From Our Archives: Toy Symphony in Dublin

“I can play [the Hyperviolin] and it will sound like a flute or a human voice, yet using the technique of the violin that I have learnt. The possibilities are limitless…And the kids respond to it because it is current. Their imaginations are stimulated, they’re having fun, and they know they are part of something special. That excites me a lot.”

– Joshua Bell, violin virtuoso and “hyperviolinist”

From the Toy Symphony project homepage

On April 9, 2002, Toy Symphony received its World Premiere in Dublin with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Gerhard Markson with guest Hyperviolin soloist Joshua Bell. In the weeks leading up to the concert, Tod Machover’s Media Lab team conducted workshops for the public. In this video, children and adults try out various digital toys and Hyperscore software. Watch:

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Hyperscore in Action: A-to-A Project

One of the core ideas in Hyperscore, the composing software developed by Tod Machover’s team at the M.I.T. Media Lab, is that music is built from “motifs” – small melodies and rhythm patterns – which are assembled into larger musical structures. In this video, Tod coaches a groups of children in Armenia and the U.S. as they work together to create a new piece of music. The kids created a variety of motifs, humming them or wielding the mouse to draw them in Hyperscore. Here we see them start to construct a composition which eventually will be performed by the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra at a gala celebration. (For more information, read From the U.S. to Armenia, Kids Build a Musical Bridge.)

Toy Symphony in Glasgow (2002)

We wanted to share this lovely video footage from our archives. On June 2, 2002, Tod Machover’s Toy Symphony was performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony under the baton of Gerhard Markson. Renowned violinist Joshua Bell played a special “hyperviolin”.  He shared the spotlight with kids playing Beat Bugs and Music Shapers, as well as a children’s chorus.

Visit the Toy Symphony project homepage for more information.