Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Music - Know the Score: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Music - Know the Score: Resources

Article excerpt

An orchestra app shows what it's like to play second fiddle - or first.

I was nearly late to pick up my daughter. The reason was a highly addictive and beautifully presented musical app: The Orchestra.

Even calling it an app seems a little misleading. This is more of an experience, which builds on the Philharmonia Orchestra's highly successful interactive sound installations, RE-RITE and Universe of Sound, in a partnership with Touch Press.

The Orchestra features libraries of information about the development of the orchestra, its history and how it works, supported by videos about the orchestral instruments that are presented by the players themselves. You can listen to their sound, view showcases from orchestral pieces and examine the instruments, rotating them from all angles. You can even play sample notes on a virtual keyboard.

The true innovation of the app is in the eight pieces it focuses on. These cover a huge range, from Haydn and Berlioz to Stravinsky, Lutoslawski and the contemporary music of Esa-Pekka Salonen, the project's musical director. As well as the chance to listen to the music, you can watch stunningly crisp video footage of the orchestral sections. The score can be displayed and also viewed in an accessible piano-roll format.

There are numerous commentaries by conductors and musicians, available as audio with subtitles and well-balanced against the music itself. These offer a great insight into how conductors prepare for concert performances and how orchestral musicians view the music. …

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