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Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Classical musicians going digital
Proms orchestra
Classical music training is changing
The classical music students of today are being trained using anything but traditional techniques, as BBC World ClickOnline's David Jamieson has been finding out.
At the Manhattan School of Music, students perfect their art via the internet.

High-speed lines are used to connect them with world class professional soloists and artists in online master classes.

Peak connection speeds are 200,000 times faster than a dialup modem so there is no audio delay.

This is crucial when performing music. So is the sound quality, which is equivalent to that of a CD. And the video clarity is hi-definition TV standard.

This technique has also been used to train conductors.

Digital performance

Elsewhere in the US, another approach is being taken to teaching new leaders of the orchestra.

Conductor
Muscular tension can ruin a performance
At the University of Arizona Digital Conducting Lab, they use black lycra sleeves containing electrodes, which are used to profile tension in the arm muscles as a maestro-in-training conducts.

The performance is monitored by digital camera. Any classical musician will tell you that muscular tension can ruin a good performance.

Reaching excellence in sound demands a graceful, flowing dance with an instrument. It is the same when you are leading an entire orchestra.

The very emblem of music, the written score on the music stand itself, can now be superseded.

An Italian product called Moods provides a digital scrolling score that can be configured by individual players and updated or altered live.

Online collaboration

Even arguably the most conservative of western classical art music, opera, has long been quietly feeling the effect of technology.

There is no excuse for not understanding the libretto at the Royal Opera in London, as it is translated above the stage via computer.

Already, the speed of second generation internet links and grid computing is making new works of art possible.

For the Dancing Beyond Boundaries project, the dancers were based in Denver, Florida, Minnesota and the drummer in Sao Paulo.

Performing music collaboratively online can never be a complete substitute for live performance, and ultimately making good music in any genre still demands talent.

But technology is now offering new ways for that talent to be expressed.

See also:

18 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
01 Oct 01 | Science/Nature
16 Aug 01 | Entertainment
01 Aug 98 | Entertainment
24 Aug 02 | Technology
05 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
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