This research seeks to understand stuff that happens inside musicking, and from the perspective of the individual experience as they engage with their digital scores.

First and foremost, this research believes that to make music is to take part, whether this be performing, composing, coding, listening, dancing. Christopher Small calls this Musicking (1989). Second, that ‘The act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies’ (Small, 1989). However, meaning should infer the ‘what you mean to me’ (Emmerson 2007), (this subtle shift circumvents the significant issues of value and who is doing the evaluation of meaning). Therefore, meaning (or the what-you-mean-to-me) is to be found in the relationships formed between the new creative acts of musicking and the technologies and media of a digital score; and these are different from the relationships stimulated with traditional music scores. As such, we need to ask more questions about the human experience within the relationships between say, media, music, space, sound and the presence of human or machine intelligence.

In simple terms, musicking = inside perspective. This natural implicates the “I” and “self” as the primary perceiver, which can be considered a phenomenological perspective. Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the subjective experience of consciousness. Following Don Ihde’s writing – based on Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger – he presents phenomenological arguments on both music and technology. Not wanting to rewrite the whole of it here, it is important to understand what might be happening when we first experience stuff like a digital score, or computational technology, or intelligent agents.

There is, according to Ihde, a First Phenomenology which in the very next instance retreats into a Second Phenomenology. The First is our immediate experience of some new phenomenon, say a game-engine score, and how it shifts our “sense ratios” and “patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance” (McLuhan, 1964) more about that here. This sensation of the experience lasts for a brief instance before our conscious mind starts to assign it names, expectations, bias, understanding, memories, labels, perspectives, subjectivity which are characteristics of a Second Phenomenology.

The DigiScore research is interested in investigating this First Phenomenology as best we can, using methods that help us examine the experience of musicians as they negotiate digital score creativity. We feel that a First phenomenological approach gets us closer to understanding what is really going on inside musicking, and to a broader theory of digital score creativity and musicianship than individual subjective reflection can facilitate. A First Phenomenology is naturally very difficult to define, capture, describe, as these are all traits of a Second Phenomenology, so we have established methods that enable us to reverse engineer (as best we can), Second Phenomenology experience so that it may shine a light on the very instance of a First Phenomenology, and ultimately towards a more universal understanding of the creative potential of, and transformations through digital score musicking.

C. Small, Musicking, Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1998, p.13
S. Emmerson, Living Electronic Music, London: Routledge 2007, p. 29
M. McLuhan, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man, New York: Routledge, 1964, p. 18
D. Ihde, Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound, New York: State University of New York Press, 2007