What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Laptop Orchestra

July 5, 2011, 7:29 AM
Cello

What's the Latest Development?

Composer, performer and professor Dan Trueman is the co-founder of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, a travelling orchestra composed of an "ensemble of computer-based musical meta-instruments." What does that mean? "A laptop orchestra is much like a 'real' orchestra. A group of players gets together with the goal of playing a piece—composed ahead of time or improvised—for an audience, except that their instruments are on the computer." The Laptop Orchestra, also known as PLOrk, is often identified as the first laptop-based orchestra. 

What's the Big Idea?

The ubiquity of new technology is also democratizing the music industry, even the classical genre. "Laptops are everywhere, and the notion that they could be musical 'instruments' and that we could play with one another is intriguing," Trueman said. "It's also a great equalizer; laptops don't intimidate and imply decades of practice the way, say, violins do, so people who might otherwise think they are 'not musical' might be willing to give it a go. ... Another way to put this is that we can set the bar for entry wherever we want."

 

Laptop Orchestra

Newsletter: Share: