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Performing computer music: the case of Ryan Carter’s Trying to Connect

Paolo Zavagna

Nuove Musiche Numero 7 - 2020, pagine: 41-66
DOI 10.12871/97888333972143 | @ Pisa University Press 2023
Pubblicato: 20 maggio 2023


Live computer music performance practice is a recent field of study. In the article problems concerning the preservation and continuation of the performance praxis involving musical digital instruments are faced: hardware and software obsolescence, performative gestures, “writings” and “scores” (musical, technical, code), scores interpretation, performers’ skills. The many different forms of writing and the various technological aspects that Ryan Carter’s Trying to Connect poses have impact on the role of the performer and on the musicological analysis. To read a computer music piece and to perform it in real time need multiple competencies: musical, sound engineering, software programming, history of audio technology and of computer music. The need to interpret indications at various levels, ranging from the text in the graphic interface of the software to the instructions for the performers, from the lines of code present in the patches to the score in traditional music notation, all information provided by the author, poses a series of issues commonly found in computer music works to be played live. Many of these problems deal with the case of Ryan Carter’s Trying to Connect (2013), a work for laptop ensemble; here, some particular and some general solutions are proposed.

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