Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 46

Technology

Tomorrow Today:

Technology
George Litterst, Editor

George Litterst is a nationally known music educator, clinician, author, performer, and music software developer. A classically trained pianist, he is co-author of the intelligent accompaniment software program, Home Concert Xtreme, and the electronic music blackboard program, Classroom Maestro, from TimeWarp Technologies (www.timewarptech.com).

Virtual reality in the piano studio
f you are a Star Trek fan or at least have a passing familiarity with the television series, you may be aware that people still play music and attend concerts in the twenty-fourth century. Given the fact that computers do so much for human beings now and will do even more in the future, it is certainly comforting to know that our descendants will not abandon the personal joy of music making! In the original Star Trek series (TOS), Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott plays the bagpipes and Lieutenant Commander Spock plays the Vulcan lute. In the subsequent series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), Captain Jean-Luc Picard is an expert player of the Ressikan flute, Commander William T. Riker is an excellent trombonist, and the nefarious Q is a trumpeter. Interestingly, the android Data, who is forever in search of his humanity, plays both the oboe and the violin. And it doesn’t stop there. Jadzia Dax, a Trill who serves as Chief Science Officer on Deep Space Nine (DS9), has been known to play Samoan drums, and Deep Space Nine botanist Keiko O’Brien plays the clarinet. Star Trek: Voyager’s (VOY) Ensign Harry Kim also plays the clarinet, as well as the saxophone. Of crucial importance to readers of this magazine, the piano is still a popular instrument in the twenty-fourth century. Notable pianists include Captain Benjamin Sisko (DS9), Counselor Deanna Troi (TNG), Changeling Constable Odo (DS9), and astrometrics expert Seven of Nine (VOY). If you wish to explore this fascinating future of ours in greater detail, I recommend that you start with Musical Instrument—Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki: (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/ Musical_instrument).

I

Interestingly, the holodeck can be programmatically filled with virtual people who walk, talk, and even play musical instruments. Imagine, for example, that you enter the holodeck prepared to practice a piano concerto. With the appropriate programming, the space around you would become a small concert hall. There would be an exquisite piano for you to play, and you would be surrounded by virtual musicians who are waiting for a conductor’s downbeat. It’s regrettable that so few pianists ever get a chance to play with an orchestra. Some of the finest works ever written for piano require the participation of anywhere from ten to seventy additional musicians. If we lived in the twenty-fourth century where we have access to a holodeck, we wouldn’t have this problem!

The virtual music experience in the twenty-first century
If you look around, you’ll notice that a lot of people are working to solve the various technical problems involved in creating a compelling, virtual reality environment. As interesting as these developments may be, some of these efforts may appear to musicians as going in the wrong direction. For example, there are a variety of sophisticated game machines that you can connect to your television, such as Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii. These game machines feature amazing graphics, thundering sound, and loads of interactivity. In other words, they provide immersive experiences. Among the popular games are various music-making scenarios in which you can participate as a virtual musician. The biggest complaint about these music games is that they don’t provide the player with anything that approaches the experience of actual music making. Although the more sophisticated games may offer consumers the opportunity to connect a fake instrument to the game box, the player rarely plays music in a traditional sense. Typically, the player watches for a visual cue on the television and responds with a simulated performance gesture on the fake instrument. If the player responds in time, he may enjoy the thrill of scoring a point
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

The virtual reality experience
One of the most intriguing features of the later Star Trek series is the holodeck. The holodeck is a room that can be programmed to look like another place. Computer-controlled by photons and force fields, this room can become any indoor or outdoor place of your imagination.
46
CLAVIER COMPANION



Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clavier Companion - January/February 2012

Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Contents
Editor's Page: New discoveries
Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Tech Tips
First Looks: What Music Means To Me
New music reviews
CD & DVD reviews
News & Notes
Pupil Saver
Keyboard Kids' Companion
Advertiser Index
Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Clavier Companion - January/February 2012
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Contents
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 2
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Editor's Page: New discoveries
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 5
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Variations: Tackling a twelve-year old's slump
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 7
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Musings: Creative being and the disciplined life
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 9
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - An interview with Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 11
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 12
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 13
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 14
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 15
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 16
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 17
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The story of music on board the RMS Titanic
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 19
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 20
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 21
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 22
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 23
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 24
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 25
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 26
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 27
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 28
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 29
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - The enchanted world of piano fairy tales
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 31
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 32
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 33
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 34
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 35
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Jazz & Pop: The rhythms of jazz: Syncopation
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 37
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Music Reading: Recipes for effective teaching
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 39
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 40
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 41
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Perspectives: Coping with burnout
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 43
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 44
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 45
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Technology: Virtual reality in the piano studio
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Tech Tips
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 48
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 49
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - New music reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 51
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 52
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 53
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - CD & DVD reviews
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 55
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - News & Notes
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Pupil Saver
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 58
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 59
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Keyboard Kids' Companion
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 61
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Advertiser Index
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - 63
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Questions & Answers
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover3
Clavier Companion - January/February 2012 - Cover4
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