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Graduate Student Develops Acoustical Marvel and More on Commercial Free Classical Musical Web Site

New York---Yoon-Il Auh, a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University has developed the Web Concert Hall, a unique classical music site that offers state-of-the-art sound that is delivered along with full video.
New York---Yoon-Il Auh, a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University has developed the Web Concert Hall, a unique classical music site that offers state-of-the-art sound that is delivered along with full video.

The site is designed to: offer viewers an opportunity to re-live a part of history the music was shaped by; understand how a piece of music connects to diverse genres of thought; and participate and acquire information beyond what a traditional concert hall can offer.


Auh, Child Prodigy

Auh, who began to play the violin at the age of four, came to the United States through the recommendation of legendary violinist Isaac Stern. He was admitted to the Juilliard School as a scholarship student and became the lead violinist of the Cantabile String Quartet under the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Management. Auh has composed numerous works for instruments and his compositions have been performed both in the United States and Korea. He has also constructed two violins and violas and is an active conductor.

At Teacher College, Auh is working on designing and developing interdisciplinary learning systems for advanced musicians. According to Auh, his research and dissertation are meant to expand the educational opportunities for conservatory students and prodigies. "These people," Auh says, "often have no time to study anything but music. And at that, only technique. The aim of my work is to examine and to provide material for improving the education of conservatory students who might be studying independently while they pursue some kind of education."

What Makes The Web Concert Hall Unique?

Auh is proud of the fact that The Web Concert Hall offers free admission to classical music, exists purely for educational purposes and is delivered directly to the viewer's computer. The Web Concert Hall, according to Auh, is the only site of its kind to provide an online recital of "serious music." At the same time," Auh says, "It gives you more than you can get at a concert hall where you really don't get to meet the musician."

"When a person visits the site", Auh continues, "he/she can see an eleven year old violin prodigy, Grace Minj Cho, playing Sarasete while, at the same time, view a painting of the impressionist Camille Pissarro, a contemporary of Sarasete and also read about the piece."

"Unlike live concerts, Auh says, "you can actually communicate with the artist after you listen to the concert and listen to interviews with the soloists. It offers an education about the piece as well as enables you to get to know the soloist in person because you can e-mail the artist and he or she can write you back. It makes for a much more personalized concert environment than you would have by actually attending a concert."

Auh would like to see his site used differently than typical musical sites and he explains why. "Most of the video and music sites that we have today on the Web try to promote the sale of an artist's CD. But here what we want to do is to integrate the site into the classroom and use it in music and art classes to show these disciplines are related, and also how music and other social movements occurring at a particular period are interrelated."

"One of things that interests us greatly, " Auh says, " is the global nature of music. I was brought up in Korea and brought here as a child. And this happens with a lot of artists and musicians. To share this experience in a dramatic way is useful to everybody because it helps us understand human diversity. So linking the diversity of culture and art from different periods and places with the very idea of globalization makes The Web Concert Hall a very powerful tool."


The Enhancement of Sound

The enhancement of the sound, Auh, adds, is a technological problem that he wanted to solve because the initial sound quality wasn't as good as he felt was necessary to properly present classical music. In explaining the process, Auh says he reviewed the various alternatives and commercial tools that are available to preserve and transmit sound files. What he found, however, was that they all had various things wrong with them---from an inordinate delay in downloading for the person waiting to hear the file to "clicking" sounds and other extraneous noises that were part of the recording.

"The basic problem," Auh says, " was essentially that the formula or algorithm used to compress the music into a smaller file, was doing something else. It was throwing away part of the music. So I decided to expand the initial file once I put it in the computer by adding reverberation and then compressing it. And what finally emerged, was something much more than decently acceptable."

Auh underscores the technological problem this way. "People are always looking for ways to make files smaller but that the formulas for compressing them are often not understood. Based on a review of compression studies, I came to the conclusion that if I could mix and match sound waves correctly by compressing a file, I'd be able to pull together an audio file that could play back CD quality-like sound. And it worked ! (Mr. Auh is available to respond to technical questions about how he compressed the audio file and bypassed the hurdles of quality assurance when streaming through the Real Audio System, a playback system for the end user)."



Educational Opportunities

Robert P. Taylor, Associate Professor of computing and Education, who is Auh's dissertation advisor and colleague in designing The Web Concert Hall, sees the site as providing a new venue for performers who have little opportunity to present themselves to a wide enough audience to make their work known and appreciated. The Web Concert Hall, says Taylor, "with its high quality audio affords a way to tap into a world-wide audience at a low cost and thereby easily present able performers from anywhere in the world to that audience."

For sophisticated audiences, Professor Taylor believes that the site "offers ways to enjoy and support serious musical artists wherever they may be from whatever locale they find it convenient to perform."

Taylor is most excited about the educational possibilities opened up by the web performances on The Web Concert Hall. He says, "Students and potential students may enjoy a wide range of performances of all kinds that previous to this time would have been totally out of reach to them unless they personally unless they personally or the educational institutions with which they were associated, had the budgets and geographical location to make attendance easily realizable."

He adds, "We also want to impact people who bump into the site and get some interest in music and learning about music, its performance, its breadth, that they wouldn't have bothered with otherwise. We believe that musical awareness, musical ability, and musical learning is really an important part of human growth."

