The seven modalities framework can help to define how different digital scores exist, are experienced or expressed. These modalities can offer ways of describing, analysing and evaluating digital score composition and performance, and as a model for practical exploration of the digital score.

The seven modalities is built upon the two-way phenomenology of:

  • taking-in – in the sense that musicians make connections through the technology as they reach out, suggest, offer and shift with their presence,
  • taken-into – that the technology can establish a world of creative possibilities for exploration.

The framework was specifically designed to help answer these questions when understanding meaning-making in digital core creativity:

  1. What is taking part? First we must identify the presence of elements that are contributing, or co-creating within the digital score. This considers the nature of the of sound files, generative algorithms, network latency, robotics, electronic components (e.g. filters and capacitors) and other elements not normally associated with traditional music performance or composition as co-operational in the creative acts of musicking.

  2. What is the music-world setting? Second we need to define the realm in which relationships might be taking place, for example within a computer game environment, or across networks, or immersed in the visual graphics of an animated score, or a combination of several realms at the same time, and how these affect the musician.

  3. How are representations of self and others manifest in this new setting? Third we can identify how the representations of self (e.g. as sound, avatar or data) and others (e.g. as pre-recorded musician, code, machine or virtual presence) are building relationships and connections inside musicking.

  4. How do these relate as journeys of interwoven connections and relationships? Next, we can evaluate the shifting nature of these relationships as they conduct, coordinate, co-operate and collaborate within the flow of time and musicking.

The seven modalities are:

  1. Interface object - identifies the immediate interface of the digital score in order to ascertain the primary sensory input as a basis through which meaning is formed.
  2. Material affect - how the interface object of a digital score evokes meaning through its presence and construction, and to pin-point the affectual connections these create within the musician.
  3. Goal - defines the specific objective that a musician will work towards in the realisation of the digital score.
  4. Content - identifies the direct signals that convey meaning from which the language of a digital score is perceived.
  5. Language - describes the ways musicians interpret their ideas into the signs and symbols that populate the content of their digital score, or the way they receive and interpret such encoded information.
  6. Feedback - identifies the design mechanisms in the digital score that communicate the musician’s on-going involvement with the digital score.
  7. Flow - identify the processes of play and the narratives of experience inside the flow of musicking that stimulate creativity with the digital score.