An App to Help You Decode the Symphony as You Listen

Tim Ireland- WPA Pool/Getty Images
Tim Ireland- WPA Pool/Getty Images / Tim Ireland- WPA Pool/Getty Images

When you’re looking for a tech-friendly entertainment experience, you probably don’t gravitate toward the philharmonic. But this fall, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will have a special section just for people who plan to use their phones during the show, according to The Telegraph. During the Royal Philharmonic’s 2017-2018 season, patrons of the upcoming series Myths and Fairytales will be encouraged to use EnCue, a new app (previously called Octava) that's designed to help orchestras reach out to new audiences through mid-performance alerts.

Organizations can sign up to create their own presentations using EnCue, which turns push notifications into program notes for people who opt in. When the app is open on a user's device, slides with information about what’s happening in that moment in the performance show up in real-time. Orchestras can use it to direct listeners’ attentions to a particular image that they should bear in mind during that section of music or inform them of certain musical or historical tidbits relating to the piece.

EnCue by Octava

According to the company, the app is dark enough on screens to not distract other audience members. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Alexander Shelley, a principal associate conductor, calls it “beautifully unobtrusive” in a video interview about the program. Still, according to The Telegraph, there will be a separate seating area for people who want to use the app.

Classical music aficionados aren’t always early adopters of new technology, but EnCue could help new fans understand and appreciate art forms like symphonies and operas.

[h/t Arts Journal]