David A. Jaffe (2007, revised 2017)
ABSTRACT: This paper describes the techniques, mappings and algorithms used in the author’s composition “Underground Economy – frameworks for improvisation,” written for the Durán/Schloss/Mitri trio.
The goal of the work “Underground Economy” was to create a structured improvisation, in which all three instruments: the piano, the violin and the RadioDrum, are sending data to the computer. The computer then combines these inputs into an electronic audio response. The title of the piece stems from the notion of passing information “under the table” to the computer.
From a compositional standpoint, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the piece was the challenge of writing a fully-improvised piece that has a distinct composer-specified identity, yet leaves a great deal to the musical personalities of the performers. This goal was accomplished by a combination of custom software that describes a series of interactive “schemes” and a score that dictates general directions to the players, such as style, range, dynamics and key center. Thus, the music has an “economy of specification,” another meaning of the title.
This paper describes some of the more novel interactive scenarios that were unique to this work. In addition, the piece builds on Radio Drum solo idioms developed using the Max software environment by Andrew Schloss in his continuing work as a RadioDrum soloist (Schloss, 1990). Read More
We describe here the process of collaboration that went into the
creation of a The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World a seventy-minute,
seven-movement concerto, scored for remote-control piano and an
acoustic ensemble of eight instruments. The solo piano part, written specially
for Andrew Schloss and developed in collaboration, is for the Yamaha Disklavier C7 Grand
Piano Mark II (a piano that can "play itself" under computer control) and the
Mathews/Boie Radio Drum [Boie et al, 1989] (a device that conveys
three-dimensional gestures to a computer.) The Radio Drum and Disklavier are
connected via a computer running software created for the piece. Thus, the final result of this work is entirely
acoustic. Read More
Keynote Address to the 1995 Conference of the Australian Computer Music Association
Computer music is nearly forty years old. Electronic music is twice that old, dating back to the invention of the Theremin Vox. In that time, computer music has brought together many diverse disciplines, creating hybrids such as psycho-acoustics and algorithmic composition, as well as spawning its own diverse branches. These range from performance instruments to music printing, from MIDI sequencing to automatic transcription. Such diversification is an indication of the success of the field. Yet some categorical divisions arose as a result of philosophical schism, often in response to limitations in the technology of the day.
As this is my first trip to Australia, it seems fitting to flip things upside down and take a fresh look at some of these traditional divisions. Focusing on areas such as sound synthesis, performance, and the role of the composer, we will see which of the familiar constructs still apply and which may no longer serve our best interests. The intention here is not to survey all existing work--this would require more time than we have--but rather to discuss a few examples drawn from my own work and that of several of my colleagues in order to show that hybridization is still an active force throughout the computer music family tree. Read More
This paper [by W. Andrew Schloss and David A. Jaffe] examines the potential problems that "too much" technology in musical performance can create. In developing very powerful computer-assisted instruments, and in decoupling the sound production from the gesture, issues of what performance is really about start to surface. This is a relatively recent problem, because it is only in the last few years that realtime performance has been widely possible in computer music. As a case in point, we will discuss a co-composed piece entitled "Wildlife," that involves many of the critical issues. Read More