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New Musical Resonance, Via Your Cell Phone


Philadelphia Orchestra

Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and board members have tested the Drexel University system that displays information about an orchestral performance on an iPhone.

Credit: The Philadelphia Orchestra Association

Drexel University researchers have developed software that listens to a live orchestral performance and then displays real-time information describing the relevant music theory and context on an iPhone.

The program works by taking snapshots of the music every third of a second. Each segment of the audio signal is analyzed to determine how much of each of the 12 pitch classes is present. The system must learn a piece of music first by listening to a reference recording, and then, during any subsequent performance of the same music, the software matches the new performance to the reference version using a process called dynamic time-warping. "It's the process of trying to stretch or shrink one audio source into another," says Drexel professor Youngmoo Kim.

The program also includes a map to indicate where the orchestra is in the performance, similar to a map displayed on the screens during a long airplane flight.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer
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