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    Dialogic coding: a performance practice for co-creative computer improvisation

    Hummel, Jonas Frederick (2017) Dialogic coding: a performance practice for co-creative computer improvisation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    This research project explores Dialogic Coding – a performance practice situated within the field of live computer music which works towards a dialogic relationship with the computer as a programmable musical instrument. The writing articulates a Practice-as-Research (PaR) inquiry that places my practice within specific contextual, analytical and philosophical frameworks. The point of departure is the assumption that following the concept of dialogue a more reflexive way of performing music with a computer becomes possible. This approach may produce innovative results through transformations of musical ideas, embodied interactions as well as the performer's self-concept within a situation of improvised group performance. Dialogic Coding employs the concept of nontriviality to create an independent but at the same time programmable musical agent – the apparatus – which so becomes a co-creator of the improvised music. As a context for Dialogic Coding practice serve other dialogic forms of music making such as free improvised music as well as dynamic performances of programming found in live coding practice. A dialogic approach in music performance is based on listening and the ability to speak one's voice in response to the situation. Here, listening is understood beyond the auditory domain on the level of abstract thinking and physical interaction (interface affordance). This research presents a first-hand account of a computer performance praxis and thus makes a contribution to academic knowledge. For this it makes some implicit or tacit 'knowings' contained in the practice accessible for an outside community through this writing. Dialogic Coding practice was developed through participating in free improvised music 'sessions' with other musicians as well as composing pieces in program code with which I then performed live (solo and group). This writing contextualizes the developed practice in a historic lineage, discusses it within the conceptual framework of dialogism and delineated how a dialogic approach fosters creativity, learning, surprise and flow. As a conclusion I summarise the ethical dimension of Dialogic Coding as a form of human-computer interaction (HCI).

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