Dr. Bernd BrÃ¼gge of the Technical University of Munich has developed software that will allow anyone to conduct a virtual symphony orchestra. The program was first developed with the aim of letting children become more involved in music-making. It works off of a baton tracked by camera or a Nintendo Wii controller. The conductor's baton, hand, and body movements and even facial expressions are analyzed, and digital audio and video recordings made for the program by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra are made to respond. The orchestra can be manipulated by instrument or as a whole, in volume, speed, and even spatial orientation. Similar projects such as the Digital Baton or the Conductor's Jacket rely more on computer generated sounds, and the PlayStation EyeToy Play 3: Maestro game only captures certain gestures.
First impression: you can finally get the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream exactly the speed you want -- and have an excuse to look completely silly when you wave your arms around listening to your iPod. Second impression: does this mean that we're getting close to the day when anyone can take a digitized recording, manipulate it, and then re-record it and pass it off as their own? It could be a much bigger deal than the whole Joyce Hatto piano recording scandal.