self-evident music

self-evident music

Last week I was at the TENOR24 conference in Zürich, hosted by the ZHdK in their amazing building. It was a great conference with some lovely people and I came back with lots of new ideas. I was presenting a paper on perfect information, making connections between games and instruction scores (again…) as a possible way to describe recent approaches to self-evident music. For me, this is work that makes a feature of its mode of operation, seeks to clarify rather than obscure (mostly), and in which processes are surfaced, and even reflexive. They might be thought of as obvious, but I mean this in the sense that they clarify what they do.

The paper can be read here (my paper begins on p.53), along with all the other contributions in the published proceedings. The paper sessions were also live-streamed, and can be viewed here starting at 1:25:24. The abstract is below.

Self-evident processes in music suggest the possibility of close engagement with the operation of a piece, with the potential for empathic and communal experiences to be had by both participants and observers. Taking the notion of perfect and imperfect information in games as a starting point, the paper considers what might be gained by presenting scores as systems of perfect information. In games with perfect or public information all the necessary information is made available to us, so we have the potential to understand player choices and empathise with them when spectating. In process music if the necessary information is made available to us we also have the potential to understand player choices and empathise with them.The paper considers the development of self-evident music in this context, proposing three modes of information delivery: demonstrating, explaining and showing. These modes are considered in relation to the management of information flow and the corresponding cognitive load placed on listeners through the control of speed, density, simultaneity and sequentiality in the presentation of instructions.

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