For most people, a visit to a museum can be a disappointing experience. Instead of getting the vibe of ancient times, we are often confronted with lifeless objects, which purpose has been reduced to lying around as an exhibit. Time Melody is a Russian startup that brings life back into ancient musical instruments, duplicating their unique sound in their VR museum.

“We don’t only immerse you in true-to-life sounds of ancient music; we also bring you in touch with epochs and landscapes where the instrument was originally played,” said Stefania Danilova from Time Melody. After putting on VR glasses, you can find yourself on a rocky cliff, surrounded by the howling of the wind and the hypnotizing sound of an ancient Hellene playing the lyre. You can also choose to inspect the instrument in detail, examining its construction or the principles of its use.

So far, Time Melody has recreated six 3D models of instruments: a bone flute, a piano, a duduk, a lyre, a shofar and a lute. They managed to reproduce the ancient sounds using binaural techniques, bringing a strong feel of authenticity into their virtual museum.

Time Melody has a strong educational objective – they hope that their project will reach students of music schools, preschool children and pupils in general educational institutions and inspire them to take interest in the world of ancient music. It can also be a great tool for ethnographic and musical museums all over the world. The next step on their journey, as Stefania Danilova says, is “to expand the collection of virtual exhibits and develop customized exhibition solutions for shopping malls, private schools, and art spaces.”

This startup is a brainchild of Yuri Bulavin, a former laureate of St. Petersburg Siemens Science Award and a dedicated AR enthusiast with over 5 years of experience with VR-related projects.  Currently, he is pursuing his Master degree in Applied Information Science and Arts.

The first prototype of Time Melody is fully bootstrapped. The team has been leasing the labs and equipment of the St. Petersburg State University to create the first pilot of their technology. The pilot, presented at the Geek Picnic, brought the team first 200 – 300 beta users. They were also recognized during a startup contest organized by the St. Petersburg State University, winning a prize that allowed them to fund 3D modeling of the next batch of instruments.

Watch the Time Melody promo: