a conductor, we are investigating the use of computer agents to take the role of the conductor and performer, and so the interaction between the composer and the performance can be at a higher level of command (quieter, smoother, dramatically . . . ) than just adjusting numbers in a Csound score. The longer term aim is to create agents who learn both how to play their instruments and how to interpret high-level conductor commands. There is a large amount of work within computer science on autonomous agents, and we can use this experience to attack the performance aspects of computer music.
In the long term we can hope for real-time modification of the score as it is played, and so each time the piece is played it will be slightly different, but within the composer’s parameters. There may even be the possibility of the listener adding some performance detail, without the need for diffusion expertise.
We do wish to emphasise that this is work which is only just beginning
In this paper, which is an extension of the ideas in Boulanger and Fitch13
we have presented an approach to teaching of computer-based synthesis which emphasises the artistic objective over the technological one. By basing the method on physical models the student can gain confidence early. We believe that we have constructed a set of sounds which are useful for educational purposes, and will allow a student to compose and investigate the electronic medium and yet require but a minimum of technical or mathematical background. The goal being that these sounds and models can form the core of the student’s first steps to finding their individual “soft-voice”. The wide availability of hardware keyboard synthesisers has required us to build a bridge from the inflexible controls they provide; a bridge which leads smoothly to the advanced techniques, and which allows students to stop when they reach their personal goal.
We have also addressed some other issues, like language and performance, which can be a barrier to overcoming the problems in learning. This is part of a continuing effort to make artistic use of the technology to get students up to their full potential.