The Starting Point

In 2019 I published my book The Digital Score. In this book, I started a conversation towards understanding how digital technology is transforming our relationships with the notion of the music “score”. I proposed that this transformation could be understood by studying the affect and effect of the multiplicity of relationships that are created between a score, its media, the music, the musicians, the space and the performance, to name but a few.

I set out a simple framework that views these relationships from two distinct perspectives:

taking-in – in the sense that musicians make connections through the technology as they reach out, suggest, offer and shift with their presence, (AFFECT)

• and being taken-into – that the technology can establish a world of creative possibilities for exploration. (EMBODIMENT)

And I asked some very simple questions about what these relationships are, such as:

  • What is taking part?
  • What is the music-world setting?
  • How are representations of self and others manifest in this new setting?
  • How do these relate as journeys of interwoven connections and relationships?

From this I built an understanding of a digital score using 7 modes. These are:

  • Interface object – identifies the immediate interface of the digital score in order to ascertain the primary sensory input as a basis through which meaning is formed.
  • Material affect – how the interface object of a digital score evokes meaning through its presence and construction, and to pin-point the affectual connections these create within the musician.
  • Goal – defines the specific objective that a musician will work towards in the realisation of the digital score.
  • Content – identifies the direct signals that convey meaning from which the language of a digital score is perceived.
  • Language – describes the ways musicians interpret their ideas into the signs and symbols that populate the content of their digital score, or the way they receive and interpret such encoded information.
  • Feedback – identifies the design mechanisms in the digital score that communicate the musician’s on-going involvement with the digital score.
  • Flow – identify the processes of play and the narratives of experience inside the flow of musicking that stimulate creativity with the digital score.

And grouped digital scores into 10 types, based on significant step changes in these 7 modes:

  • A – Referential Screen
    • Augmented Page
    • Technological Conductor
    • Collaborating Score
  • B – Interactive Systems
    • Animated Score
    • System as Score
    • Creative System
  • C – Co-operative Code
    • Performative Code and Hacked Bodies
    • Gesamtkomposition
    • Networked Ensembles ~ Connected Scores
    • Living Score

This ERC research grant can now support a much deeper investigation into the nature of the digital score and also to ask the following research questions

how digital scores stimulate new relationships between musicians and opens up the possibilities of novel creative experiences; and how these profoundly influence the nature of the digital musician

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