You're The Conductor

An interactive music exhibit for children

What Is It?

    You're The Conductor is an interactive exhibit for children to conduct the famous Boston Pops orchestra. To use it, you simply pick up the custom-designed infrared baton and start conducting. In front of you, you will see and hear the orchestra playing, following your conducting gestures, on a large projection screen. The larger your gestures, the louder they play. The faster you conduct, the faster their tempo becomes.

So What?

    Although it is a real recording of the Boston Pops that you are hearing and seeing (not synthesized MIDI music), you can still control even their tempo while they are playing, like a real conductor - and without the pitch changing. This is called time-stretching. Compare this to a record player where the music changes its pitch as you change the speed. Time-stretching is achieved by applying a Fourier transformation to the audio signal, and retransforming it so that its musical information ("sound") stays the same, but its duration is changed.


    You're The Conductor is the latest in a series of interactive music exhibits designed by members of the group. The Virtual Conductor was an earlier conducting exhibit, but You're The Conductor was built entirely from scratch, designed especially for children, with new baton technology, new gesture recognition engine, and featuring a new, continuous audio time-stretching algorithm that even allows you to pause the orchestra entirely.

Where Is It?

    You're The Conductor is a permanent exhibit in the Children's Museum in Boston. It is part of the Making America's Music special exhibition that opened on June 27, 2003. Following a year in Boston, You're The Conductor will travel around the world as part of this exhibition for five years before returning to Boston.

Who Did It?

In The Press

Where Can I Learn More?

[jan] Jan Borchers [teresa] Teresa Marrin Nakra
Department of Computer Science
ETH Zurich
Founder, Artistic Director
Immersion Music, Inc.

Last modified: Thu Jul 3 18:38:47 CEST 2003