CESEM — Évora University
Aspects and potentialities of a real-time composition and notation system – Comprovisador
The present paper intends to contribute to a reflection on new ways of combining improvisation and composition aspects in a performance context, with special focus on the use of dynamic notation (animated in real-time), through research based on a performative practice. To define this practice, we have chosen the term Comprovisation (in Portuguese: Comprovisação), a term that can be understood as a performative musical context in which elements of composition and improvisation coexist in aesthetic interdependency. In order to carry out this practice, a system – Comprovisador – was designed to enable mediated soloist-ensemble interaction using machine listening, algorithmic compositional procedures and dynamic notation, in a networked environment.
As a soloist improvises, Comprovisador’s algorithms produce a score in real-time that is immediately sight-read by an ensemble of musicians, creating a coordinated response to the improvisation. This interaction is mediated by a performance director who does so by manipulating algorithmic parameters. Implementation of this system requires a network of computers in order to display notation (separate parts) to each of the musicians playing in the ensemble. More so, wireless connectivity enables computers – and, therefore, musicians – to be far apart from each other, enabling space as a compositional element. Through the development of Comprovisador and the performative practice it enabled, a number of surrounding issues were researched and studied, namely, the use of composition algorithms in a real-time notation system, the suitable resources for mediating a comprovisation performance, and the effectiveness of a graphical synchronization strategy within a dynamic notation interface. Further studies were made in order to assess the applicability of this system in an educational context regarding improvement of sight- reading skills. The findings of this research and their impact on the system’s ongoing development – and, ultimately, its musical use – will be discussed herein.
Pedro Louzeiro, Portuguese composer, was born in 1975. Currently a PhD candidate in Évora University, Portugal, he is doing research in the field of dynamic notation systems with focus on mediated soloist-ensemble interaction, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Bochmann and Dr. António Sousa Dias. He was awarded a PhD Studentship by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. He received his Master’s Degree in composition from Évora University, in 2013, and his Bachelor’s in Music Education from the Lisbon College of Music, in 2002. He was distinguished in several events such as the II International Composition Competition “Goffredo Petrassi” (Italy, 2012) the X International Composition Competition “Carl von Ossietzky” (Germany, 2010) and the IV International Composition Prize “Fernando Lopes-Graça” (Portugal, 2014). In the scope of his doctoral programme, he has been developing a system called Comprovisador and carrying out comprovisation performances featuring that system.