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Composing (with) Interfaces: Analog and Digital Feedback Loops and the Compositional Process

  • Author(s): Evanstein, Marc
  • Advisor(s): Barlow, Clarence
  • et al.
Abstract

Most, if not all, composing is done through some form of interface, in which the composer makes modifications to, and receives feedback about, the composition in progress. Such interfaces can take a wide variety of forms, including both analog interfaces, such as pencil and paper, and digital interfaces, such as notation software and Digital Audio Workstations. This document presents a theory of these `compositional interfaces,' and of their effect on the compositional process. Starting with a review of the literature about interfaces in general, and musical interfaces more specifically, the anatomy of the compositional interface is then examined, with a detailed discussion of forms of input, representation, and feedback. Important properties of the interface as a whole---such as latency, openness, and scope---are then discussed, after which two case studies are analyzed. In the final chapter, the role of interfaces is considered within the context of the author's own work.

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