Classical Music on Blockchain
In another blockchain first powered by Async Art, MozartBeats explores the intersection of classical music history with interactive and programmable NFT technology.
Led by violin virtuoso Dalibor Karvay, concertmaster of world-famous Vienna Symphony and members of the Strauss Capelle Vienna and Volksoper orchestras, its live performance will be the blockchain’s very first live orchestra performance — in both physical space and the metaverse.
MozartBeats by NFTunes and Mankind.
Creators Baher Al Hakim and Francisco Supin, intentional in every detail, explain their inspiration for the piece was Mozart himself. “He was seen as ‘crazy’ during his lifetime, but is now known as a genius around the world,” representative of their own foray into NFTs.
The two, “driven by their passion and ambition” want to show the “classical music scene, locally and globally, what’s possible, in terms of collaboration (including with visual arts). And what this means for the industry,” says Al Hakim.
They are excited to present the innovative project to the traditional world of classical music — considered, today, a dying art. They’re hopeful that MozartBeats can bring evolution and transformation to the industry, inspiring other artists to innovate in their own way.
Supin explains, especially for classical musicians, “it’s absolutely worth keeping up with new technologies. Classical music can keep up and adapt for modern relevance and a new generation of musical consumers.” Though technology updates and innovates on a consistent basis, he emphasizes that the classical music scene hasn't seen significant updates in over 200 years.
It’s time for a transformation.
And this brilliant duo understands their responsibility to the industry, to the Viennese musical history, and to the next generation of classical musicians — made tangible by the gorgeous, ever-evolving piece that is MozartBeats.
About the Piece
Under the leadership of Al Hakim and Supin, and thanks to the professionalism and mastery of the world-renown musicians that helped to create MozartBeats, all 12 tracks were recorded in under 2 hours. (Though, this wasn’t the plan; at 9am in Vienna on the day of recording, half of the city experienced an hours-long and unheard-of blackout, which delayed the project’s start time.)
Behind the scenes: the making of MozartBeats.
Based on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s masterpiece, Eine kleine Nachtmusik (“a little night music”), the structure of the MozartBeats Master track consists of four stems: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola and Cello, with a total of five variations per stem. In total, there are 625 different possible variations.
Layering different Stem variations over one another creates magically unique tapestries of sound, personally crafted and closely related to Mozart’s original. Each instrument in MozartBeats performs the main theme plus four variations based on the original theme.
Each variation contains different timbres and innovative sound effects, representing the progression of classical music based on Mozart’s masterpiece. The higher the number of the variation (from 1 to 4), the more experimental the piece will sound. On the contrary, the lower the number of the variation, the more classically traditional its outcome. The same harmonic structure is held throughout all variations, ensuring any mixture and combination is a perfect fit.
The Cover Artwork
Examples of Stem variations, illustrated by the changing visuals by Mankind.
The visual art by Mankind supports MozartBeat’s overall theme, changing in response to the music; the more contemporary states show gigantic monoliths rising from the ground, obscuring the natural forest landscape — echoing the intermingling of classical wooden instruments with artificial, electrical soundscapes.
My goal was to merge the traditional and the modern. Taking inspiration from nature and using emotive colours and light to reflect the music then combining futuristic glass monoliths of varying sizes to integrate a surreal new world merging with the old world.
Of the project’s purpose, Supin explains: “Someone has to do it! Why not the capital of classical music, Vienna. It’s our responsibility to do this.”
Mankind’s thoughts reflect the ethos of MozartBeats, too: “This is the start of a digital renaissance...many works created today will be seen as catalysts that brought about societal shifts.
No matter what unique path we have taken to arrive at this point in life, this artwork, or this song, there is hope for an unexpected future.”
Supin wants to “encourage other artists to join, to learn, and to explore these new technologies. We want to set an example for modernizing classical music. And Vienna's central location is a strategic point. We want to set an example for the whole world.”
The Live Performance
Not only is MozartBeats a pioneering project for classical music, but it will also be the first live orchestral performance on the blockchain — presented simultaneously in the physical world and in the metaverse.
Join members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Volksoper & Strauss Capelle Orchestra in this historic event streaming live from the world-famous Odeon Theater on the 7th of October.