Collaborative musical experiences for novices

TitleCollaborative musical experiences for novices
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBlaine, T., and S. Fels
JournalJournal of New Music Research

We explore the context and design of collaborative musical experiences for novices. We first argue that musical expression with multi-person instruments is a form of communication between the players. We illustrate that design for musical collaboration facilitates exploration of sound space with low entry-level skill. In contrast to the western post-Renaissance focus on musical expression through virtuosity, collaborative musical experiences enable the media of sound and music to enhance the communication opportunities and intimacy between players. The main factor common to most of the interfaces discussed herein is that musical control is highly restricted, which makes it possible for novices to easily learn and participate in the collective experience. This happens at the expense of providing an upward path to virtuosity with the interface. Balancing this tradeoff is a key concern for designers. We look closely at many contemporary collaborative interface designs, with each exploring a different way to achieve successful musical experiences for novice players.

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