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:: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 ::

Interaction and Improvisation in Electronic Music

I received the following email message from a Colombian student studying for an Mphil in music and technology at the University of Portsmouth (UK):

"I am currently doing research on interaction and improvisation in electronic music, and would like to ask you some questions on this subject. This survey covers various aspects of computer-based music performance"

Interesting that my address was included in this survey, presumably scraped from this website (spokesy got it too) although I wonder what led them to the site in the first place. I have no real idea what this information will be used for but the questions are interesting enough for me to think there may be some benefit in posting my responses here. Maybe it will help me or someone else think about the way we make music differently. Text in bold is from the original email and my answers are filled out in between.

  • Do you have any experience with playing an acoustic instrument?
  • If yes, is this experience relevant to the way you approach music performance now?
    Yes. Have played guitar since I was about 14. Does not affect the way I perform as such, but is what I mentally refer to in terms of scales and notation as I'm not good with [piano style] keyboards, and to some extent led me into electronic music through experimentation with effects pedals and electronics.

  • Do you categorize sounds in any particular way?
    Yes, but it's a bit haphazard and I should do it better, but generally things are filed into drums, basses, effects, ambience etc.

  • Synthesis or re-sampling, which one do you use the most?
    Re-sampling at the moment although I'd like to use synthesis more

  • Is sound processing something that influences you to compose in a particular musical genre or style?
    I'd like to say no but it probably does to some extent.

  • What are some of the limitations you have come across as a laptop performer?
    The two main ones are [1] the interface, which doesn't lend itself to performance, and [2] audience interaction, which is limited due to the screen in front of you and means people [often] can't tell what you are really doing.

  • What do you consider as a particular skill(s) for a laptop performer?
    Making it clear what you are doing as people respond when they can see that, engaging the audience, taking risks.

  • In the case of playing with several musicians, do you have a specific role?
    Haven't really attempted this yet.

  • How do you improvise when performing? (structure-based, sound processing, pattern-variations, etc)
    Generally pattern and structure variation with live overdubs.

  • Do you prepare your jamming (improvisation) tools before performing or you do it in real-time?
    Yes. Although I've experimented with tools that do not allow this and force you to take risks and not know what you are going to do yet, I've yet to develop the confidence to do this for a live audience.

  • What is your main reference? (melody, texture, rhythm, sounds, etc)
    Probably rhythm.

  • Do you play your laptop by writing (programming) or pre-mapped controls?
    Pre-mapped controls.

  • Is there any comment/advice related to your work experience that you would like to mention in this survey?
    Can't think of anything right now.

    I sincerely thank you for your time and cooperation with answering this survey. Your input is a great help for the development of this project.

    If I ever hear anything further about this I'll post it here.

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    :: Dan 8.10.08 [Arc] [0 comments] [links to this post] ::
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