Performance mapping and control; enhanced musical connections and a strategy to optimise flow-state

Paterson, Justin ORCID:, Norton, Charlie and Pratt, Daniel (2023) Performance mapping and control; enhanced musical connections and a strategy to optimise flow-state. In: Innovation in Music: An international perspective. Innovation in Music. Routledge, Taylor and Francis, London, UK; New York, USA. (In Press)

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The technical act of routing and combining control signals from physical interfaces and mapping their parameters to a sound-generating device requires focus and attention to detail. This is at odds with the performative intention of achieving the state of flow described by Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi (2014), which in improvisational performance and gaming vernacular is known as 'being in the zone' (Vyas, 2021). Parameter mapping occurs when a musician performs with a traditional MIDI keyboard, knobs or faders. Alternatively, a performance artist could use movement sensors, or a sound designer utilises a variety of controllers, or develops customised physical interfaces for performance control. The mappings define possibilities, dimensions, and limitations for creative interaction. This mapping process involves connecting tactile physical controls to specific and meaningful parameters within a given sound-generating construct. Parameter mapping both defines the interaction between humans and machines, and enables fluid and intentional performances. However, this logical mapping process is often tedious and time-consuming, and is incompatible with achieving and maintaining a creative flow state.
To better understand, and improve this technology, the researcher conducted interviews with practitioners using live MIDI control. After thematic analysis of the interviews, two key issues were revealed. First, practitioners typically deploy any control interface they possess or design, regardless of the quantity and style of physical controls and their direct compatibility with the target system. Second, practitioners do not want to reconfigure each new sound structure to provide compatibility with their performance apparatus. These interviews informed strategies to enhance the mapping flow between two different systems. The Kyma sound-design platform was used as a host to generate a dynamic set of sound structures that contain several varied control types. Max and a Node.js (JavaScript) server were used to map, combine, and route control signals to Kyma. These mappings could then be assigned, merged and swapped in real time without interrupting the sound processing or performance flow. This new system allowed performers and their directors to interact with the same sound structure, moving an offline logical configuration process toward a real-time reflexive, and creative act. This chapter demonstrates the emergent development of the system, and then extrapolates towards future possibilities of the system.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Music > Music/audio technology
Music > Music performance
Depositing User: Justin Paterson
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2023 12:07
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 16:48

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