One Synthesis Language Per Child

XO Laptop Running Csound

On Tuesday I headed down to LA to see a friend and mentor of mine that was in town, Richard Boulanger.  He works closely with the “One Laptop Per Child” project, helping to develop music applications and sound design that will enable a wholly new era in musical education for the developing world.  I caught up with him at a Berklee College of Music masterclass event with BT and he brought a development machine with him.  Although the event was interesting, the most amazing thing at the event was the laptop and synthesis environment it ran.

The synthesis language built into the XO laptop is Csound.  Normally a pretty formidable language to learn (especially to someone who is not accustomed to musical composition nor computers), the XO implements a kind of block diagram or patcher language to make the relationships between the unit generators easily conceptualized.  The keyboard of the laptop serves as the input device, and after launching the app I immediately had on hand a large number of unique and endearing sonic textures.  Also, the sound quality from the speakers is exceptionally good for such a small box.  The laptop is also incredibly light.

It is an amazing and humbling responsibility to distribute any type of media on such a large scale as the XO laptop, to so many places in need of education.  The musical and software paradigms that are included will shape millions of minds in the years to come.  After seeing this early version of what is being develop, I can happily report that we are well on the right track to catalyzing a new generation of electronic music composers.

<a href=””>One Laptop Per Child</a>
<a href=””>Csound</a>

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