Networks of Liveness in Singer-Songwriting: A practice-based enquiry into developing audio-visual interactive systems and creative strategies for composition and performance.




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This enquiry explores the creation and use of computer-based, real-time interactive audio-visual systems for the composition and performance of popular music by solo artists. Using a practice-based methodology, research questions are identified that relate to the impact of incorporating interactive systems into the songwriting process and the liveness of the performances with them. Four approaches to the creation of interactive systems are identified: creating explorative-generative tools, multiple tools for guitar/vocal pieces, typing systems and audio-visual metaphors. A portfolio of ten pieces that use these approaches was developed for live performance. A model of the songwriting process is presented that incorporates system-building and strategies are identified for reconciling the indeterminate, electronic audio output of the system with composed popular music features and instrumental/vocal output. The four system approaches and ten pieces are compared in terms of four aspects of liveness, derived from current theories. It was found that, in terms of overall liveness, a unity to system design facilitated both technological and aesthetic connections between the composition, the system processes and the audio and visual outputs. However, there was considerable variation between the four system approaches in terms of the different aspects of liveness. The enquiry concludes by identifying strategies for maximising liveness in the different system approaches and discussing the connections between liveness and the songwriting process.





Research Institute