Poster Open Access

Meditative Live Coding and Musicological Hindrances

Matthew Tift

In certain situations, music live coding obtains a meditative quality. Meditative live coding can offer benefits beyond the sounds produced, but not in all performances. This paper explores live coding as a method to cultivate mindfulness. It argues that three conventional ideas about musical practice exert a strong regulative force in live coding performance: the notion of the “musical work,” the idea of music as a “thing,” and the conviction that music requires interpretation. Drawing on the work of music scholars such as Lydia Goehr, Carolyn Abbate, and Christopher Small, and deploying a pragmatic approach influenced by William James, this study offers an historically-informed theory of live coding that highlights its usefulness in cultivating an awareness of the present moment.

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