Music and Human-Computer Interaction

Part of the series Springer Series on Cultural Computing pp 85-99


Chasing a Feeling: Experience in Computer Supported Jamming

  • Ben SwiftAffiliated withResearch School of Computer Science, Australian National University Email author 

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Improvisational group music-making, informally known as ‘jamming’, has its own cultures and conventions of musical interaction. One characteristic of this interaction is the primacy of the experience over the musical artefact—in some sense the sound created is not as important as the feeling of being ‘in the groove’. As computing devices infiltrate creative, open-ended task domains, what can Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) learn from jamming? How do we design systems where the goal is not an artefact but a felt experience? This chapter examines these issues in light of an experiment involving ‘Viscotheque’, a novel group music-making environment based on the iPhone.