Hyperscore software lets anyone compose a masterpiece

Imaged credited to Brad Duns
You know that feeling when you hear your favorite song? You know, the one where you feel all happy inside and the stars aligned all just to give you an intense feeling of satisfaction with the world? OK, maybe this isn’t exactly how you feel when you hear your favorite tune, but you have to admit something happens to you when you hear it. Well, researchers have confirmed what musicians and music aficionados alike have always felt: music determines our moods, strengthens our memories and brings back powerful memories.

Tod Machover, the developer of Hyperscore software, said that music reaches virtually every aspect of cognition. The practical applications of music are fascinating. Cutting-edge music therapy can help Parkinson’s patients walk, enables the autistic to practice their emotions and provides opportunities for stroke victims to regain movement and speech. According to the Los Angeles Times, music is usually the last thing Alzheimer’s patients remember. Often times, music is the last form of communication we have with them.

Machover’s software is a way for even the least musically inclined individuals to create orchestral works of art simply by drawing and painting. The software takes the image and transforms it into a musical score. It is no secret that writing music is a bit complicated and challenging, the idea of notation and acquiring sufficient music skill is daunting.

But with Hyperscore, anyone can make music, even people living with conditions like Autism or CP. By simply creating art, the program takes care of the rest.

Machover and his team of researchers took Hyperscore to a hospital just outside the Boston city-limits to witness its effect on patients with severe physical and mental disabilities. Most of the patients were unable to communicate or used clumsy devices to help them do so; however, with the software they could release their inner Mozart and express themselves through music.

One of those patients was Dan Ellsey. A man in his early thirties living with CP, Ellsey used a clumsy headset to point to letters in order to create words. Communication was a bit awkward, inefficient and he was unable to control his own body movements. With the Hyperscore software, Ellsey was able to create musical pieces with the help of a more refined headset and become someone who could teach others to use the Hyperscore program.

For an individual who had never been more than five miles from where he was born, this musical leadership extinguished his fears of a life cocooned in a hospital. In 2008, he was a TED conference star.

By becoming involved with music it becomes a part of someone, not just something simply listened to. In the words of Machover, “Music … is one of the very best ways we have of showing who we really are,” no matter what.

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