A Symphonova Orchestra comprises of a small group of musicians led by a conductor using cutting-edge technology to create the full experience of an expressive symphonic performance anywhere.
How does it work?
A synergistic combination of four (two pairs of) enabling technologies endow Symphonova’s conductor and musicians with power to control and shape in real-time the authentic sound and musical expression of a full-sized Symphony orchestra.
The four technologies are:
For quality of sound:
• Instrumental Loudspeakers• Symphonova Versatile Acoustic System (SVAS)
For live Musical Expression:
• Musician’s Espressivo Module• Symphonist’s Espressivo Module
Let’s break it down first with words and then through few illustrations.
Quality of Sound
If only a handful of musicians play in a symphony orchestra, then all of the remaining parts need to be provided by virtual instruments through loudspeakers. But loudspeakers don’t sound like real acoustic instruments played live by musicians. The Symphonova vision requires authenticity of sound, so how exactly can we emulate and propagate the distinctive sound quality of acoustic instruments when reproducing virtual instruments in live performances?
We use the instrument itself.
Instead of using conventional loudspeakers that are designed to propagate all sounds, we converted string and brass instruments into dedicated, instrument-specific loudspeakers - Instrumental Loudspeakers. For example, violins are converted into loudspeakers that propagate violin sounds, and as it is therefore a violin that reproduces the sound of a violin, the result is the authentic sound of a violin, without compromise.
Strings Instrumental Loudspeakers: Single Section
The excerpt below is a demonstration of the sound of a solo violin and the sound of a Symphonova violin section. The first excerpt is played by a single violinist using no technology. In the second excerpt, the sound of a violin section is created by augmenting the sound of a soloist using Symphonova Instrumental Loudspeakers.
Strings Instrumental Loudspeakers: Full Section
The same principle is used to create the sound of a full string section. In the next excerpts, the same performance is played twice: first with the sound of Symphonova quintet only followed by the sound of Symphonova section using the string Instrumental Loudspeakers.
Brass Instrumental Loudspeakers™
Unlike the different string sections which, in most cases, play in unison, the woodwind and brass sections often play multiple independent lines. In Symphonova brass sections, the soloists play the first parts while the other parts are controlled by the symphonist, and are played through part-specific Brass instruments which were converted into Brass Instrumental Loudspeakers.
Symphonova Versatile Acoustic System™ (SVAS™)
Our vision to bring live performances of great orchestral music everywhere is simply impossible if the acoustics of the intended performance space are inadequate. An excellent acoustic space is indispensable for both the musicians to play their best, and for the audience to fully enjoy a live symphonic performance. There are good reasons why concerts take place in concert halls.The Symphonova’s Versatile Acoustic System provides an un-paralleled experience of immersive acoustic spaciousness comparable to the best concert halls even in small, dry locations or outdoors. Unlike other available solutions, Symphonova’s technology is easy to install and use, extremely robust, highly transportable and relatively inexpensive. The SVAS offers endless new contexts for creating and listening to live performances. For the Symphonova Orchestra, the SVAS ensures and guarantees we can pursue our vision, and perform in a wide range of non-traditional venues.
LIVE MUSICAL EXPRESSION
Expressive musical performance is the result of continuous and simultaneous changes in tone qualities, dynamics, articulation and timing. In an orchestra, the subtlety and flexibility of each musician’s musical expression, especially when it is supplemented with the interaction between musicians and under the baton of the conductor, is staggeringly complex.
The Symphonova vision demands authentic human expression in live performance and it is a core and foundational principle that all virtual instruments must be played by musicians, and in real-time. But with only a handful of musicians, how can all the parts be covered?
Two Symphonova technologies were developed to solve this conundrum.
Musician’s Espressivo Module
To clearly ‘hoist our flag for all to see’, the Symphonova Orchestra does not use pre-recorded parts. The parts of the virtual instruments are not prepared in advance by MIDI score artists through hand, mouse, keyboard or other controls. They are created in the real time of the performance.A proprietary Symphonova algorithm is used to closely monitor musicians’ playing and - in real time - informs the expressive ‘playing’ by the virtual instruments. In other words, regardless of how subtle or extreme the musicians may choose to play, the virtual instruments or entire section they control will perform in a similar (but not exact) manner.
Flexibility in changing timing is crucial in creating the musical experience. The Symphonist (our term for the conductor of a Symphonova Orchestra) wears sensors which provide continuous data that is analysed and processed to control the virtual instruments. Using conventional conducting gestures, the symphonist communicates with the musicians present, while simultaneously exercising full and instantaneous control over the virtual instruments. In this manner, the Symphonist leads and follows as artistically required, but always unifies the timing and expression of both musicians and virtual instruments.