Narrowed definition of mixed music
In framing my analysis of this project, I have chosen to use the term “mixed music,” which comes from the French “musique mixte” and can be “thought of as being the combination of an acoustic instrument in the presence of electroacoustics.”It is, therefore, a “crossing point between sound-based and note-based music, inheriting the possibilities and problems of both sound worlds” (Lacroix, 2018).In my work on the ConDiS project and in this discussion of it, I will use a narrow understanding of the term and focus on mixed music as a type of semi- and through-composed concert music that incorporates elements of both art music and acousmatic music.
To better illustrate the difference between classic concert performance and classic mixed music performance I turn to Oliver La Rosa’s definition of composition and performance as being “traditionally conceived as a uni-directional, linear, sequential communication process. The composer gives the music to the performer, and the performer plays it for an audience. Two media are used to enable this process: scores and musical instruments” (Oliver La Rosa, 2011). He calls this the composer-performer-listener model. (Fig.1)
Figure 1. The traditional uni-directional communication process of classical concert performance.
In mixed musicthis “uni-directional” communication is disturbed to an extent since the addition of live signal processing creates an interaction between the performer and the computer. The composition process has therefore changed into one in which the composer not only has to compose the score for the performer, but also the “score” for the computer. Additionally, the model has changed since the computer can “listen” to the performer and respond in real time to his performance. The responding process, or the electronic score (sonic response), is decided (composed) by the composer during the compositional stage. Various methods can be employed to have the computer “listen” and trigger the sonic response, with the most commonly used ones being pitch following, amplitude following, spectral analyzes, and zero crossing.
Figure 2 shows the “traditional” mixed music communication process.
Figure 2. The disturbed uni-directional process of mixed music concert performance.
With the addition of the ConDiS system, a conductor is placed between the composer and the performer(s)/computer in the communication process, as shown in Figure 3.