Technology: Making Music Into Art

What's more surprising, finding a classically trained composer at M.I.T.'s Media Lab or discovering that his research there has produced a Fisher-Price toy? Either way, it is hard to question the pedigree of Symphony Painter, a new kind of electronic music software designed for the Color Pixter electronic sketchpad. The brainchild of M.I.T. professor Tod Machover, Symphony Painter ($20; Color Pixter sold separately) combines visual arts and music: you draw a picture and then press the triangular play button to hear a musical interpretation of your artwork. Experienced musicians might predict some outcomes: lines curving up tend to...

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