Video/Audio Open Access

Video Figure: Intelligent Agents and Networked Buttons Improve Free-Improvised Ensemble Music-Making on Touch-Screens

Martin, Charles; Gardner, Henry; Swift, Ben; Martin, Michael

This video figure is an overview of our study comparing two designs for network communications between touch-screen musical instruments played in free-improvised ensemble performances.

The video shows an overview of the touch-screen app (PhaseRings) used in the study and each of the interface conditions.

The abstract of the paper relating to this figure is as follows:

We present the results of two controlled studies of free-improvised ensemble music-making on touch-screens. In our system, updates to an interface of harmonically-selected pitches are broadcast to every touch-screen in response to either a performer pressing a GUI button, or to interventions from an intelligent agent. In our first study, analysis of survey results and performance data indicated significant effects of the button on performer preference, but of the agent on performance length. In the second follow-up study, a mixed-initiative interface, where the presence of the button was interlaced with agent interventions, was developed to leverage both approaches. Comparison of this mixed-initiative interface with the always-on button-plus-agent condition of the first study demonstrated significant preferences for the former. The different approaches were found to shape the creative interactions that take place. Overall, this research offers evidence that an intelligent agent and a networked GUI both improve aspects of improvised ensemble music-making.

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