No doubt you’ve seen one of these the amazing videos circulating on the internet of multiple musicians playing in their individual homes and edited together in a single composition that sounds like they are all playing together in one space. The videos are incredibly powerful and there are dozens of them posted on Youtube from musicians and orchestras around the world who want to share their music.
“First, it begins with the singers and musicians individually recording their part of the song and capturing it on a Mac or an iPhone camera,” explained Joe Lombard, a local director who also works with several bands. “Next, a video editor compiles all the music and singing portions and lines them up to sync to the song – the blue print they work off of is the sheet music. Once the ‘song’ is compiled in its entirety, the audio engineer works to master the vocals and instruments.”
If you listen carefully, Lombard said, you can hear the distinctive sound the iPhone recording makes in this video, with Berklee College of Music students performing Burt Bacharach’s classic, “What the World Needs Now,” masterfully assembled by Shelbie Rassler.
National Public Radio picked up the story and spoke to Rassler, who said she came up for the idea while she at home for spring break, after having to leave school because of COVID-19. According to the NPR story:
“If there’s a sliver of a silver lining in these uncertain times, it’s music — from free virtual concerts to suggested playlists. One of the most inspiring efforts we’ve seen this week comes from a virtual performance of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music.
The student-made performance and video were the brainchild of Shelbie Rassler, a senior composition major at Boston Conservatory. Just a few days after Berklee reverted to online classes only, Rassler found herself at home in South Florida, eager to bring her community together.”
According to NPR, Rassler reached out to her friends and fellow music students with this post on her facebook page:
“Your job is to just take a video of yourself singing (literally pick any part/the whole song/just 10 seconds/riff to the gods/up to you!!), playing your instrument along to the track, choreograph a dance to the music, anything your heart desires, and I’ll cut everything up create an arrangement from what y’all send me, and share it with you all because WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE SWEET LOVE Y’ALL LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
And it has been shared widely. According to NPR:
“The video has even reached Burt Bacharach, who told us via email that he felt “very proud and honored to see and hear my song performed by these extremely talented students from the Berklee School of Music. It’s great seeing them find ways to be creative and stay connected to each other while maintaining social distance.”
But there are many more of these amazing videos on Youtube. Just search for “virtual orchestra,” and you’ll find them. Here’s another one from the Jerusalem Orchestra, titled “Mozart in Quarantine.”