Published July 13, 2015 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Cognition and Improvisation: Some Implications for Live Coding


  • 1. University of St Mark & St John Plymouth


This paper explores the perception that live coding is a “real-time” improvisatory activity. It posits the notion that because live coding requires less complex motor skills than instrumental improvisation it may be less susceptible to the influence of mechanical modes of musical expression. This hypothesis will explore the concept of goal states, models of memory and the function of reflexes and reactions as a means of mapping this territory and will provide a framework to understand the various perceptual domains with which a coder engages during a live extemporised performance. This exploration will engage in a comparative discourse relating live coding to instrumental improvisation, as a point of departure for the understanding of cognitive functioning in this rapidly developing performance paradigm.



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