DigiScore Lecture for IDeATe (Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology network) at Carnegie Mellon for bachelor electronic composition students

It was an interesting environment to present on digital scores to students who primarily make music through digital means at IDeATe, which is a three-year programme focused on learning at the creative intersection of art and technology. Students have great facilities to produce, record, rehearse and perform here within a relatively small cohort across all three years. A lot of the things DigiScores project manifests were already implemented in their programmes including game design, explorations with AI and machine learning. It was interesting because some students are already thinking of scores as algorithms for communication, so using computer language to describe scores in some of our polls. A big part of musicking in the programme is spent playing together in an electronic ensemble, so this is also very interesting because students build relationships through musicking with each other and technology, something that the DigiScore research project is also investigating.

Some critical insights:

  • the majority of students consider themselves foremost as electronic music artists and mixed media artists in addition to composers/performers which also tends to be quite high on our polls
  • students have skills in live electronics/dsp/midi and production
  • students however desired to gain more knowledge in machine learning, coding, instrument building, unity and unreal programming
  • it could be also noticed that there was a lively and enthusiastic response to the Robot Arm project where AI made students chuckle as they seemed to understand its affectual nature instead of asking for a direct explanation of how notation and sound worked together
  • students were interested to know more about what kind of research the DigiScore was doing and whether there was a distinct way in which people made a connection with digital scores which as I explained was very varied since different types of people connect to digital scores in different ways which goes beyond connecting just to the notation or instructional directives
  • in the discussion it was also mentioned a lot of digital scores act as an extension of the musician, they are open and bring something of the musician into the play
  • it was also pointed out that digital scores benefit from a type of musician that is also open and at ease with interacting with it

Overall, students and staff of Carnegie Mellon seemed interested in our research and the results our current investigation into the digital musicianship will bring forth the future.

The programme outline from the CM website https://ideate.cmu.edu/undergraduate-programs/sonic-arts/index.html:

Students in the Sonic Arts minor explore the processes and products of digital sound and music. They receive basic training in key component areas: principles of computer music, sound synthesis, spatialization, and concepts in sound design. Combining this training with courses that bring together experts from many disciplines, they create experimental music or explore new, technology-enabled, applications and markets for sound design, music creation, and performance.