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Harry Connick Jr. Uses Macs At Heart Of New Music Patent

Harry Connick Jr. Uses Macs At Heart Of New Music Patent

by , 10:30 AM EST, March 7th, 2002

Harry Connick Jr. is best known for his singing and acting abilities, and now he'll be known as an inventor. According to a New York Yimes article by Teresa Riordan titled, Crooner Uses Computers to Replace Sheet Music, Mr. Connick has applied for a patent for a system for displaying music to an orchestra. At the heart of his invent is a G3 Mac. From the article:

"It basically eliminates old-fashioned sheet music," Mr. Connick said in a phone interview 10 days ago, before leaving for Salt Lake City, where he performed "Over the Rainbow" during the closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

His patented idea came to him one day several years ago when his big band was playing outdoors and the sheet music was blowing around. Why not, he thought, have all 16 band members read their music off computer screens instead?

So before he started a long tour in 1999, Mr. Connick bought enough blue and white G3 Power Macs, each with a rotatable screen, that everyone — from his trombonists to his drummer — could read from electronic sheet music.

Not only does Mr. Connick uses Macs to deliver his music to his band members, but he also uses Macs to help him create his unique musical style. From the article:

Unlike most other pop musicians, Mr. Connick does his own musical arrangements right on his Macintosh computer, using Finale software from Coda Music Technology, a division of Net4Music (news/quote ). His system allows him to make changes to a given arrangement — knock out eight bars here, add eight bars there — and have them entered automatically into his musicians' copies of the music.

"Oh man, it's made my life easier," Mr. Connick said. "Before, I would write out a song by hand and give it to a couple of guys in the band who are copyists and they would figure out the instrumental sections. It could take days. Now I can write a new score in the morning and everyone has it on his computer screen in the afternoon. Imagine if a Duke Ellington or a Stravinsky had had a system like that."

The article is an extremely interesting read.

Note: The NY Times requires you to create a free login account in order for you to view the article.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The article mentions that Mr. Connick had the help of technologist David Pogue when putting together his invention, and to this we say "well done, Mr. Pogue!" The Mac lends itself well to solving problems like Mr. Connick's, especially now, with the new G4 Towers and iMacs available. Could it be that we'll be seeing more bands and orchestras using Mr. Connick's patented Mac setup? We hope so.

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