By Colleen Marasigan
In the 1960s, famous Canadian pianist Glenn Gould had a vision to make music accessible to the masses.
Forty years later, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone’s Moonrider and Pocomosso have brought his dream to life with their innovate and creative free app, Piano Invention.
“[Gould] wanted the audience to be a part of the music and help to shape it so it was meaningful to them again,” says Pablo Joseph, the co-founder of Pocomosso. “That’s why we’ve tag teamed technology and art.” Back in May of 2010, Joseph and the President of Pocomosso, Shaun Elder, had an earlier version of a music-creating app. Their prototype, though, was only accessible on a desktop.
That’s where Jamie Alexander, founder of Moonrider, came in.
Where Pocomosso had the musical knowledge, Moonrider had the platform they wanted to use.
“It was pretty clear in my mind that Shaun was onto something,” says Alexander.
“The goal I’ve always had is to allow people to be creative and broaden people’s exposure to other genres of music they might not usually be exposed to.” Originally the app used loopbased music, but Elder thought it would be more interactive if users could play around with chords.
“We thought there might be a market for it because people in the classical music space have no apps for them,” Elder says.
Joseph adds that just because it’s classical music doesn’t mean it’s solely for a classical audience.
The creators hope it will push users with musical appreciation, or even those who lack musical talent, to explore music and to create it in their own way.
The app uses images (the visuals for Beethoven’s Für Elise consist of candles and a grand piano) that, once touched, will alter the sound of the classical piece.
Users are able to record their mash-ups and then upload them to YouTube.
Currently, the app comes with two free songs. Forty-eight hours after its release into the Apple store last week, the app had over a thousand downloads.
Piano Invention was offi cially unveiled on Monday, Sept. 24, a day before Gould’s birthday, at a concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music that honoured the pianist.
“A lot of these pieces are really famous and some people are adverse to having one note change from the original,” says Alexander.
“It takes a special person to break out of that mould.”