Tutti is a massively participatory music-making experience for members of a large audience using their cellphones as simple musical instruments. It started as Danielle Penny (EECS '17)'s senior UAP/thesis project and has transformed into a collaboration between Eran Egozy, Evan Ziporyn, and Nick Joliat that was first featured in the Boston Event of the MIT Campaign for a Better World on September 28, 2017.
In Tutti, audience members play a new composition by Ziporyn titled Engineered Engineers (based on the famous Engineer's Drinking Song often sung at MIT). The audience is divided into four orchestras sections (winds, strings, brass, and percussion) and each audience member's cellphone is then transformed into a one-button instrument that can play the appropriate notes for the chosen part.
The core technology behind Tutti requires that all audience phones (perahaps as many as a thousand) be precisely sychronized to a common clock so that they can all play together in a coordinated fashion - hence the name Tutti (an Italian musical term meaning all together). A large video display indicates to the audience members when they should start and stop playing. The piece is architected to show off interesting musical dynamics between the groups such as unison play, call-and-response phrases, gradual buildups, and a grand-pause.
The work is about 3 minutes long and is meant to give the audience a taste of what it feels like to play collectively in a large musical ensemble. While no one needs to know how to read music, following the "graphical score" (video display) and working together ensures a successful musical outcome for all.
Eran Egozy "conducting" the Tutti performance at the Wang Center, September 2017. There were approximately 700 audience participants.
A live recording of Tutti, presented at MIT's Festival of Learning 2019.