Mutual engagement occurs when people creatively spark together. In this paper we suggest that mutual engagement is key to creating new forms of multi-user social music systems which will capture the public’s heart and imagination. We propose a number of design features which support mutual engagement, and a set of techniques for evaluating mutual engagement by examining inter-person interaction. We suggest how these techniques could be used in empirical studies, and how they might be used to inform artistic practice to design and evaluate new forms of collaborative music making.


Design Evaluation Mutual Engagement Multi-User Social Interaction Human Communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ackerman, M.S., Starr, B., Hindus, D., Mainwaring, S.D.: Hanging on the ‘wire: a field study of an audio-only media space. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction 4(1), 39–66 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barbosa, A.: Displaced soundscapes: a survey of network systems for music and sonic art creation. Leonardo Music Journal 13, 53–59 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bryan-Kinns, N.: Daisyphone: The Design and Impact of a Novel Environment for Remote Group Music Improvisation. In: Proceedings of DIS 2004, Boston, USA, pp. 135–144 (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bryan-Kinns, N., Airantzis, D., Angus, A., Fencott, R., Lane, G., Lesage, F., Marshall, J., Martin, K., Roussos, G., Taylor, J., Warren, L., Woods, O.: Sensory Threads: Perceiving the Imperceptible. In: Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, IE 2009 (2009)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bryan-Kinns, N., Hamilton, F.: Identifying Mutual Engagement. Behaviour & Information Technology (2009), doi: 10.1080/01449290903377103Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Clark, H.H., Brennan, S.E.: Grounding in communication. In: Resnick, L.B., Levine, J., Behrend, S.D. (eds.) Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition, pp. 127–149. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Csikszentmihalyi, M.: Flow: the psychology of optimal experience. Harper Collins, New York (1991)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dobrian, C., Koppelman, D.: The ‘E’ in NIME: musical expression with new computer interfaces. In: Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), pp. 277–282. IRCAM, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2006)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Graff, G.: Bob Geldof Pleads For Rock’s Future At SXSW Keynote, The Hollywood Reporter (March 17, 2011)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gutwin, C., Greenberg, S.: A descriptive framework of workspace awareness for real-time groupware. Computer Supported Cooperative Work 11, 411–446 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hanna, P., Robine, M., Ferraro, P., Allali, J.: Improvements of Alignment Algorithms for Polyphonic Music Retrieval. In: Computer Music Modeling and Retrieval 2008, Denmark (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Healey, P.G.T., Leach, J., Bryan-Kinns, N.: Inter-Play: Understanding Group Music Improvisation as a Form of Everyday Interaction. In: Proceedings of Less is More — Simple Computing in an Age of Complexity, Microsoft Research Cambridge (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Metatla, O., Bryan-Kinns, N., Stockman, T.: Constructing Relational Diagrams in Audio: The Multiple Perspective Hierarchical Approach. In: Proceedings of ASSETS 2008, Halifax, Canada (2008)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Murray-Browne, T., Mainstone, D., Bryan-Kinns, N., Plumbley, M.D.: The Serendiptichord: A Wearable Instrument for Conteporary Dance Performance. To appear in Proceedings of the 128th Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, London, UK (2010)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nabavian, S., Bryan-Kinns, N.: Analysing Group Creativity: A Distributed Cognitive Study of Joint Music Composition. In: Proceedings of Cognitive Science, pp. 1856–1861 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sawyer, K.R.: Group Creativity: Music, Theater, Collaboration. LEA, New Jersey (2003)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sheridan, J.G., Bryan-Kinns, N.: Designing for Performative Tangible Interaction. International Journal of Arts and Technology. Special Issue on Tangible and Embedded Interaction 1(3-4), 288–308 (2008)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Stowell, D., Robertson, A., Bryan-Kinns, N., Plumbley, M.D.: Evaluation of live human-computer music-making: quantitative and qualitative approaches. International Journal of Human–Computer Studies 67, 960–975 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wanderley, M.M., Orio, N.: Evaluation of input devices for musical expression: Borrowing tools from HCI. Computer Music Journal 26(3), 62–76 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Bryan-Kinns
    • 1
  1. 1.Interactional Sound and Music Group, Centre for Digital MusicQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations