“Tod Machover may have composed more ambitious music than “Toy Symphony,” but he will never engage in a more important project.” – The Boston Globe
NPR – Visionaries: Tod Machover – “Music is such a powerful personal experience…but it’s usually not a creative relationship…”
Musical Toronto – Toronto school children become engaged composers in Toronto Symphony experiment Music blogger John Terauds writes, “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.
New York Times – ARTS ONLINE; From a Few Colored Lines Come the Sounds of Music “‘There seems to be a deeply embedded sense that you have to learn a lot before you can write music,” [Machover] said. So he set out to create software that would convert expressive gestures — lines, patterns, textures and colors — made on the screen into pleasing and variable sounds. The goal, he said, is to let children have ”the direct experience of translating their own thoughts and feelings into music.”
”Then music becomes a living, personal activity, and not a given which is handed down from experts or from history.”
Technology Review – Toy Symphony Maestro “The group hopes to introduce children to complex and subtle aspects of playing music that usually take years to learn on traditional instruments. Machover is driven by the belief that music has become background noise in most people’s lives. Through the toys, Machover says, he’s “basically trying to say, Look, if you like music, it will be a much more powerful experience if you just get in there and experiment with it, take it apart, put it back together, make it yourself.'”
This Scientific American Frontiers episode hosted by actor Alan Alda features composer Tod Machover and the MIT Media Lab working on the ambitious Toy Symphony project, which gave birth to Hyperscore. Renowned violinist Joshua Bell makes an appearance. (Note: Since this episode aired in the early 2000’s, the free prototype version of Hyperscore is no longer available.)
Complete list of press coverage of “Toy Symphony” project