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Seminars on the occasion of Emma Frid PhD defence

Published Dec 19, 2019

Andrew McPherson - Digital Musical Instrument Design: a Player-Centered Approach

Elaine Chew - Arrhythmicity in performed music and pathologic heart rhythms

Rolf Inge Godøy - Understanding intermittency in sound-producing body motion

Henrik Frisk - Aesthetics, interaction and machine improvisation

Date: 9 January, 14:00-16:30 

Place: Biblioteket, Floor 4, Lindstedtsvägen 3, KTH

14:00 Introduction


Andrew McPherson

Reader at Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Digital Musical Instrument Design: a Player-Centered Approach
Each year many new digital musical instruments are created, but traditional acoustic instruments still remain ubiquitous in many styles of music. Our continuing fascination with centuries-old designs could partly be explained by the level of craft and technical refinement that these instruments have obtained, but the more important factors are human. What sets familiar instruments apart is precisely that they are familiar: they have communities of performers and composers, established pedagogical practices, and bodies of musical repertoire which act as cultural reference points for new works. This talk will explore how to balance familiarity and novelty in the design of new digital musical instruments, taking a multi-disciplinary perspective encompassing human-computer interaction, electronic engineering and musical practice. Specific topics of discussion will include electronic augmentation of traditional acoustic instruments and the design of digital instruments which build on the existing skills of trained performers.


Elaine Chew

Professor at CNRS - UMR9912/STMS (IRCAM), France

Arhythmicity in performed music and pathologic heart rhythms
Music performance is marked by the introducing of rhythmic variations, from the groove of swing ratios in jazz to the elasticity of drawn out pulses in operatic singing. Similarly, the human pulse is marked by rate variability and, in the case of errant electrical impulses in the heart, high degrees of rhythmic fluctuation. In both cases, the normal (and abnormal) rhythms deviate from absolute regularity, and can be subject to musical and mathematical analysis. In this presentation, I shall describe some of our recent research on music performance and cardiac arrhythmias.

15:15-15:30 Coffee Break


Rolf Inge Godøy

Professor at the Department of Musicology and the RITMO Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion, University of Oslo, Norway

Understanding intermittency in sound-producing body motion
One major topic in music perception, music analysis, and music information retrieval, is how listeners parse continuous streams of sound into more discontinuous chunks. One possible source of such parsing could be in the so-called intermittency of motor control and effort in sound-producing body motion. In my talk, I'll focus on our ongoing research exploring such intermittency in experiences of music.


Henrik Frisk

Professor in Music at the Department of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory, KMH Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden

Aesthetics, interaction and machine improvisation
Departing from the artistic research project Goodbye Intuition (GI) hosted by the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, this presentation discusses the aesthetics of improvising with machines. Playing with a system such as the one used by GI, with limited intelligence and no real cognitive skills will obviously reveal the weaknesseses of the system, but it will also convey part of the preconditions and aesthetic frameworks that the human improviser brings to the table. If we want the autonomous system to have the same kind of freedom we commonly value in human players' improvisational practice, are we prepared to accept that it may develop in a direction that departs from our original aesthetical ambitions? The analyses presented here are based on some of the documented interplay between the musicians in the group in workshops and laboratories. The question of what constitutes an ethical relationship in this kind of improvisation is briefly discussed. The aspect of the macines desembodied relation to the music emerges as a central obstacle in the development of musical improvisation with machines.

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Last changed: Dec 19, 2019