There are many types of digital scores, but they all have one thing in common: they communicate musical ideas using the creative potential of technology.
We can consider the range of digital scores as a continuum ranging from relatively simple usage of digital screens to show images or animations, to more complicated systems involving AI and intelligent agents. At points along this continuum the technology transforms what can be communicated, and shifts creativity: it has a profound effect upon musical ideas and music-making.
In studying this range and analysing these shifts, I have defined a typology. This has been determined by significant step-changes in how a digital score affects musicking using the seven modalities as qualifying parameters. The aim is to present a clear taxonomy of the nature of a broad range of digital scores so that it can be used to analyse, reflect, identify or inspire innovation and novel creative practices inside musicking.
The classification is sub-divided into three parts based on the type of relationships they stimulate inside musicking. These are:

Part A - Referential Screen

  • 1- Augmented Page
  • 2- Technological Conductor
  • 3- Collaborating Score

Part B - Interactive Systems

  • 4- Animated Score
  • 5- System as Score
  • 6- Creative System

Part C - Co-operative Code

  • 7- Performative Code and Hacked Bodies
  • 8- Gesamtkomposition
  • 9- Networked Ensembles ~ Connected Scores
  • 10- Living Score

Part A - Referential Screen

The Referential Screen groups three classes of the digital score: Augmented Page, Technological Conductor, and Collaborating Score. The nature of this group is that these digital score types feels like they are operating alongside the musician in the flow. By that I mean that they present materials, sounds, images, objects into the music-world and thereby influence musicking, but do not interact beyond direction, affect and sensation.

  • Augmented Page uses screen-based technology to display images of the printed page in a way that enhances the relationship between image and musician.
  • The Technological Conductor class is created from fixed media elements (sonic and visual) and are structured as a linear sequence, anchored in a timeline, or as a sequence of smaller timelines. The sonic elements of this class are the primary communicating medium with a corresponding visual component operating as a map through the fixed sonic elements.
  • The Collaborating Score introduces the manipulation of the live and pre-recorded sound elements in real-time. The affect of this is that the technology is perceived to be actively participating in the real-time creation of the sonic elements of the digital score, rather than delivering a sequence of pre-recorded artefacts.

Overall, this group feel like they are within the flow of creativity but are journeying alongside me. In contrast, the following groups of Interactive Systems and Co-operative Code have more presence and agency in the flow and feel more like extensions of self or as active creative partners.

Part B) - Interactive Systems

Interactive Systems groups three classes of digital score: Animated Score, System-as-Score and Creative System. The nature of this group is different to that of the previous class. The digital scores in this class feel like they are joining in with the creative invention within the flow of music.
They are dynamic in the real-time of musicking (the music ideas embedded in these communication interfaces only emerge through performance) and they are spontaneous (they react and interact to the live situation). Another way to think about it is that the compositional ideas held in the digital score are only complete through real-time engagement. Although some of the real-time operation of this class of digital score might be fixed, most of the invention will be unique to each iteration of performance due to their inherent generative or interactive processes.

  • The Animated Score is a visual-based scoring system in which the design and signalling components are dynamic in time.
  • The System-as-Score class employs hardware systems and electronics circuits to construct musicking environments. These systems operate in such as way that the tactile nature of the design and build afford specific modes of interaction.
  • Creative System are composite constructions of pre-defined audio, dynamic visual information and sound processing, all controlled and coordinated through a central computer environment.

In contrast to the Referential Screen group, these three classes have a presence in the flow of time and experience, because it is only here that the true nature of each digital score emerges.

Part C - Co-operative Code

Co-operative Code groups four classes of digital score: Performative Code and Hacked Bodies, Gesamtkomposition, Networked Ensembles – Connected Score and Living Score. The nature of this group is that they are felt to be co-operative in musicking. As such, these digital scores evoke a sense of creative autonomy in the flow and are mutually involved in working towards the creation of the music. This means that the musicians and the digital score have clearly defined tasks in a shared enterprise of musicking and the scores are self-directed, intelligent even, in their operation of their tasks. This changes the nature of relationships between the musicians and the digital score, as it feels like the digital score is creative presence inside musicking more than previous classes.

  • Performative Code and Hacked Bodies, is a class of digital score that is defined by the interactivity between the physical movements of a musician, the data streams from tracking technology and the machine’s response.
  • Gesamtkomposition uses computers to synchronise multiple streams of media into a cohesive work with live performers (human or machine). It coordinates these through a central software environment that is embedded with autonomous or generative behaviour. This actively composes the work in real-time and evokes the presence of the composer in the flow of musicking.
  • Networked Ensembles – Connected Score co-located performers are linked together in a network that is operational in binding these musicians to a central music concept. It focuses on the technological solutions for organising, sharing and distributing compositional materials for the enhancement of collective musicking.
  • The Living Score is characterized by the use of intelligent computation systems as a co-creational other inside the flow of musicking. There are several different approaches to the implementation of computational intelligence within the digital score with each offering differing degrees of felt co-operation, presence and autonomy.