Digital Musical Interactions – London Workshop

Goldsmiths, London

Participant list:
Iris Garrelfs
Thor Magnusson
Adam Parkinson
Koray Tahiroglu
Atau Tanaka

Musical interaction is a complex reciprocal relationship network between performer, musician, composer, instrument, audience, instrument designer and environment. In digital musical interactions, technology conditions the law of physics and biology (Leman 2008) in relation to the digital affordances through what is possible (Gibson) and what is suggested (Norman). Technology and musical culture exists in a tight relationship with each other in digital musical interactions, in which musical culture has the vital components that condition our shared experience, intentions, habits, norms, our understanding the values and beliefs shared in music, coordinates us with specific actions with musical sounds, provides set of motivation for construction of new skills, allows us acceptance of ways of performing music, it conditions our worldview, our listening behaviour, what is considered as musical instrument, judgement of sounds in view of musical ideals, our responses to a given aesthetics in music, our responses to familiarity and complexity of that music, the situation in which music is performed….

The main purpose of the workshop is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge among the participants, discussing the key features of musical culture in digital musical instrument (DMI) practices through our own research. The workshop will result in a set of viewpoints, identifying and exploring the workshop’s main question:

How culturally contextualised experience and technological aspects set conditions for us, for the interactions we develop and for the musical experience we create with digital musical instruments (DMIs)?

The reading and research presentations as well as the discussion will be addressed towards this main question. Please find below more guiding questions to reflect in your presentations that could lead fruitful discussions in the final session of the workshop:

How do you address the musical interaction in relation to the voice of your instruments?

How do you identify the key features that reflect the characteristic of your conceptual ideas that inform musical interaction? (key features as design, technology, history, performance, culture, expression, sensor motor skills, gesture, notation, mapping, software/application, space, environment, group flow, system, interface, instrument, creative practice, method, sonic indications, feedback, tactile response, emotion…)

How your musical interaction ideas gave raise to new instruments / systems / interfaces / music practices ?

Reading materials:
The following text is chosen for further presentation and discussions:

Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound Don Ihde, presents voice through his phenomenological approach as it is not restricted to the human voice but more auditory presence that we experience the shape, surface of things through our own activities. Especially last 4 chapter that deals with digital sound technologies, new music and new hearing devices, embodiment and technologies is interesting for analysis of new music, new instruments, new sounds.

Design: Cultural probes Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne and Elena Pacenti, one of the classic design process approaches, aiming to trigger design ideas by giving tasks to people and the way they respond these tasks give sort of fragmentary insights to their everyday life, how they think, how they live, their cultural values, thoughts, feelings that are reflected through the probes. This design process approach also is elaborated further through the follow up article; Cultural probes and the value of uncertainty | ACM Interactions Bill Gaver, Andrew Boucher, Sarah Pennington, Brendan Walker

Brain to Brain Coupling and Culture as Prerequisites for Musical Interaction Elvira Brattico and Peter Vuust presents presents ways to understand the cultural context in music through their EEG study, bring more neuroscience approach to studies on real-life musical interactions. They claim that cultural conventions results in stronger musical interactions between the musicians.
Technologies – Musics – Embodiments in Embodied Technics Don Ihde presents interrelations of music technologies and embodiment through the interpretation of musical production. He discussed the transformation of recorded music into new instruments through performative technologies shoes how a technology that originally produced listening music only evolved into a transformed music. This is a result of his approach to human-technology interrelations in which interconnected set of variations could suggest for further and different developments.

Program Two: Cultural Hermeneutics in Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth Don Ihde, argues in this chapter, technology transforms experience in the relationship with people and people-in-culture, highlighting that the materiality of technology does reflect its cultural or human underpinnings. Any form of technology, whether it is transferred or imported carries a whole set of human relationships with it, therefore technologies become cultural instruments. Technology develops further together with people who experience and use it. While the set of arguments are formalised thought the exchange of technology between different cultures but this chapter presents different form of technology-culture determination. It will be interesting to discuss its reflections in music culture and technology.

Crafting the Playing Body as an Infrastructure of “Immediate” and “Mediate” Embodied Music Cognition in an Academic Jazz Program Eitan Wilf in The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction, presents a cultural perspective on the human body, reflecting a wide spectrum of culturally specific ideals of embodied musical interactions. The author argues that “playing body” always exist in many forms in cultural context and this chapter focuses on the ways the embodied musical interaction is culturally shaped in which the body represents its own culturally independent features. The case study is introduced through improved form of jazz music, reflecting own observations of jazz musicians.


Location: Goldsmiths, room (to be announced later)

10:00              Welcome

10:10              Koray Tahiroglu
                       Workshop and DMI-I-P research introduction
                       context/structure/objective of the workshop

10:20              Iris Garrelfs
                       Reading: Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound
                       Don Ihde

10:30              Adam Parkinson
                       Reading: Design: Cultural probes
                       Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne and Elena Pacenti
                       Cultural probes and the value of uncertainty | ACM Interactions
                       Bill Gaver, Andrew Boucher, Sarah Pennington, Brendan Walker

10:40              Koray Tahiroglu
                       Reading: Brain to Brain Coupling and Culture as Prerequisites for Musical
                       Elvira Brattico and Peter Vuust
                       Technologies – Musics – Embodiments in Embodied Technics
                       Don Ihde

10:50              Thor Magnusson
                       Reading: Program Two: Cultural Hermeneutics in Technology and the
                       Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth
                       Don Ihde

11:00              Atau Tanaka
                       Reading: Crafting the Playing Body as an Infrastructure of “Immediate” and
                       “Mediate” Embodied Music Cognition in an Academic Jazz Program
                       Eitan Wilf in The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction

11:10              Round Table Discussions
                       Reflections on the Musical Culture in Digital Musical Instrument Practices
                       through the reading materials – 5 min each participant

11:35              Coffee Break

11:50              Round Table Discussions
                       Reflections on the Musical Culture in Digital Musical Instrument Practices
                       through own research practice – 5 min each participant

11:50              Iris Garrelfs
                       Research: Vocal Practices in Experimental Music

12:00              Adam Parkinson
                       Research: Concert as a Cultural Probe

12:10              Koray Tahiroglu
                       Research: DMI-I-P , Digital Musical Interactions – Instruments –

12:20              Thor Magnusson
                       Research: Sonic writing: technologies of material, symbolic, and signal

12:30              Atau Tanaka
                       Research: Body as Musical Instrument, gestural musical instruments

12:40              Lunch

13:30              DMI Musical Culture: Key Features – Open Discussion
                       Connecting Theory and Practice: Emerging topics

14:15              Thematic Analysis of the emerging topics – Focused Activity
                      organizing key features in emerging topics and group under themes reflecting
                      important relations in DMI music culture.

15:00              Break

15:10              WS Wrapping-up and concluding with Reflections on the related
themes linked to DMI Musical Culture in our own practices

15:30              Leave the building / catch the train/flight