Published Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2002

Graduate Student Develops Acoustical Marvel and More on Commercial Free Classical Musical Web Site

New York---Yoon-Il Auh, a doctoral student in the Instructional Technology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University has developed the Web Concert Hall, a unique classical music site that offers state-of-the-art sound that is delivered along with full video.

The site is designed to: offer viewers an opportunity to re-live a part of history the music was shaped by; understand how a piece of music connects to diverse genres of thought; and participate and acquire information beyond what a traditional concert hall can offer.


Auh, Child Prodigy

Auh, who began to play the violin at the age of four, came to the United States through the recommendation of legendary violinist Isaac Stern. He was admitted to the Juilliard School as a scholarship student and became the lead violinist of the Cantabile String Quartet under the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Management. Auh has composed numerous works for instruments and his compositions have been performed both in the United States and Korea. He has also constructed two violins and violas and is an active conductor.

At Teacher College, Auh is working on designing and developing interdisciplinary learning systems for advanced musicians. According to Auh, his research and dissertation are meant to expand the educational opportunities for conservatory students and prodigies. "These people," Auh says, "often have no time to study anything but music. And at that, only technique. The aim of my work is to examine and to provide material for improving the education of conservatory students who might be studying independently while they pursue some kind of education."

What Makes The Web Concert Hall Unique?

Auh is proud of the fact that The Web Concert Hall offers free admission to classical music, exists purely for educational purposes and is delivered directly to the viewer's computer. The Web Concert Hall, according to Auh, is the only site of its kind to provide an online recital of "serious music." At the same time," Auh says, "It gives you more than you can get at a concert hall where you really don't get to meet the musician."

"When a person visits the site", Auh continues, "he/she can see an eleven year old violin prodigy, Grace Minj Cho, playing Sarasete while, at the same time, view a painting of the impressionist Camille Pissarro, a contemporary of Sarasete and also read about the piece."

"Unlike live concerts, Auh says, "you can actually communicate with the artist after you listen to the concert and listen to interviews with the soloists. It offers an education about the piece as well as enables you to get to know the soloist in person because you can e-mail the artist and he or she can write you back. It makes for a much more personalized concert environment than you would have by actually attending a concert."

Auh would like to see his site used differently than typical musical sites and he explains why. "Most of the video and music sites that we have today on the Web try to promote the sale of an artist's CD. But here what we want to do is to integrate the site into the classroom and use it in music and art classes to show these disciplines are related, and also how music and other social movements occurring at a particular period are interrelated."

"One of things that interests us greatly, " Auh says, " is the global nature of music. I was brought up in Korea and brought here as a child. And this happens with a lot of artists and musicians. To share this experience in a dramatic way is useful to everybody because it helps us understand human diversity. So linking the diversity of culture and art from different periods and places with the very idea of globalization makes The Web Concert Hall a very powerful tool."


The Enhancement of Sound

The enhancement of the sound, Auh, adds, is a technological problem that he wanted to solve because the initial sound quality wasn't as good as he felt was necessary to properly present classical music. In explaining the process, Auh says he reviewed the various alternatives and commercial tools that are available to preserve and transmit sound files. What he found, however, was that they all had various things wrong with them---from an inordinate delay in downloading for the person waiting to hear the file to "clicking" sounds and other extraneous noises that were part of the recording.

"The basic problem," Auh says, " was essentially that the formula or algorithm used to compress the music into a smaller file, was doing something else. It was throwing away part of the music. So I decided to expand the initial file once I put it in the computer by adding reverberation and then compressing it. And what finally emerged, was something much more than decently acceptable."

Auh underscores the technological problem this way. "People are always looking for ways to make files smaller but that the formulas for compressing them are often not understood. Based on a review of compression studies, I came to the conclusion that if I could mix and match sound waves correctly by compressing a file, I'd be able to pull together an audio file that could play back CD quality-like sound. And it worked ! (Mr. Auh is available to respond to technical questions about how he compressed the audio file and bypassed the hurdles of quality assurance when streaming through the Real Audio System, a playback system for the end user)."



Educational Opportunities

Robert P. Taylor, Associate Professor of computing and Education, who is Auh's dissertation advisor and colleague in designing The Web Concert Hall, sees the site as providing a new venue for performers who have little opportunity to present themselves to a wide enough audience to make their work known and appreciated. The Web Concert Hall, says Taylor, "with its high quality audio affords a way to tap into a world-wide audience at a low cost and thereby easily present able performers from anywhere in the world to that audience."

For sophisticated audiences, Professor Taylor believes that the site "offers ways to enjoy and support serious musical artists wherever they may be from whatever locale they find it convenient to perform."

Taylor is most excited about the educational possibilities opened up by the web performances on The Web Concert Hall. He says, "Students and potential students may enjoy a wide range of performances of all kinds that previous to this time would have been totally out of reach to them unless they personally unless they personally or the educational institutions with which they were associated, had the budgets and geographical location to make attendance easily realizable."

He adds, "We also want to impact people who bump into the site and get some interest in music and learning about music, its performance, its breadth, that they wouldn't have bothered with otherwise. We believe that musical awareness, musical ability, and musical learning is really an important part of human growth."

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