CLASSICAL MUSIC / Upbeat: Hyper active

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The Independent Culture
We all know about the hyper-violinist, but the Hyperviola? This scientifically-designed instrument makes it European debut on Monday, at a London Sinfonietta Barbican concert, courtesy of the Hyperviola Concerto, subtitled (we hope not prophetically) Song of Penance, by American composer Tod Machover, the instrument's inventor. Violist Paul Silverthorne, more used to an antique Amati, is the soloist. Sensor plates on his bow and instrument are linked to a computer database of assorted string and vocal sounds, including a disembodied soprano. 'The computer senses what's happening on the instrument by way of pressure, phrasing, speed and so on, and responds by adding varying layers of sound,' explains Machover. 'It's really a lush and romantic piece - very exuberant.'