We generally start our “Secret Life” interviews by asking the scientists about their childhoods. And we almost always learn that their science is a variation on something they loved to do as a child. And so it is with Eran Egozy.
Many years before “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” Eran’s parents bought him one of the early Apple II computers (yes, it was a long time ago – the Apple II was also used to invent the wheel and to start the first man-made fires). Eran, 15 years old and already a serious musician, wanted to use the Apple II to make music, but—
“It wasn’t going to play music by itself—I had to actually input the data for whatever music I wanted. So, of course, what’s the piece that I have to enter in the computer? It’s Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. So I went to the library and got a score of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, all the parts—the violins, the woodwinds, the brass, everything—and I would start typing in all those notes into my Apple II. But this is not like it’s done today, where you have a mouse and you can drag notes onto the screen, or you have a keyboard and you can play it—I actually had to translate every note into some kind of machine code. So I would actually sit there and type all these hexadecimal values into the computer to translate Beethoven’s score into computer-speak. And every day, I would just be able to get a little bit more done—I’d probably be able to only input about ten seconds [of the score] a day [in three to four hours of work]. As I would enter this music, the sounds of Beethoven would waft through the room. Now, of course, it didn’t sound like a real symphony, but it also sounded like nothing else I’d heard at the time, because it was kind of this brand new thing that I was building.”
You can learn more about Eran as a grown up (and as a kid) by watching his videos and following his links. And if you’d like to ask him a question, you can do that in the blog post just below this one.