If you know any kids interested in making music (or maybe you are one yourself – or used to be one several decades ago), you can download a free kid-friendly graphics-based MIDI music “composition” tool from MIT. Windows PC only, I’m afraid, but you Mac guys probably had something better three years ago, right? My pal MC Overdot says he saw it on that Scientific American show on PBS last night, and it looks like a lot of fun.
HyperScore is the principal composition tool of the Toy Symphony project … Designed to introduce children to musical composition and creativity in an intuitive and dynamic way, the “narrative” of a piece is expressed through freehand drawing: a linear gesture that is analyzed to derive its characteristic “feel.” The child then creates or selects individual musical materials, in the form of chords, melodic motives, timbres or sounds-each color coded-which are then annotated along the spine of the narrative line. Finally, the HyperScore system automatically realizes a full composition integrating the specific musical material into the overall formal shape represented by the narrative line.