Seminar Computer-Assisted Composition: Perspectives on Human-Machine Interaction

Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia
plus Dec, 0910 2022

Dedicated to the memory of Gottfried Michael Koenig, this seminar has been organised by Giacomo Albert and Laura Zattra, coordinators of the RISME digital research group of the Italian Society of Musicology. The term “computer-assisted composition” took hold in the 1980s to designate a set of experiences whose roots went back a further three decades to the dawn of digital applications in music. Originally related to algorithmic composition and computational modelling of musical structures, this approach has continued to develop and now indicates a wide and varied set of digital tools applied at different stages in the compositional process.


Although there are many technically-oriented publications on computer-assisted music, musicological essays have so far been limited to specific studies without offering a comprehensive view. The Venice seminar is intended as a first step to fill this gap. Computer-assisted composition will be studied from the perspective of human-computer interaction: the research group will explore the ways in which composers use digital instruments and formulate hypotheses on the repercussions of digital architecture for writing music and its structures.


The seminar consists of three sessions: in the first, three musicologists will discuss the technology-writing relationship in specific case studies; in the second, the focus will be on the overall human-machine interaction and the philosophical roots of “assisted composition”; and lastly, in the third session, three composers and music assistants will reflect on their experience in the light of the previous discussions.

Participants: Joshua Banks Mailman, Marc Battier, Agostino Di Scipio, Carl Faia, Jonathan Impett, Sanne Krogh Groth, Marco Stroppa, Martin Supper and Elena Ungeheuer.