The Internet Symphony

And a-one and a-two...

I’m a little late to this party, because apparently the YouTube Symphony Orchestra debuts today at Carnegie Hall, and I’ve missed all the wind-up. It’s an amazing accomplishment of the Internet age, one of those things that justifies all the zany, brainless things the Internet is used for otherwise. Let me see if I understand what’s going on here:

1. YouTube and the London Symphony join forces on a project to “create the world’s first collaborative orchestra” and to demonstrate “the power of music as a shared global language.”

Yes! Because it is on the Internets, someone MUST be wearing a Stormtrooper mask.

2. Then composer Tan Dun pens his peppy Internet Symphony exclusively for this project. YouTube posts a video of a conductor (I believe it’s Tan) conducting the movement called “Eroica” so collaborators can follow the correct tempo and pitch.

True story: My sophomore year at Northwestern, I marched an entire football season with playing trumpet with one hand because my right arm was in a sling. Because THAT'S HOW BAND GEEKS ROLL, PUNKS!

3. People from all over the world go ape submitting videos of themselves performing the piece — every part, on every instrument imagineable. You Tube throws them all together in a glorious mash-up video. Seriously, I think I see one woman playing the singing saw. Another guy looks to be playing mixing bowls. (I love this video, by the way. First of all it’s a brilliant editing job to make so many, many, many of the contest entrants a part of the final product. Also, the sight of all these earnest musicians on their grainy little videos performing their hearts out in their family rooms and bedroom sound studios … well, enthusiasm is addictive, and I find it inspiring. )

What the heck IS that thing? Is it what Upper West Side cops give Julliard students when they pull them over for DUI?

4. YouTube members vote on their favorite audition videos. (Looks like the videos got weeded first, thankfully, before viable candidates could be voted on.)

5. Which brings us to today: Winners gather together in New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.

What a magnificent use of technology. Creation is often an ivory-tower exercise, and performance the domain of a select few. This project opens up possibilities for so many people to be a part of the process, even the ones who don’t perform on stage today.

Congrats, YouTube. I just thought you were a respository for Mentos/Diet Coke videos, but you really proved me wrong today.


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2 responses to “The Internet Symphony

  1. Desert Son


    It’s Rob down in Texas. I have nary a comment about the internet symphony, but just wanted to stop by and say hello.


    I’m a little stunned that in the “who is J. Drew Scott” section you don’t have any space dedicated to your illustrious publishing venture with a certain retail catalog company of venerable repute. Stunned. Stunned, I say!

    Hope all is well. Give Daedelus a hug and scratch your wife under the beak for me. Best to the kids.

    No kings,


    P.S. Quick test of html tags here. Hmmm. No preview function. This could be interesting. Now I’ll have to actually pay attention to what I’m posting . . . .

    • jdrewscott

      Robert, Son of Desert–

      I meant no slight to my brothers-in-arms at Banana Hammockslammer, the nation’s oldest purveyor of the Best, the Biggest and Often Atypical. Catalog writing is a proud part of my pedigree!

      In fact, I think a post on the newest sure-fire item — the Missisipi Destil Co. conversation-starter — would be appropriate.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving me the idea. Now back to the books, you!

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