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Real-Time Composition: Its Applications and Educational Potential

Carlos Guedes


In this paper, the notion of Real-Time Composition (RTC) is discussed as a practice that has emerged and being consolidated with the increasing use of computationally controllable real-time generative music algorithms. RTC was developed through the use of interactive music systems and is nowadays more or less ubiquitous. The principle of RTC can be also be employed in a performance involving just humans, and parallels between RTC and musical practices involving improvisation - namely Jazz, Hindustani and Carnatic music practices. By looking at the relationship between RTC and instrumental improvisation, I will provide an ontology that situates RTC apart from instrumental improvisation, and how that can be helpful in finding applications uses of RTC in an educational framework. Finally, I will discuss how RTC systems can be used as educational tools that have the potential to educate and enculturate users in different musical styles in innovative ways. I will discuss some past work I did in this area as well as more recent work within the research done by the Music and Sound Cultures research (MaSC) group at New York University Abu Dhabi. CaMel, a generative model for percussive sequences in Carnatic style will be presented, and aspects pertaining its development will be discussed, namely in terms of how a data-driven approach combined with domain knowledge about Carnatic music has been implemented in order to make the application generate sequences on this style. The successes and failures in the development of CaMel will be shown as well as how this combined approach has generated new interesting questions on the implementation of computational knowledge about Carnatic music percussion. This hybrid approach is also being used in other projects within MaSC as a means to obtain a deeper understanding of the computational understanding of non-Eurogenetic music.


Keywords:Carnatic music, computational knowledge, music algorithms,. real-time composition (RTC)

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