Friday, October 24, 2008

Bittersweet symphony (updated).

Is there a conducting game for Wii or some other game system? I was listening to Rick Steves in the car last night on the way home, and he was talking about some computer simulation in Vienna where you conduct the orchestra, and I thought: nerds would like to do this on video game systems. But by "nerd" I mean a very particular kind of nerd, obvs. It would be a niche market. I think it would be rad. Of course, there would be no way to get style points for your left hand gesticulations unless some sensor thingy was rigged up. Still, music students and wannabes everywhere could get down with some beat patterns and there could be a tutorial about how to do it properly.

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who thinks this would be pretty fun. But it probably has educational applications, especially when it's so hard to get an actual orchestra together to practice with. When I had to take conducting as an undergrad, we practiced with whatever instruments happened to be in the class. There was a pianist, a couple violins, maybe a clarinet, like three singers doing the viola part or whatever needed filling in, a cello, a flute, and a percussionist. It was pretty sad (though really, the saddest thing was practicing choral conducting with this same group of people singing). A conducting simulation would let you get down with an entire orchestra.

You may have this idea for free, since it likely won't make you any money.

ETA: Well damn. I just got this email from my sister Em:
My friend David reads your blog...I don't know why he couldn't just post the comment himself but I am forwarding it to you now.

"You should let her know Wii Music just came out this week and does exactly what she is proposing:"
Maybe if I used a little thing called Google I could have figured that out myself. The game lets you play 60 instruments and conduct, and has ear training games and all sorts of things. Go Nintendo!


  1. It looks like a fun game, but I think all you can play is old school Nintendo theme tunes? Maybe.

    I haven't looked into it too much specifically because it doesn't come with a plastic guitar and allow me to pretend that I'm Slash.

  2. That's awesome! Looking at it, it seems like it might be a bit limited in scope (designed for non-musicians and all), but I love the idea of being able to practice conducting via video game.

  3. Video gaming is demanding my (reluctant) respect.

  4. Ideally there would be some add-on that would allow you to read from a score and conduct or play whatever you wanted.

    I had another idea yesterday for something that's surely already been invented: a body-heat powered LED suit that you wear while biking, so you look like a glowing alien cruising down a dark street. I'm thinking a very pale bluish light.

  5. Ah! I love that idea. I've often thought about a "suit of lights" for bikers, but it's something like a men's suit covered with little lightbulbs. Either way, there's no reason we can't get a good glow going for night biking.