The Role of Time in Engineering Computer Music Systems

Lee, Eric and Borchers, Jan

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Discussion of time in interactive computer music systems engineering has been largely limited to data acquisition rates and latency.Since music is an inherently time-based medium, we believe thattime plays a more important role in both the usability and implementation of these systems. In this paper, we present a time designspace, which we use to expose some of the challenges of developing computer music systems with time-based interaction. Wedescribe and analyze the time-related issues we encountered whilstdesigning and building a series of interactive music exhibits thatfall into this design space. These issues often occur because ofthe varying and sometimes conflicting conceptual models of timein the three domains of user, application (music), and engineering.We present some of our latest work in conducting gesture interpretation and frameworks for digital audio, which attempt to analyzeand address these conflicts in temporal conceptual models.