The Computer Orchestra


The Computer Orchestra is a crowdsourcing platform, created by Simon de Diesbach, Jonas Lacôte, Laura Perrenoud, that allows users to create and conduct their own orchestra.

Users can choose to upload their own music or download samples to integrate into their formation Once the ‘orchestra’ is configured, users can direct it with the movements of their body.

Here’s a demo of the Computer Orchestra:

How The Computer Orchestra Works

A Kinect detects the director’s movements and transmits the data to Processing via the SimpleOpenNI library.

Processing then sends a signal to the corresponding computers via wifi. These then play the samples that are assigned to them and generate a visual derived from the outgoing sound.

In this manner, the ‘musician-screens’ not only send sound back to the director, but also visual feedback.

via computer-orchestra, music of sound

16 thoughts on “The Computer Orchestra

  1. Brand Prestige?

    Suicide nets were installed in Spring 2010 when nine Foxconn workers killed themselves during a three-month time period.

  2. Very interesting concept…. but honestly, it would most likely take a normal mortal ages to achieve the displayed result with the vocal samples we just heard!
    I love the idea, though.

  3. Yea. That was more of a trailer than a demo- designed to impress rather than inform.

    In the small scale, this could be an interesting platform for creating & triggering music on a single computer. For an music education institution, this could provide an activity (and justification) for a lab’s worth of computers– not the students, just the machines.

    On one hand, the dystopian concept of getting the humans out of the equation quickly (i.e., sing your awful whole note and be gone!) is a bit troubling. Music is supposed to bring people together. But perhaps this will be a nice alternative during a viral outbreak.

    On the other hand, we do try to find things for our technology to do. We find things that humans can do really well, and work hard to find ways for computers to do it … less well.

    But all pissiness aside, when this technology is applied to make something truly new, truly wonderful, well that will be an alright thing. Tick … tock…

  4. WTF is this? Looks like a stock sampler distributed across a bunch of laptops, set up so a person can feel important by doing some hand gestures to trigger off pre-scripted musical events. It’s ridiculous in so many ways. It offers nothing sonically. It removes almost all human element. It would be the most expensive sampler ever implemented.

    I appreciate and admire classical music as much as the next person, but these ivory tower academics really need to get out more and gain some perspective of what’s been going on in the music world for the last 30 years.

  5. I saw a very similar idea presented on “Almost Human,” where a young woman is basically grabbing holograms of a score and playing them in real-time, much like one plays a theremin. Its basically a positional controller on several axes at once. This is the current analog, clearly, but its a bit hard to make the connection between the execution and the results. The music was pretty good, but I can get very close to that without an expensive group of Macs. We’re quite some distance away from those gestures coming to be seen as musical standards and when it takes that much gear to apply the method, it automatically puts itself in the category of First World novelty. Its not a bad thing at all, but I’d rather see someone who cooks because they’ve done enough woodshedding. That’s the kind of musician who ups the game by adding those things to pre-existing chops. They seem to really shine when that happens.

      1. No trolling, just look at it: it´s an add for a fu**ed up company. I wonder why art-students do not have better things to do than to serve a multi´s demand for a bit of artistic edge. Okay, let´s agree on this: everyone´s free to do whatever they want, but next time put some punk-rock stickers on that damn logo before you film it, okay?

        1. If you’re going to be the logo nazi – do we have to cover up the logos on our Dells, too, and the logos that are on the back of every synth keyboard ever made?

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