career in June after retiring from 32 years of teaching General and Adaptive Music in the Iowa City Community School District. I taught K-9 for 13 years and 7-12 my last 18 with my first year as a long-term substitute teacher working with students with Behavior Disorders. My Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa was in Music Education/Music Therapy and I have a Master’s Degree in Music Education specializing in Music Therapy and Behavior Disorders. I hope, with my previous experience, to support you with your students or clients of any age, interest or ability level!

I piloted the first model of Hyperscore in 2003 and have been teaching my students to make music with the software ever since. I was very excited to hear about the web-based program–if you have used Hyperscore before, you will love the updates Chief Technology Officer Peter Torpey has made to freshen the platform and extend it’s educational capabilities while still keeping the user-friendly graphic interface Hyperscore is known for!

Enjoy this website or contact me for information about Hyperscore or being a part of our Fall 2021 web-based Beta Model Pilot Project. You can receive training via Zoom or use our recorded 7/23/21 training. You will also receive 4 modules to introduce the Elements of Music through Hyperscore including Rhythm, Melody, Harmony and Dynamics and Form and Tone Color. Personalize the videos, the language, or the wording for whatever age/population you are working with.

Looking forward to helping you and others make music!

cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org

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Gearing up for Beta Model Pilot!

Hyperscore is BACK! As of today, we have teachers and music makers in Massachusetts, Iowa, Texas, Canada and Italy preparing for the Beta Model Pilot starting in August and into the spring of 2022. Are you interested in receiving the 7/23 videotaped training or attending a Zoom workshop for training? Would you like to receive the modules created to introduce your end-user to Rhythm, Melody, Harmony and Dynamics and Form and Tone Color through Hyperscore? Contact Director of Education, Cecilia Roudabush, for more information:

cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org

I look forward to helping you to make music for yourself and/or with others!

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Hyperscore has starring role at the Toronto Symphony

Saturday evening saw the successful debut of Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony”, described aptly by conductor Peter Oundjian as “the most collaborative piece of music that has ever been written.” Nearly a year in the making, the new work was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony for its New Creations Festival. Scored for a full symphony orchestra, the half-hour-long piece involved thousands of citizens of Toronto who contributed acoustic sample and original compositions. Hundreds of school children composed original music using Hyperscore.

Check out this BBC News video about the project here: Tod Machover: composer’s social media symphony for Toronto.

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Listen Projects

Musical offerings from Toronto kids

Several hundred school children in Toronto have been giving their Hyperscore programs a good workout, composing music about their city for composer Tod Machover’s collaborative “A Toronto Symphony” project.  Some of it may end up in the Machover’s new orchestral work, to be premiered in March 2013 by the Toronto Symphony. Take a listen to some of the kids’ compositions here.

HyperscorePieces-Kids

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Hyperscore enables “Amazing accomplishment”

As we reported previously, Hyperscore is being used by hundreds of school children in Toronto this fall to compose music for Tod Machover’s “A Toronto Symphony” project. How has it worked in practice? We found out last Friday when Tod met with around 300 kids gathered with their teachers on the campus of Toronto’s College Français. There to witness the occasion was Musical Toronto‘s John Terauds. He writes:

Hyperscore offers synthesized audio output of its own, but orchestrated by a real composer and played by the excellent young musicians on stage, these miniature compositions from pint-sized composers sounded remarkably sophisticated.

Here is one example, from Broadlands P.S. student Nebyou. What you see on the projection is the Hyperscore screen. The crazy doodle is the composition. The music is being played by members of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra:

Terauds says, “I have to admit that the ease with which the user becomes a creator worries me, because it feels too easy. Part of me considers this to be a form of pseudo creation, that only the careful application of pencil (and eraser) to notation paper is real creation.”

But the results have convinced him otherwise:

These children, many of whom I’m sure haven’t had any lessons music theory, were truly and fully engaged with the act of creating music.

Isn’t that what we all dream of?

The fact that their work will eventually find itself performed on the stage of Roy Thomson Hall seems almost superfluous after this amazing accomplishment.

Read John Teraud’s full post here: Toronto school children become engaged composers in Toronto Symphony experiment

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News

Hyperscore in Toronto Schools

Hundreds of school kids in Toronto will have a chance to get their hands on Hyperscore and contribute to creating a new work for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The project is the brainchild of composer Tod Machover, who was commissioned by the orchestra to write a new piece to be premiered at the New Creations Festival in March of 2013. Rather than retreat to the solitude of his studio, Machover decided to open up the composing process to the entire city. A group of adventurous and committed school teachers took up the challenge and have developed a most creative and engaging curriculum around Hyperscore. We can’t wait to see what their students come up with!

Here’s the project’s website: A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City

Watch the video:

Empower kids to tell their stories through music. Set their creativity free with your support!

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