Creative Computers, Improvisation and Intimacy

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Michael Young: Creative Computers, Improvisation and Intimacy. In: Dagstuhl Seminar 09291 2009: Computational Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach.



Autonomous musical machine partners, ‘live algorithms’, are able to collaborate with human improvisers on an equal footing. Adaptability can be a significant factor in human/machine interaction in this context. Intimacy is an additional factor; intimacy might be achieved if human and machine performers can adapt to each other and learn from one another. Previously associated in computer music with ideas of embodiment and HCI, ‘intimacy’ as more widely understood, refers to the interpersonal process enjoyed between individuals, in which personal self-disclosure finds validation through a partner’s response. Real intimacies are learned over time, not designed, and are based upon an evident reciprocity and emergent mutuality. In the context of musical expression, a social – rather than a biological/technological –discourse can be applied to live algorithms with a capacity for learning. This possibility is explored with reference to the author’s various improvisation/composition systems including au(or)a, piano_prosthesis, and oboe_prosthesis.

Extended Abstract


 author =	{Michael Young},
 title =	{Creative Computers, Improvisation and Intimacy},
 booktitle =	{Computational Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach},
 year = 	{2009},
 editor =	{Margaret Boden and Mark D'Inverno and Jon McCormack},
 number =	{09291},
 series =	{Dagstuhl Seminar Proceedings},
 ISSN = 	{1862-4405},
 publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, Germany},
 address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
 URL =		{,,_Improvisation_and_Intimacy },
 annote =	{Keywords: Computational creativity, improvisation, intimacy, composition, live algorithm, neural network, computer music, adaptation}

Used References

[1] Blackwell, T. & Young, M. “Live Algorithms” Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour Quarterly 122, pp7-9, 2005.


[3] Miranda, E. & Biles, A. eds. Evolutionary Computer Music. New York: Springer, 2007.

[4] Blackwell, T. & Young, M. “Self-Organised Music”. Organised Sound 9(2) pp. 123-136, 2004.

[5] Blackwell, T. & Young, M. “Swarm Granulator” in Raidl, G. R. et al eds: EvoWorkshops 2004, LNCS 3005, pp 399-408, 2004.

[6] Lewis, G. “Too Many Notes: Computers, Complexity and Culture in Voyager” Leonardo Music Journal 10, pp. 33-39, 2000.

[7] Moore, F. R. “The dysfunctions of MIDI,” Computer Music Journal 12(1) pp. 19-28, 1988.

[8] Fels, S. “Designing for Intimacy: Creating New Interfaces for Musical Expression”, Proceedings of IEEE 92(4), 2004.

[9] Reis, H. T., & Shaver, P. R. “Intimacy as an interpersonal process” in Duck, S. ed., Handbook of research in personal relationships. London, England: Wiley, 1988.

[10] Prager, K. The Psychology of Intimacy. The Guildford Press, 1995.

[11] Benson, B. The improvisation of musical dialogue: a phenomenology of music. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

[12] Young, M. “Au(or)a: Attributes of a Live Algorithm”. Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference, Leicester, 2007.

[13] Young. M. “NN Music: Improvising with a ‘Living’ Computer” in Kronland- Martinet, R. et al, eds., Computer Music Modelling and Retrieval: Sense of Sounds. LNCS 4969. Springer-Verlag. pp337-350, 2008.



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