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Gamers create classical music in the world’s first computer game orchestra

Is it possible to create classical music with the use of a gamer’s unique skills? That’s what Swedish gaming and tech retailer Webhallen set out to explore in the experiment “Webhallen Orchestra”. In the world’s first classical music piece, created to be performed by gamers, Webhallen creates a computer game where every action that each individual player makes creates a tone or sequence in a melody. The piece was performed at the Oscar Theatre in Stockholm, where the participating gamers formed an orchestra under the direction of the composer behind the piece, Max Kiusalaas.

In this experiment, the game becomes the instrument and the gamers our musicians. A classically educated musician has incredible hand to eye coordination, so it was interesting to see whether a gamer could measure up to that, says Max Kiusalaas, conductor and composer in Webhallen Orchestra.

The piece was performed on PlayStation 5, Xbox X, PC, laptops, RetroFlag NESPi 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game is built on Unreal Engine. Each platform equaled an instrument group and each action a tone in the music piece.

We know that gamers have fast reaction abilities. Still, there are a lot of prejudices about gaming being something for children or a waste of time. By putting gaming in a traditionally “high culture” setting, we were able to show that good gamers are like good musicians – creators who spent a huge amount of time and energy towards becoming the technically most skilled in their genre. As with musicians, there’s pride in showing off your abilities in gaming. That’s something we want to highlight and endorse, says Filippa Modig, press officer at Webhallen.

Together, the 23 participants created a one minute piece of music. More information about the campaign, as well as video from the performance, can be found here.


Read more in local trade press: (Swedish)

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