: presentation

_derivations is an interactive performance system designed for use in improvisatory musical performance. Acting outside the direct control of any human operator, _derivations listens to the performance of its collaborators and uses this information to make decisions about its own contribution to the unfolding musical dialogue. The resulting interactions are often abstract, intricate and playful, and showcase the unique possibilities afforded by placing both human and machine on an equal footing in performance.


 _derivations has been under development over the past three years as a part of my doctoral research at the University of Technology, Sydney. In this time, the system has taken to the stage in performance more than a dozen times, performing initially with myself on saxophone/s, and more recently with a growing number of interested improvising musicians. The purpose of this website is to provide a central hub for the developmental and performance activities associated with _derivations, and to provide an online portal to expand its collaborative horizons.

A unique feature of the software is its ability to save, merge and load various performance ‘sessions’ created by the user in both rehearsal and performance. These session files are comprised of the entirety of both the audio and analysis data that the system needs to interact with the musician in real-time, collected throughout an improvisatory performance. They can subsequently be used (wholly or in part) to pre-define elements of the system’s sonic vocabulary prior to any subsequent performance. This enables the ability for the performer to affect the long term vocabulary of the system from performance to performance, through the accumulation of a vast array of previous interactions with the system itself.

It is my hope that this website will provide a tool to take this cumulative approach to interactivity in performance further, by enabling a portal for sharing and collaboratively building rich and diverse session databases, contributed by users of the software. Check the video documentation for info on how to make the most of _derivations, and send any questions/bug reports/suggestions to me at contact | at | bencarey | dot | net

Ben Carey | bencarey.net