Many people associate virtual reality with video gaming. Certainly, we’ve seen numerous advances in immersive gaming over the years. However, that’s not all there is to VR. Perhaps it might come as a surprise, but the technology is disrupting many fields, including ones you least suspect—classical music.
Classical music is associated with high culture and fine art. Often, it’s hard for the average person to fully appreciate its beauty without careful attention. Some might even say that it’s out of place in this ever-advancing world.
That’s exactly why VR was brought into the world of classical music.
Here, we cover the unexpected union of classical music and VR. We also delve into a few of its applications in the music scene.
Why Virtual Reality Is Good for Classical Music
Virtual reality has the capacity to make classical music more relatable to the masses. It makes this timeless art form less intimidating to listen to and learn. Not to mention, it makes classical music easier to grasp and more accessible to a broad spectrum of audiences. World-renowned violinist Joshua Bell certainly agrees. He is one of many musicians rooting for VR to spread the love of classical music.
PlayStation VR made a Joshua Bell VR experience for music lovers and tech enthusiasts. Owners must use a VR headset and any pair of headphones to indulge in the full experience. Once set up, the app takes users to the Lyndhurst hall in London. There, Bell performs the Hungarian Dance No. 1 by Brahms, along with pianist Sam Haywood.
Developers leveraged binaural audio processing technology, as well as directional surround sound to make everything come to life. In other words, users will hear the sound in exquisite detail the closer they move to Bell. If they step back, they will experience the hall’s natural reverb.
Owners of a PlayStation headset can download the VR experience for free.
How VR Is Transforming Classical Music
Another up and coming VR application is the Four Strings Around the World project. Featuring Romanian violinist, Irina Muresanu, the app takes its audience around the world as she plays beautiful melodies with her violin.
Led by researchers from the University of Maryland School of Music, where Muresanu also teaches, the project centers on Four Strings Around the World. It’s Muresanu’s audio, which celebrates the diversity of musical cultures by unifying them through her violin.
The app, however, is a more ambitious venture than the PlayStation VR experience. That’s because its purpose isn’t merely for entertainment. They designed it for musical education as well. Through the app, users can have a one-on-one lesson with Muresanu. They can see and observe the movement of her hands and her bow arms in great detail.
Virtual reality provides new ways of experiencing classical music. In particular, it provides experiences that younger generations might find easier to relate to. Although the technology is fairly new, it’s already touted as the savior of this timeless music scene. Like Muresanu and Bell, we hope that it does spread the love of classical music.