Enacting Musical Worlds: Common Approaches to using NIMEs within both Performance and Person-Centred Arts Practices

Hayes, Lauren

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

Live music making can be understood as an enactive process, whereby musical experiences are created through human action. This suggests that musical worlds coevolve with their agents through repeated sensorimotor interactions with the environment (where the music is being created), and at the same time cannot be separated from their sociocultural contexts. This paper investigates this claim by exploring ways in which technology, physiology, and context are bound up within two different musical scenarios: live electronic musical performance; and person-centred arts applications of NIMEs. In this paper I outline an ethnographic and phenomenological enquiry into my experiences as both a performer of live electronic and electro-instrumental music, as well as my extensive background in working with new technologies in various therapeutic and person-centred artistic situations. This is in order to explore the sociocultural and technological contexts in which these activities take place. I propose that by understanding creative musical participation as a highly contextualised practice, we may discover that the greatest impact of rapidly developing technological resources is their ability to afford richly diverse, personalised, and embodied forms of music making. I argue that this is applicable over a wide range of musical communities.