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If you haven’t seen the video embedded below, it really is worth taking the time to watch: It’s a virtual choir assembled from 185 individual YouTube video clips, conducted by Grammy-nominated composer Eric Whitacre and performing a piece called Lux Aurumque. It features singers from 12 countries including the U.S., the UK, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Spain and The Philippines.
Whitacre started the project last year by putting out a call for participants on his blog. He recorded a “conductor track” with a friend playing a version of the score on the piano, and a separate video in which he discussed the piece and what he was trying to achieve with it. Poet Charles Anthony Silvestri also posted a video talking about his translation of the text, in which he spoke each of the words that singers had to sing, and a producer put together videos for each individual part (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass) with the sheet music on one side of the screen and the conductor track on the other side.
Whitacre talks about his inspiration for this virtual choir in this blog post. The Lux Aurumque video is actually the second time the composer has put together such a virtual choir from YouTube clips — the first attempt is here. A recent post at Metafilter has more details about Whitacre and some of his other compositions.
Update: Thanks to commenter Thomad for a link to another collaborative music project that used YouTube clips, called In B 2.0, a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls. Solomon is a composer and musician based in New York who (among other things) played bass with Ray Charles’ band for two years after joining the band at the age of 19.