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Approaches to the Use of Social Choice and Voting Systems in Interactive Music and Live Performance

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 4.0 license

This paper tries to address the possible ways in which different ideas about social choice and voting can be integrated into interactive music and live music performance. First, the Plurality Election Decision Procedure, Borda Election Decision Procedure, and Condorcet Election Decision Procedure, all common methods of deciding the outcome of a vote, are presented and the relationship of these methods in music making are explored. An example of the early use of choice in music is then showcased in a discussion about Christian Wolff’s For 1, 2, or 3 People from 1964. Exemplifying the use of choice in a more improvisational setting is John Zorn’s game piece from 1984, Cobra. Next, the paper talks about the explicit use of systematized voting systems being a more recent development in music by looking at methods employed in the music of Jason Freeman, as well as the rock band Phish and Phish’s bass player, Mike Gordon. Many of the voting systems used by these artists incorporate new types of computing technology and audience participation methods. The paper concludes by asking a series of questions that might allow for the expansion of incorporating social choice and voting systems in music.

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