ERC funding

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the DigiScore project, grant agreement No 101002086

Friday, November 26, 2021

Communication and dissemination

 In EU research funding jargon, a distinction is made between dissemination in the research community and communication with the public at large. In fact, it is not quite as straightforward as that, because dissemination should be publicly accessible and the communication plan inevitably requires academic involvement. But the main distinction is the target audience: in the case of dissemination it is primarily academic, whereas in communication it is primarily non-academic. Much depends on the media used, so dissemination will often involve conference papers and journal articles, whereas communication tends to involve websites and broadcasts.

Similar issues arise in 'Digital Syzygies'. Craig Vear has written that:

"The core purpose of a digital score is a technically mediated communication interface between the creativity of a composer, the creativity of a performer, and the creative mind of the listener. The core function of this communications interface is to represent the ideas that happen inside the mind of the musician using digital technology in such a way that they are capable of being translated into sound during performance through the technique and creative interpretation of another musician (human or machine)" (Digiscore - about this research). 

There are two components here, from a research perspective. On the one hand, the "communication interface" is really a dissemination mechanism, since it involves communications between peers (i.e. those taking part in the "musicking"). It is publicly accessible, but is not necessarily aimed at a general public. 

The same may sometimes be said of a performance, but unless we are only to engage in private performances there is always an element of public communication. It is highly likely that a general public will not care greatly about the intricate workings of the digital score and be much more interested in the resulting musical output.

This crystallises into a simple question: does a digital score need a performance?

Of course, the answer depends a lot on the nature of the digital score. In the case of Digital Syzygies we do not yet know what form the score, or scores, will take exactly. We have our digital environment in the Audio Orchestrator, but await the creative input of the participants to see how these interface may represent the workings of their minds in such a way as to produce sound.

We have received an instruction not to allow this to "drift into becoming an installation". How we interpret that instruction remains to be seen, but the notion of a time-limited event seems to be inherent to a non-installation. In traditional terms, we would call this a performance.

This discussion reminds of the music of Christian Wolff, which I have performed quite a few times in the past. The notational system is quite intricate and beautiful, resulting in a very rewarding experience for those taking part in a performance. However, audiences often feel excluded by the knowledge that the musicians are sharing something to which they do not have access. This is food for thought...

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