International Computer Music Conference 2016 Papers Track

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Balancing Defiance and Cooperation: The Design and Human Critique of a Virtual Free Improviser

This paper presents the design of a virtual free improviser, known as “Maxine”, built generate creative output in interaction with human musicians by exploiting a pitch detection algorithm’s idiosyncratic interpretation of a relatively noisy and pitchless sonic environment. After an overview of the system’s design and behavior, a summary of player’s critiques are presented, focusing on the issue of balancing between system output which supports and opposes the playing of human musical interactants. Ultimately, it is argued that system evaluation of this kind is not only useful for further system development, but as an investigation of the implicit ethics of listening and interacting between players in freely improvised musical performance.


Ritwik Banerji    
Music Department, CNMAT
UC Berkeley
United States


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