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Coding project that allows you “paraphrasing” classical music as you stream it

Coming from both an academic environment and 5 years violin classes at the School of Music, I was particularly interested in reading about Orchestrated Text, a Sheffield based project that uses a combination of HTML 5 and Javascript to load snippets of descriptive text as the music is streamed. The text aims to heighten and deepen the listener’s experience by portraying the imagery space behind the notes of Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The text is based on the Deutsche Grammophon “La Gran Musica” series of CDs and books, whose purpose is to provide the listener with a guided tour for each classical piece and use the textual medium to enhance the listening experience. The project’s creator, Richard Birkin from Sheffield based media company Mudlark, soon stumbled upon one of the main challenges: synchronising each piece of the text with the music while it buffered. He found inspiration from the work of Nick Catalano and Matt Merkle for their Portal 2 site whose code was the main starting point. After getting more and more familiar with timing triggers and animation sequencing/re-sequencing, Birking was ready to present Orchestrated Text to the world of classical music fans, whose reception is already very positive. As the page loads the classical piece, each snippet of the text is queued up and attached to a time and animation instruction. As the track reaches each timing, the browser renders the text according to the animation instruction. I can personally see a bright future for Orchestrated Text, especially for educational purposes. Despite being currently at a prototypical stage, this project is a promising educational tool that combines the richness of both audio and texual media by equipping the listening with a real-time ‘paraphrasing’ facility to flow throughout the piece’s message.

The full Wired article (on which my post is based):

Coding project aims to deepen the experience of streaming classical music (Wired UK).