Hi there. Please start typing…
This is the Broken Orchestra Typewriter - a living composition made up of hundreds of musical ideas that composes music as you compose letters and words. Try typing the same word a few times and see what happens...
The sounds you are hearing come from recordings of broken instruments, and are part of a project that has inspired people to ‘adopt’ hundreds of badly damaged instruments and raise funds to repair and return them to the public schools.
As you type, hundreds of musical ideas are being ordered, processed, layered, filtered, and repeated according to the words you choose and how you type them. Each time you hit the spacebar you re-calibrate the system and deepen the algorithm that composes along with you.
You can use the Controls to adjust, playback, save and share your composition. Thanks and have fun!
In early 2017, Found Sound Nation catalogued and recorded the sounds of over 800 broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system. These recordings were part of an effort, led by Temple Contemporary, to create a Symphony for a Broken Orchestra and inspire the public to ‘adopt’ hundreds of school-owned broken instruments and raise funds to repair and restore them to the schools. As of Fall 2018 roughly 1,000 previously broken instruments were ‘adopted’, repaired and returned to the Philadelphia public school district. If you would like to make a donation please visit The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. We hope this portal can inspire continued interest in this project and our collective reinvestment in music in schools. It features:
Broken Orchestra Typewriter - a living composition made up of hundreds of musical ideas played by broken instruments that reveals and deepens itself as you type; Symphony for Broken Instruments + Suites - a live recording of the symphony by David Lang for over 400 student, amateur and professional musicians; and Suites for a Broken Orchestra, new works by renowned producers reimagining the broken orchestra; Broken Instruments Sample Pack - a free download of our sample library
Symphony for a Broken Orchestra was commissioned by Temple Contemporary at The Tyler School of Art. Major support is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Barra Foundation.
Symphony For Broken Instruments
“Last year I got an amazing phone call, out of the blue, from Robert Blackson, who runs the contemporary art gallery at Temple University. He told me that he had somehow – miraculously – gotten access to all the broken instruments in the Philadelphia public school system, and he asked if I had any interest in writing something for them. In fact, I did! Robert didn’t know it, but my first thought about these instruments was autobiographical. I am only a musician because there were robust music programs in the public schools that I attended as a child – a public school music education is why I am here today. My first thought was that 1500 broken musical instruments meant 1500 missed opportunities to change school children's’ lives, the way my life had been changed.
What I hoped to do in these pieces was to give untrained and lesser trained performers the chance to do what our most trained and sophisticated performers do all the time – to work really hard together, to solve a tough musical problem together, to make something beautiful together. Our ensemble has a range of everyone in the city – from school children just learning how to play to amateurs to future professionals to members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. People from all across the city, coming together, making music. It is a beautiful sight. Of course, in this piece, one of the problems these musicians have come together to solve is that their instruments don’t work as they are expected to. Some are barely changed, some are just more complicated to play, and some are now incapable of doing what they were designed for. Part of each player’s job is learning what each instrument can and cannot do, and then adapting himself or herself to it. These instruments, like the people who play them, are unique, extraordinary. It has been a joy to work with them.”
David Lang, Introduction to Symphony for Broken Instruments
Recorded live on December 3rd, 2017 at the 23rd Street Armory, Philadelphia
Engineered & Mixed by Devin Greenwood & Arun Pandian
"Parents are used to hearing that school budgets are putting the squeeze on activities like music and sports. But rarely has a solution to such a problem been as elaborate and artistic as the “Symphony for a Broken Orchestra.”
Ted Loos, The New York Times
November 6, 2017
“The piece repurchases the dreams that these instruments represent for children, whether it’s performing Mozart with a chamber ensemble or wailing on a tenor sax. Making new art is the best redemption imaginable for a broken instrument.”
Kristen Capps, The Atlantic
December 4, 2017
“Has a symphony ever been so noble, yet so whacked? Even before its premiere on Sunday at the 23rd Street Armory, the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra had fulfilled its larger function in the musical ecosystem: By simply writing a major work for 400 broken school instruments, the much-awarded composer David Lang had called attention to the need for more functional musical instruments for the betterment of the educational system and the community at large.”
David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer
December 3rd, 2017
Suites for a Broken Orchestra
In early 2017 Found Sound Nation catalogued and recorded the sounds of over 800 broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system. As these recordings became the raw material for David Lang's new orchestral work Symphony for Broken Instruments, we quickly realized that we were in the process of archiving a unique collection of sounds - a trove of singular, never-to-be-played-again instruments. We invited a larger community of producers to creatively reimagine these broken instrument samples, generating new works in any style and by any means they wished.
With over 120 submissions from around the world, Suites from a Broken Orchestra presents our favorite submissions from the Remix Contest, alongside a selection of commissioned tracks by acclaimed producers and musicians including Daedelus, Julia Holter, Ian Chang (Son Lux), Miho Hatori, Half Waif and Angelica Negron. The Symphony was part of a larger effort, led by Temple Contemporary, to inspire the public to ‘adopt’ these instruments and raise the funds needed to repair and restore these instruments to schools.
