Keynote 3: I. Choi & R. Bargar

Day: Wednesday
Time: 14:00 - 14:45
Location: Université de Montréal
Room: B421



  • “Where to Encode Musical Information”


Music-making and listener engagement are emerging in new modalities, sites, and mediums, creating an imperative to re-examine cultural and personal channels for musical experiences. Musical information and its encoding can provide a consistent perspective across practices, historical periods, and cultures, and this perspective may support a concerned community of practice.

Sites and mediums are two salient factors, and their characteristics affect listeners’ modality of engagement. In modern epoch marked with a certain technological capacity, the distributed, mobile, situated, and participatory are among other possible characteristics that transform the definition of sites and medium. For the sustainability of professional musical practice, we may reconsider the social contract of composer, performer, and audience by examining what changes in perspectives are required concerning musical information and its encoding.

Musical experience is a sensorial phenomenon that is highly subjected to variance based on a modality of engagement. Recent neuroscientific findings indicate sustained experience changes neural function. This means that the kind of musical experience we may expect is loosely presumed based on prior experiences, with a degree of confidence, within which the modality of engagement is also expected. Towards a sustainable musical practice, the question where to go from here can be shortcut by questioning where to encode musical information. Since the paradigm of Western common practice was historically effective, we may still unwittingly subsume contemporary practice to that paradigm, regardless of interactive music or DSP for new instruments. However, the history of the common practice was about the process of musical discourse regarding where to encode musical information, the process of acculturation. Perhaps, we have been too much focusing on music as a product of culture or creative individuals, not enough on musical interaction.

For musical interaction, ‘where to encode’ comes as a novel question that future music research should address to elucidate the intrinsically multimodal nature of music and its impact on sociocultural human perception, cognition, and functional organization of the human brain. In multimedia context, musical interaction can also function as a central motivation for integrating other media and enabling participatory engagement. This keynote will address the motivation, aims, and methods of musical interaction research as well as its conceptual framework with a set of enabling dimensions for situating potential values in the relationship between people, music, and technologies. For this research agenda, we will discuss an interdisciplinary requirement and collaborative landscape to move us forward with a formative process of defining a locus with emerging criteria.