Digital Da Vinci

pp 99-125


Improvising with Digital Auto-Scaffolding: How Mimi Changes and Enhances the Creative Process

  • Isaac SchanklerAffiliated withProcess Pool Music Email author 
  • , Elaine ChewAffiliated withQueen Mary University of London
  • , Alexandre R. J. FrançoisAffiliated withInteractions Intelligence

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This chapter poses, and proposes some answers to, questions about the origins and nature of creativity when digital media takes an active role in the music-making process. The discussions are centered on François’ Mimi (Multimodal Interaction for Musical Improvisation ) system, which enables a musician to seed the computer with musical ideas and then improvise atop re-combinations of these ideas; the system provides the musician with visual foreknowledge of the machine’s intent and review of the interaction. They extend to the different instantiations of, and extensions to, the Mimi system, which are designed with various interaction nuances in mind, and engender new forms of creativity. We review each Mimi version, from the original blue-and-white silhouette display, to the Scriabin -inspired varicolored panels, to the multi-paneled user-directed Mimi4x . In each scenario, we consider the impact of Mimi on the creative process and the resulting performance; specifically, we describe the interaction between a performer, the composer (when this is different from the performer), and the system, analyzing the techniques used to successfully negotiate a performance with Mimi, and the formal musical structures that result from this interaction.