Music, dimensions and play: composing for autonomous laptop musicians and improvising humans
This article discusses three compositions for autonomous laptops performing with improvising musicians. The laptops were programmed with software environments that make narrow-band ‘decisions’ regarding performative soundscapes. They also made ‘decisions’ about visual materials that were presented as onscreen scores for the human improviser to consider. The unfolding aural and visual streams were both functional and creative, and highlighted the here-and-now of indeterminate composition, whilst carefully embedding the aesthetics of the composer within the core of the programming. As such, these laptops were considered as collaborating performers and collaborating composers. The opening section highlights the connecting principles within this collection of works, before discussing each in isolation. This is placed within the context of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first- century composition, whilst offering a framework, for the reading of these, based on Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome philosophy. Three Last Letters is then used as a case study of the concept of wholeness within the computer-generated soundscapes and the algorithmic programming. Section 3 draws together several theories surrounding the mental seeing evoked by sound into dimensionality: a playground for inventive HCI-music improvisation. The values and principles with which the humans and computers interact is developed using creative play theory, followed by some personal responses of the musicians. Finally, an evaluation is offered on the effect on the audience and their perceptual modes when experiencing live and fluid compositions of this nature. The article is concluded with a poetics of experience from the composer's perspective.
Citation : Vear, C., (2014) Music, dimensions and play: composing for autonomous laptop musicians and improvising humans. Digital Creativity, 25 (4), pp. 343-356
Research Group : Performance Research Group
Research Institute : Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)
- School of Arts