We’ve always known of a connection between music and the sciences, but one researcher wants to take that a step farther by creating an online chorus.
A senior lecturer at an English university wants to connect singers from across Europe to create “seamless and polished live performances”.
Beyond the actual music, the main problem he’s trying to address with this project is technical.
But to make this possible he will have to address the limitations of existing communications networks. New ‘ultra broadband’ networks will be needed, capable of delivering sound and images with far less delay than services like Internet telephony and video conferencing currently achieve. If there is too much delay, the ‘real time’ interactive experience of singing in a choir will not be achieved.
The voices travelling down the wires will need to be processed and digitised quickly to achieve the required high sound quality. The voices will also need to be accurately merged to give the impression all the singers are together in one concert hall.
His other big challenge is more human. He needs new ways for the conductor to communicate with the singers when he or she can’t see them, as well as for the members of the group to relate to each other.
I’m betting the human problem is harder to solve than the technical ones.
I’ve watched rehearsals of the large semi-professional choir in which my wife sings and sometimes their director has a painfully difficult time getting his point across while standing right in front of the tenors singers.
Of course, if the members are spread all over the web, maybe he wouldn’t have such a hard time getting them to shut up and sing.