Broken Orchestra Remix Contest:
From December 2017 to February 2018 the Broken Orchestra Remix Contest invited musicians and producers from around the world to remix the Broken Instrument sample pack. The single criteria was to use only the sound library as the raw material for creation and embrace the instruments’ brokenness.
Remix Contest Winners: Diego Abelardo, Pablo Mirete, Krunal Kumpavat & Saskia Teles Peter
Executive Produced by: Kyla Rose Smith Mastered by: Luisa Puterman
Special thanks to the incredible musicians and students in Philadelphia who recorded the sounds of over 800 broken instruments with us: Adam Abramson, Aiden, Alex Vogelsong, Alyssa Almeida, Andy Thierauf, Ardath Belzer, Ben Mulholland, Carlos Santiago, Colleen Law, Connor Przybyszewski, Dan Blacksberg, Daniel Nosheny, David Fishkin, Elena Moon Park, Elliott Levin, Emily Schuman, Emma Method, Eric Derr, Erica Corbo, Jay Krush, Jeffrey Ferguson, Jeremy Thal, Jesse Kudler, Joshua Machiz, Joshua Neale, Julie Lipson, Justin Walcroft, Katelyn Cyril, Kevin Vu, Koofreh Umoren, Laura Neuman, Martin Ventura, Matthew Engle, Mel Gervasio, Mick Ricereto, Patrick Oberstaedt, Pete Angevine, Steve Davit,Tessa Harrison, Tom Kraines, Tracy Nguyen, Tyler Illis, Veronica Jurkiewicz, Wilson Shook, Zachary McKenna, Zephyr Kremer, Zubin Hensler
Broken Instruments Sample Pack
The Broken Instruments Sample Pack is a free download of Found Sound Nation's favorite sounds from the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra Project. To receive the sample packs please complete the form and we will send you download links to both the Full (2.3GB) and Selects (800 MB) Broken Instruments sample banks. Feel free to email us at email@example.com if you have additional questions or ideas:
All samples were recorded by Found Sound Nation at Temple Contemporary in Philadelphia from November, 2016 - January 2017. Special thanks to the incredible musicians and students in Philadelphia who recorded with us: Adam Abramson, Aiden, Alex Vogelsong, Alyssa Almeida, Andy Thierauf, Ardath Belzer, Ben Mulholland, Carlos Santiago, Colleen Law, Connor Przybyszewski, Dan Blacksberg, Daniel Nosheny, David Fishkin, Elena Moon Park, Elliott Levin, Emily Schuman, Emma Method, Eric Derr, Erica Corbo, Jay Krush, Jeffrey Ferguson, Jeremy Thal, Jesse Kudler, Joshua Machiz, Joshua Neale, Julie Lipson, Justin Walcroft, Katelyn Cyril, Kevin Vu, Koofreh Umoren, Laura Neuman, Martin Ventura, Matthew Engle, Mel Gervasio, Mick Ricereto, Patrick Oberstaedt, Pete Angevine, Steve Davit,Tessa Harrison, Tom Kraines, Tracy Nguyen, Tyler Illis, Veronica Jurkiewicz, Wilson Shook, Zachary McKenna, Zephyr Kremer, Zubin Hensler
Broken Orchestra Typewriter
The Broken Orchestra typewriter can turn your words, poems, conversations, nonsense, or anything you type into music. Made up of hundreds of musical ideas played by broken instruments, the typewriter is a living composition that reveals and deepens itself as you type. The typewriter’s algorithm draws on Zipf’s law - a statistical phenomenon that, while frequently observed, remains somewhat of a mystery. The typewriter was created by Christopher Marianetti and Pete Wise and is inspired by the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra project which collected, catalogued and repaired over a thousand broken musical instruments for the Philadelphia public school system in 2018.
space Typewriter updates
. Shift Sound Banks
The Typewriter features samples of Broken Orchestra Remixes by:
Alex Chumak, Alexandre Moreno, Ana Lopez Reyes, Andy Li, Angelica Negron, Apenino, Arthur Decloedt, Ben Brody, Daedelus, Daniel Ortiz, David Crowell, David Donaldson, Diego Abelardo, Dima Kay, Dj Carlos, Elijah Jamal, Elyse Tabet, Enrico de Trizio, Eric Hogg, Gabriel Francisco Lemos, Gavin Brivik, 6zm, Half Waif, Hugh Sheehan, Ian Chang, Jett Ilagan, John Boswell, John Darling, Josh James Lim, Julia Holter, Justin Jaramillo, Keith Sweaty, Kevin Brezolin, King Shi, Krunal Kumpavat, Max Bonifacio, Michael Kim-Sheng, Miho Hatori, Mitya, Mustelide, Pablo Mirete, Robert Trusko, Stephen Adams, Sunitram and Thiago Pospichil Marques.
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