|Developer(s)||Harmony Line, Inc.|
4.5 / June 6, 2012
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
Hyperscore is a computer-assisted music composition program intended to make the creation of music readily accessible to experienced musicians as well as those without any musical training. To accomplish this, the software maps complex musical concepts to intuitive visual representations. Color, shape, and texture are used to convey high-level musical features such as timbre, melodic contour, and harmonic tension.
Hyperscore has received international media attention and awards. It has been featured in numerous news and journal publications, including the New York Times, as well as television programs such as Scientific American Frontiers.
Users of Hyperscore compose music by first creating simple melodies or sequences of notes. A library of predefined elements is also provided. These melodies are assigned unique colors. The user then creates a musical sketch composed of colored lines, where each line instances the notes from the corresponding melody. The contour and position of the line alters the pitch at which notes are played back.
The software can optionally use different classes of automated harmonization to organize the given notes, in order to easily generate more pleasing results. The effects of the harmony algorithms can be controlled by contours in a special line presented throughout the sketch. Modulations and sections of harmonic tension and resolution can be introduced in this manner, adding interest and variation to the music.
Hyperscore was developed by Morwaread Farbood in Tod Machover's Opera of the Future group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Early versions of the software allowed users to generate novel compositions from predefined motives by sketching lines indicating patterns of musical tension.
The application evolved to play a prominent role in the Toy Symphony. During an international tour of this project, children were given the opportunity to compose orchestral pieces using Hyperscore, which were then performed in concert along with other works utilizing traditional and technologically enhanced instruments and approaches.
Hyperscore has since become a commercial product and is currently maintained and developed by Harmony Line, Inc. The software continues to serve a pedagogical role in music education. It has also become a key component of the H-Lounge, an online music and ring tone-oriented social networking community. H-lounge.com is a website dedicated to music makers who can upload mp3's or songs they have created with Hyperscore. However, Hyperscore is no longer free and has a download charge of $79.
- Matthew Mirapaul, "From a Few Colored Lines Come the Sounds of Music," New York Times May 27, 2002.